8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. 12 Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of the blessing you felt? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?
“Formerly” – what does it mean? According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, it means:
In time past, either in time immediately preceding, or at any indefinite distance
Paul is reminding the Galatians that before they knew God, they were slaves to the ungodly. Then, when adopted (Gal. 4:5) by Him – “known” by Him, we were free.
In 1 Corinthians 9:22, Paul says, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”
He says it again here in verse 12 Galatians 4. He is “entreating”…i.e.: requesting….petitioning, the people in Galatia to become as he is. He is asking them to put off their former self (Ephesians 4:20-24). He is asking them to remember the freedom and the worth that they have in Christ.
I think that our world today needs to remember that too. We need to be reminded we were created in the likeness of God. I love what Ephesians 4:23 -24 says:
23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
How often do you think that you are created in true righteousness and holiness? I admit that I don’t often think of myself that way. But God’s Word doesn’t lie. That’s who we are in Him. Isn’t that good news?
I need to remind myself daily to put off the old, sinful ways of my flesh and put on the righteousness of God.
Until tomorrow…..Joy to You!