Bucking Spiritual Recidivism — Galatians 4:8-11
It appears to be the case that some prisoners in our American prison system don’t know how to handle the freedom they have once they gain their release. Uncomfortable, perplexed and unable to handle their new life, they find a way, often by committing a crime, to go back to prison. This is the danger Paul is addressing with the Galatian believers. They have either been freed from the bondage of the law – its ceremony, its scrupulous observation, its inability to save its adherents; or from the bondage of a false religion – its cultic practices, its fearful appeasing practices, its false bondage.
Therefore, Paul calls the people not to return to such slavery, either to the law or to idols (as real as scarecrows in a cucumber patch as Jeremiah 10 calls them). They are poor substitutes for the Gospel of grace and salvation by faith alone! And yet, we fall back so easily into a comfortable routine of rules and guidelines under the law or under idolatry, “checking boxes” and finding a “system” to make us feel good and like we earned something before God. Stay the course of grace and faith! No system or “religious” practices can save us before the God of the Promise!