Why Turn Back to Slavery? (Gal. 4:8-20)
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 8 Thursday
Read Galatians 4:9-11, thoughts?
9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
The lesson argues that some mistakenly use this in regard to the weekly Sabbath, when it applies only to the ceremonial law, what do you think?
Here is a paraphrase:
9 But now that you have come to know God, as revealed by Jesus (or more importantly, now that Christlike character has been developing within you and you are known as God’s children), how could you possibly turn back to the dark, powerless, destructive beliefs and practices of your former lives? Do you wish to have your minds destroyed and be enslaved by superstition and ignorance all over again? 10 You are actually observing ceremonial holidays as if somehow such observances could heal the mind, remove selfishness and guilt or restore the character to Christlikeness. 11 I can hardly believe it. I am beginning to wonder if all my time with you has been wasted.
Do you think I miss the meaning? If this is the meaning, then wouldn’t the weekly Sabbath be included? In other words, if we keep the weekly Sabbath as a means to save ourselves we have missed the point and are lost, correct? Or put another way, does observance of the weekly Sabbath cure sinfulness?
The 2nd paragraph of Thursday’s lesson is interesting, and I picked up on some defensiveness about whether sabbath observance might be included in Paul’s list of ceremonial practices and holidays.
“Many have interpreted Paul’s reference to “days and months and seasons and years” as an objection not merely against ceremonial laws but against the Sabbath, as well. Such an interpretation, however, goes beyond the evidence. Does it? For starters, if Paul really wanted to single out the Sabbath and other specific Jewish practices, it is clear that he easily could have identified them by name. Second, Paul makes it clear that whatever it is the Galatians are doing, it has led them from freedom in Christ to bondage.
“If observance of the seventh-day Sabbath subjects a man to bondage, it must be that the Creator Himself entered into bondage when He observed the world’s first Sabbath!” — The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 967. Also, why would Jesus not only have kept the Sabbath but taught others how to keep it, if its proper observance were in any way depriving people of the freedom that they have in Him?
Were there folks in Israel who were “keeping the Sabbath” but were still kept in bondage? Isaiah 1 says:
“Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me. I am weary of bearing them.”
Were there folks in Christ’s day who were “keeping the Sabbath” and were still in bondage?
They wanted to stone Christ for the way he kept the sabbath, because he broke all their rules…and they did eventually kill the Lord of the Sabbath but wanted his body down off the cross so they could “keep the Sabbath.”
Are there folks today who are “keeping the Sabbath” in ways that are leading them from freedom in Christ toward bondage?
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