Know What You Believe: Galatians 4:16-20
“16) So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17) They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. 18) But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you. 19) My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you— 20) but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.” Galatians‬ ‭4:16-20‬
In these verses Paul was expressing his utter dismay about the Galatian Christians. They had abandoned the gospel of faith in the finished work of Christ as the only basis of salvation for a different gospel based on self righteousness and the Law. (Review Galatians 1:6-10) They were buying into the lie that salvation had to be earned through self effort and good works.
False teachers had come in like sheep, but they were wolves in disguise. They presented themselves as friendly and loving, but their motives were to distort the gospel. They held to some parts of the gospel but basically wanted to persuade the undecided back into traditional Judaism. Paul warned about them in Acts 20:28-32. They were spreading deception, lies and confusion.
In these five verses in Galatians 4:16-20, Paul was expressing his concern for the churches in the region of Galatia. At the time of his writing, he was geographically removed from them, yet he yearned to be present with them so as to review the pure gospel.
Many believe the book of Galatians was written prior to Romans. The two books are tightly interwoven. It was providential that Paul was absent and moved by the Holy Spirit to write this letter. What he viewed as a disadvantage to being present and teaching in person, resulted in the book of Galatians. All of his Epistles were written because of similar circumstances. Never underestimate the mysterious ways of God!
What you believe is important. It is not enough to simply say, “I believe in God!” You need to get the gospel right and have a foundation of biblical truth in your doctrine. I encourage you to daily study the Word of God as you build and refine your belief system. Make sure the books of Galatians and Romans are reviewed often as you move forward in your faith. They are foundational to pure Christian doctrine.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global