"When you did not know God..."
Text: Galatians 4:8a
NEVER FORGETTING AN IDOLATROUS PAST
The people who made up the Galatian churches comprised both Jews and Gentiles. In some texts, such as this one, Paul addresses a mixed group.
But then, indeed, when you did not know God,
you served those which by nature are not gods.
But now after you have known God, or rather are
known by God, how is it that you turn again to the
weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire
again to be in bondage?Galatians 4:8-9
1. “When you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods”
a) This would indicate that Paul was addressing Gentiles.
b) This cannot be said about Jews for they knew God and were not idolatrous.
c) The Galatian Gentiles appeared to have been actively serving idols as “gods”.
d) These could not have been Jews for they prided in their knowledge of God (Romans 2:17-19).
e) After the 70 years of captivity in Babylon, Israel swore off idolatry completely.
2. “But now after you have known God”
a) This is an obvious reference to acquired knowledge of God.
b) In particular this would be knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. “Or rather are known by God”
a) This is another perspective.
b) This perspective emphasises the significance of being known by God.
c) The obvious reference would be that God has acknowledged them because of their faith in Him through the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. “How is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements”
a) There was a similarity between idolatrous practices and the way some Jews practised their religion.
b) This is particularly true when it came to ritualistic elements rather than knowledge and faith.
c) Ritualistic religion did little for anyone.
d) The Gentiles were saved from their ritualistic idolatrous elements.
e) How could they not have seen through the false teachings and practices?
5. “To which you desire again to be in bondage”
There was evident danger to those who adopted these practices. They would be in bondage to these elements! This word applied to both Jews and Gentiles alike.