GRACE: NOT BY MAN
Enemies Because of the Truth – Galations 4:12-20
Verse 12 – Though Paul has been very stern with them; rebuking them for their departure from the truth of the gospel he still is calling them “brethren”.
“Beseech” is a word which means to “beg”, “petition” or “requests”, thus Paul is begging the people to get back to the gospel, away from the condemnation of the law which the Judaizers have deceived them.
Paul assures them that they have caused him no harm. Paul’s interest is far greater than any personal harm.
Verses 13 – 14 – The Christians of Galatia had accepted Paul when he was there and received the message of the gospel of Christ. The “Infirmity of the flesh” he speaks of could be either a physical weakness of his own; or a weakness on their part. Which ever it is the gospel was preached by Paul and received by the Galation – Gentiles.
The “Temptation” the apostle writes of could be the weak eyes he is often noted for, the trials of persecution he has experienced or the peril of his life through storms on board ships. Paul commends them for accepting him as they would an angel of God or Christ Himself.
Veses 15 – 16 – Upon the receiving of the gospel of Christ is the possible understanding of “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of?” They had professed blessing and joy and peace in receiving Christ, but now; where is it. When an individual or a whole community of believers leaves the gospel of Christ and puts themselves under the law; they lose the “blessedness” of the gospel.
The enemy loves to cause enmity between brethren; but that is not of God (Psalm 133:1-3). Because Paul is challenging these believers, trying to convince them of the danger they are in; there are some who evidently are making him an enemy. The truth is hated by the enemy.
Verses 17 – 18 – The Judaizers had a zeal for what they taught. Some of what the legalizers wanted was to isolate – “they would exclude you”; which seems to be the aim of any cult; ancient or modern; to hold on to their labors.
It is good to be “zealous” in good things “always”. That zeal for God and the gospel needs to be present in one’s everyday life; not just when the apostle or pastor is present.
Verses 19 – 20 – “My little children” Paul referring to the Gentiles as his spiritual children whom he has fed milk; and now they are needing some meat (Hebrews 5:12-14). The apostle finds their departure from the gospel painful; comparing it even to a mother in labor of childbirth; as to birth them again.
Paul desires to be with the Galations, however, impossible. He finds himself “to be at wits end” or “Stand in doubt of you”. He is greatly perplexed by their backsliden condition. As Christians of all ages should be about legalism.
-Tim A. Blankenship