I. Turning Away From Grace

A. Their Lives Before Knowing Jesus V. 8

1. Prior to having a true relationship with the true and living Go, the Galatians had some form of religion with false gods (demonic forces).
2. They didn’t know the true God, and were involved in some form of systematic religion.
3. That system of religion had requirements that they were obligated to obey.

B. Their Turning Back To Their Old Life Vs.9-11

1. By faith in Jesus, they had come into a true relationship with God.
2. They were in a relationship with God, not in a religious system.
3. V. 9- Known by God
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
4. V. 9- how is it that you turn again- The Galatians were not turning to something new, but they were going backwards to a system which had previously enslaved them. They were moving away from a faith based relationship with God, and back towards a works based relationship with God.

a. Works based- If I do this, then God will love me accept me. If I don’t, I am rejected.
b. Faith based- God accepts me because I have entrusted my life and eternity to him. I serve Him out of love, not to achieve acceptance. If I fail, I apologize and He forgives me, and continues to love me.
c. weak and beggarly elements- Weak because they give no power; beggarly because they do not enrich us.
d. Bondage- Legalism doesn’t serve a person; the person serves legalism.
e. Wiersbe- “One of the tragedies of legalism is that it gives the appearance of spiritual maturity when, in reality, it leads the believer back into a ‘second childhood’ of Christian experience.”

5. V. 10– Rather than enjoy every day with God equally, they were giving unneeded preference to certain days.

a. They had to be careful to not miss certain activities on certain days.
b. They had to plan ahead and arrange life around certain days.
c. They had to insist that their family make all those same preparations.
d. They had to be careful to carry out certain activities on certain days.
e. If they failed in any way, they had to deal with guilt, or make up for it.
f. They became enslaved to a calendar and the corresponding activities.
g. Even if they obeyed perfectly, they were no better off for it.
h. Their faith was not strengthened, nor were they closer to God.

6. V. 11- Paul was afraid that they were going to depart from Jesus, and that his efforts would not have been successful.

II. Legalism & Personality

A. The Galatians’ First Interaction With Paul Vs. 12-16

1. V. 12a– Paul had set aside Judaism both as a religious system and a cultural way of life.

a. He rejected Judaism, and lived as a Gentile among Gentiles, that he might have opportunity to preach to them. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

2. Vs. 12b-15 Paul’s original intention had not been to stop in this area.

a. It was a physical illness that caused Paul to stop in this region.
b. Apparently, Paul’s infirmity was one that normally caused people to withdraw from the sick person. Whereas normally people would have withdrawn from a sick one like Paul, instead, they welcomed him and embraced him and the Gospel message.
c. V. 15- Leads us to believe that Paul had a serious eye infection or injury which was both repulsive and hindering. (See 6:11)
d. V. 15- The Gospel had created in them willingness to sacrifice for Paul; legalism created the opposite.

3. V. 16- When the Galatians received the Gospel message and believed it, they had not offended with Paul nor with his message.

a. Now that the legalists had influenced the Galatians, they began to view Paul as an enemy. They viewed his rebuke of them as a bad thing, and were against him.

B. Using Flattery For Conversion Vs. 17, 18

1. V. 17- Zealously court you– to burn with zeal, to earnestly desire.

a. The legalists were wooing the Galatians, but for selfish reasons. They not only pushed their agenda, but they desired followers.
b. The Gospel doesn’t demand allegiance to certain people to the exclusion of others.
c. Legalism creates unbiblical “us versus them” categories, and seeks to draw followers to its movement, and not to Jesus.

2. Vs. 18, 19 – To be zealous to woo someone to Jesus is always a good thing. Paul didn’t mind if others were wooing the Galatians to Jesus. He objected them being wooed to men. (verses 18 & 19 probably go together as one verse)

C. A Pastor’s Concern Vs. 19, 20

1. V. 19- formed in you- These people were born again, but their outward appearance didn’t match the inward truth of their conversion. They weren’t acting like people possessing Jesus and being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Legalism had squashed that.
2. V. 20- A couple of thoughts.

a. Change my tone- Paul didn’t enjoy using a stern tone with those he loved, but sometimes it was necessary. He loved these people, and it is never easy or pleasant to have to be stern with those whom you love.
b. Change my tone- Also a way of saying “change the way I am communicating”. Face to face conversations are so much better than written ones. Paul’s strong words in this letter would have been softened by then hearing his tone of voice and seeing his face. Turn to 2 Corinthians 7:8-12

3. V. 20 Doubts- “to be without a way or path, not to know which way to turn, to be without resources, to be in straits, to be in perplexity.”

a. Wuest- “I am puzzled how to deal with you, how to find an entrance into your hearts”.