But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to enslaved all over again?
The apostle Paul was indeed a passionate man. Clear about his duty to Christ, this passion is spilled over onto the pages of our Bible as he pleads the gospel to those who need it the most. Directed to the churches in Galatia (1:3), Paul is concerned with the possibility that they are being led astray from the faith by false teachings (1:6). At the center of his argument, Paul reminds them of their slavery to the sin they were once entangled in; his desire is that they not return to their previous state.
The truth is we were all once subject to this sin. Every child born into this world is void of a relationship with God. Because of this we were all at once sinners, and therefore, prone to sin. It is natural for those that have no relationship with God to live a sinful life. After all, it is not because we sin that we do not have this relationship, rather, it is because we do not have this relationship that we sin. The beautiful part of the story is that God wanted a relationship with us so much that He was willing to send His Son to die for our sins. Even though we deserved to spend eternity in hell due to our sin (Romans 3:23), Jesus, who committed no sin, died in our place. Now, those who accept this free gift are no longer subject to eternity in hell, or to a life of slavery to sin. To those who believe, God has given authority over sin through Jesus Christ. It is no longer natural for us to sin; we have the choice to claim Christ’s authority over sin, and to not be enslaved to it (we no longer must sin), it is now our choice.
Paul, writing to the Galatians, was in agony over the fact that they would return to their former lives of sin after they had “come to know God.” This is a powerful statement when you understand that the phrase to know in the Bible does not denote knowledge as much as it does experience! Paul is saying, how could you possibly experience Jesus in the way that you have… how could you possibly experience His freedom from sin, only to turn around and run back to that from which you were delivered? Furthermore, Paul notes that these are “weak”, “worthless”, and “elemental” things.
I wonder what Paul might write to the churches in America today? I wonder what he might write to you or me. Have you experienced the saving grace of our Lord? How then do you live your life? Do you daily return to the sinful habits you were once enslaved to, or do you continually live out the “fruits of the Spirit” (5:23)? You are a new creation. You have been bought with the blood of Christ!