But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? ~Galatians 4:9
One of our favorite traditional hymns is “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” The chorus of this hymn declares, “No turning back, no turning back.” Turning back implies going back on a good decision. It means that you had second thoughts, had buyer’s remorse, and changed your mind. The believers who made up the churches in Galatia had been blindsided by men of the Jewish faith (Judaizers) to go back to their former Jewish practices. They were being fed with the lie that faith alone in Jesus Christ is not enough to secure your salvation. The Judaizers sought to keep these weak believers in bondage to the works of the old Jewish law instead of living in the power of the grace of God. This morning, we are exhorted to keep going with Jesus, and not to turn back.
We see the cause.
Paul asked the question, “How turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements?” Lot’s wife turned back to look at Sodom. She felt sadness about leaving the sinful lifestyle of Sodom. John Mark turned back from serving God with Paul and Barnabas, and returned to Jerusalem. Christians turn back when they do not have a strong foundation for their faith. They are not well-grounded in God’s Word. Paul said that he “travailed in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” Christians turn back when the lusts of the flesh are stronger than their walk in the Spirit. Christians turn back when they decide that the cost for serving Jesus is too much. Christians turn back when they succumb to the pressures of criticism, bad influences, and faulty comparisons. Christians turn back when the love they have for the Lord becomes cold, and their love for other things takes His place.
We see the consequence.
When we turn back, we return to bondage, or slavery, to our past, former traditions, or the fear of man. “The fear of man bringeth a snare.” When we live to please people who are wrong in their judgment, we set ourselves up for failure. Our faith in Christ is not dependent upon traditions and repeated works. Rather, our faith in Christ is to be in obedience to the commands of God. “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Galatians 5:7). When we live in disobedience to God’s Word, the Spirit of God is resisted and quenched. Thus, we are living in sin and out of fellowship with God. The product of a Spirit-controlled life is absent. The fruit of the Spirit is missing. The power of the Spirit is gone. The joy of the Lord has dissipated. We are miserable and frustrated. Our effectiveness has made us like “other men:” weak, powerless, and of no use.
We see the correction.
First, get back to Jesus! Our faith focus must be on the Lord. Paul said, “Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Don’t become a casualty because you listened to the wrong counsel of a false teacher. False teachers want your affection and do nothing to point you to Jesus! Make Jesus your goal, and not pleasing men. Second, get thoroughly grounded in God’s Word. God’s Word is timeless. It does not need to adjust to or be amended to the shifts in culture. The core decisions that we make for our faith should be based on the Word of God, and not on the preferences of the flesh or of men. Third, be zealously affected in a good thing. Hold firmly and enthusiastically on living for Jesus and being on fire for Him. Don’t let people, things, shifts, and opinions throw cold water on your zeal. Turn your eyes and thoughts away from being persuaded away from Christ. Keep running well, and let no man hinder you.
Be decided today of “no turning back.” Go all the way with Jesus!
Have an unmovable God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Chronicles 12-14