Sunday November 24, 2013


A Shepherd’s Heart For Freedom

Galatians 4:8 – 4:20 



 II. Paul’s Gospel Defended from Experience and Scripture (3:1 – 4:11)

                  4. The Folly of Reverting to the Law (4:8 – 11)

III. A Call to Freedom from the Law and Freedom in the Spirit (4:12 – 6:10)

                  A. Live in Freedom from the Law: Argument from Friendship (4:12 – 20)

                                    1. Exhortation to become like Paul: free from the law (4:12a)

                                    2. Galatians received Paul as a messenger of God (4:12b – 14)

                                                      a. Paul’s weakness in preaching (4:13)

                                                      b. His warm reception (4:14)

                                    3. Query regarding blessing of the Spirit (4:15)

                                    4. Paul’s friendship in contrast to false teachers (4:16 – 18)

                                    5. Paul’s anguish and perplexity (4:19 – 20)

                  B. Stand in Freedom: Argument from Allegory (4:21 – 5:1)

Thomas Schreiner, Exegetical Commentary On The New Testament: Galatians; Zondervan Publishers, 2010.



Read Galatians 4:8 – 4:20


Main Idea


   The imperative to become like Paul (4:12) functions as the central truth in the text.  Paul no longer lives under the Mosaic law, and the readers should not do so either. 

Paul, though Jewish, has become as they are, i.e., free from the law.


4:8 – 11


– Great picture of conversion.  Before one becomes a believer, that person is enslaved to various lusts, sin, idolatry, self and Satan.  The Galatians had been “enslaved” (4:8).

See Ephesians 2:1 – 3; Romans 6:17 – 23.


– Verse 9 states salvation as knowing God, or rather to be known by God (John 17:3; Ephesians 1:4; 1 John 4:7 – 10).


4:12 – 20


– Verse 12 is the first imperative in Galatians.  “Become as I am, for I also have become as you are.”

Paul preached the gospel to the Galatians as a Jew who had been converted to Christ and was no longer under the law.  He did not preach circumcision.  We see an example of Paul’s full renunciation of his former strict adherence to the Law of Moses in Philippians 3:1 – 10.


– Verses 13 – 16 reveals much about Paul’s heart as a pastor as well as the Galatians initial love for Paul.


– The nature of Paul’s infirmity cannot be determined definitively. 


– Verse 16 – “Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?”  That can certainly happen.


– Paul was a true shepherd.  He loved Jesus Christ first, and he loved people. 



“One of the marks of a false teacher is that he tries to attract other men’s converts to himself, and not simply to the truth of the Word or to the person of Jesus Christ. It was not the Judaizers who originally came to Galatia and led them to Christ; it was Paul. Like the cultists today, these false teachers were not winning lost sinners to Christ, but were stealing converts from those who were truly serving the Lord. Paul had proved to be their loving friend. He had “become as they were” by identifying himself with them (Gal. 4:12). Now they were turning away from Paul and following false shepherds.

Paul told them the truth, but the Judaizers told them lies. Paul sought to glorify Christ, but the Judaizers glorified themselves and their converts. “Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them” (Gal. 4:17 NIV).

A true servant of God does not “use people” to build up himself or his work; he ministers in love to help people know Christ better and glorify Him. Beware of that religious worker who wants your exclu­sive allegiance because he is the only one who is right. He will use you as long as he can and then drop you for somebody else—and your fall will be a painful one. The task of the spiritual leader is to get people to love and follow Christ, not to promote himself and his ministry.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Prov. 27:6). Paul had proved his love to the Galatians by telling them the truth; but they would not accept it. They were enjoying the “kisses” of the Judaizers, not realizing that these kisses were leading them into bondage and sorrow. Christ had made them sons and heirs, but they were rapidly becoming slaves and beggars” (Warren Wiersbe).



– Verses 19 – 20 – Paul may be perplexed about the condition of the Galatians, but his major concern is that Christ be formed in them. 


– We can see from these verses how Paul views any movement toward legalism.  We really need to guard the Gospel of God’s Grace and refuse even the semblance of legalism.