Galatians: Slaves to the Elementary Principles of the World

In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.

Galatians 4:3

Having reminded the believers of the common practice of the heir of a family being under the tutalige of a guardian until the father deems the chid’s training is complete, he applies the priciple of being under guardianship to the Galatian believers.

In this context, the idea of being children or immature is related specifically to the pre-conversion state of the believers. As you see in chapter’s one and two, the believers Paul is writing to is made up of both Jews and gentiles. For the Jew, the law was the first principle children were suppose to learn. It gave the principles of where people came from, God’s promises to the decendents of Ham then to Abraham and his decendents and ultimately to Jesus who fulfills all the requirements of the Law.

The Gentiles too had elementary principles in which they were enslaved. The Greek and Roman god’s were caprircious and the worshippers served them for what they can get out of the god. Worship the god of war in order to have victory over your enemy or the goddess of fertility to have good crops and many children. However should something tragic happen, one was left not knowing which god to appease.

Even by the first century, however, worship of the God’s started to fall out of favor, the Greek philosophers began to ask the question about what makes the universe work and their thoughts took them to the one thing that all the universe can be explained by. Some would argue for 4 or more elements from which all other actions and materials were formed. The gods were simply the eminations from the one quality or substance that is the source of deity. The human philosophy was man’s attempt to explain the universe appart from the god’s or the one true God.

Both the poly-theism of the Greek and Romans and the atheism of the philsophers brought people under bondage because they ignored the one true God and the world he created. Before coming to the knowledge of God, we also ignored God. We sought our own purposes as though we were gods ourselves. When Christ came and faith in Christ was generated in us, we no longer abide in enslavement to the former principles weather to the Law or to the non-deities.

Let us believe in Christ as our rightousness because he fulfilled the Law both in his obedience as well as its purpose.

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