DO NOT TURN AGAIN
†Galatians 4:1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,† 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.† 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.† 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,† 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. †6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"† 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.† 8 ∂ But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.† 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?† 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.† 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.
Much of the Book of Galatians is written to show superiority of the new covenant under Christ over the old covenant under Moses. The problem the Galatians were having is a problem that many people have today. They want to go back to the way they used to do things. It is very appealing to turn again to the familiar.
It should be easy for us all to understand this principle because we have all had to make changes in our in our life. Some small, some big. One area that comes to mind is safety precautions. It has not really been that long since cars did not have seatbelts and they certainly did not have air bags. It took a long time for people to start using seatbelts once all cars had them because they were used to simply jumping into the car and driving off without an annoying seatbelt holding you into place.
It did not take long to figure out that seatbelts were very important for giving you the best chance of survival during a car wreak. In order to motivate people to change their old ways and start using their seatbelts laws were made that if you were caught without them you would pay a fine. Videos were made and shown to show the difference a seat belt makes. Our cars were equipped with a light or a beep to remind you to put them on. While, some still rebel at using their seatbelts the majority of people have finally accepted that the safest thing to do is always put on your seatbelt when you drive.
This is just one example out of many, but it helps understand why the Jews and others that lived by the law of Moses would have a very difficult time changing their ways and adapting to the new law. The law of Moses is all they knew from the time they were born, so it would take a lot of effort on their part to put their old lifestyle behind them and move forward with the Law of Christ.
Not only were some of the Galatians struggling with going back to the law of Moses, some of them were struggling with going back to a life of sin. But Paul plea is to remind them the God gave up His only begotten Son to die for them, so they could be redeemed by having their sin forgiven through His sacrifice. He reminds that that when they obeyed Godís plan of salvation, that they were made joint heirs with Christ and have been adopted by God, which means that they are Godís sons and daughters.
The Galatians were not the only ones struggling with this problem of going back to what was familiar because Paul also taught this same message to the Colossians:
Colossians 2:20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations -- 21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," 22 which all concern things which perish with the using -- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
The message is simply. If you have died with Christ in baptism, you have become a new creature in Christ. You are not turn again to the old ways of doing things or set your mind on such things because you are different now and you are part of new family with new rules. Our goal is to focus on being spiritual instead of giving into the flesh.
Let me give you another example that you can relate to. Many of us have done things in our past that have brought us great joy and we think about how much fun we had doing it. In general, there is nothing wrong with being full of joy and having fun. In fact, God wants to enjoy this life and have fun, but only in a righteous way. However, I would be willing to bet that most of us have done things in our past that were fun and made us happy that was sinful. If sin was not any fun or did not bring pleasure it would not have any appeal.
Here is the problem. After we have become a Christian, we have hard time of letting go of our past and how past made us feel. Even though we know what we did was wrong, we allow how it made it feel to put it a more positive light. In fact, we sometimes think back to when we did those things and are actually happy that we did them. Sometimes we even brag about how did those things when we younger with a big smile on our face.
This is why our past way of living and the sins that we indulged are so powerful and have tendency to taint our view of those sins and can cause us to even want to do those sins again. We will never forget those moments in our past, but one thing we should be doing is transforming our minds to the way of Christ. Though it will be difficult we need to recognize that those sinful things we did in the past or just that sinful. They are not worthy to brag about and they should not bring a smile to our face. Instead, we should get to the point in our Christianity to where we view those sins we did as foolishness and recognize how ugly it was no matter how happy it made us or good it may of felt.
We must adopt the view of Paul. Notice how speaks of his past and then speaks of the present:
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,† 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:† 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;† 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.† 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.† 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ† 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;† 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,† 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.† 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.† 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,† 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.† 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind;
Paul started out being someone that loved God, but he was trained in the way of the Pharisees and they had adopted many manmade traditions. Paul was on board and then some when it came to destroying this new teaching about Christ. He did everything in his power to destroy it, but once he saw the light and changed his ways to the truth, he wanted to make sure that he never turned again to the past when he thought he following the righteous path. The way he made sure that he would not turn again to his old ways was by putting his past behind him and moving forward instead of backwards.
This is exactly what you and I must do. We must stop living in the past and continue to press forward to our goal of making it to heaven. Now, I am not saying that we cannot learn from our past because we can. We can make sure that we do not repeat the same mistakes we have made, but we must dwell on the past on pine for those days that we enjoyed great pleasure from our sinful ways.
God wants His people to change their ways and to honor the commitment they have made to the Lord. To go back to your old ways shows a lack of faith and God will not be pleased with you when you break your commitment. Becoming a Christian is not something you should do lightly. Whether you are young or old you consider what it means to be a Christian and how you must put God and His way first before anything else.
Luke 9:62 But
Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking
back, is fit for the
Luke 14:28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- ††29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,† 30 "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'† 31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?† 32 "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.† 33 "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
Also notice what the writer of Hebrew says:
Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
If you ever hope to be the kind of Christian that does not turn again to their old sinful ways, you have to make the commitment that you will serve God and put Him first no matter what the circumstance. We must train ourselves that if we turn to sin, that God will not be pleased with us and we will have failed to have the kind of faith God wants us to.
Now am I saying that we must be perfect and never have sin enter into our lives? While that would be ideal that will probable not happen. However, as Christians we must strive for perfection and continue to grow. While we may fall on face from time to time part of being faithful to God also includes repentance. Since God knows that only His Son was perfect, He has made provision for us so that if we sin and turn back to our old ways that we can make things right and get back on track by repenting and confessing those sins to our Father.
One of the worst things we could do is allow sin to keep us down and for us to think that sin has won and there is not hope for us. If we do not take care of our sin problem it can and will be devastating to our soul. Notice what following verses say about this:
Ezekiel 18:24 " But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
While this is a O.T. teaching, the principle is still the same. It does not matter how many righteous things you have done or how long you have done them. If you choose the pathway of sin and you live it, all your righteousness will be worthless because in the end you choose your path in the end. So, one can never say, I have done enough righteous deeds in this life so I will take my ease or we cannot think that our righteous ways will justify sin in our life.
Some people are under the false assumption that if they good deeds outweigh their bad ones that God will overlook them. Where does such thinking come from? I can tell it does not come from the Word of God, it comes from the heart of man as he tries to justify that little sin he does. This way of thinking would say that you can eat all kinds of great food and do lots of exercise, but taking a little poison each day will not really matter.
The fact of the matter is that sin in your life will corrupt you and continuing in it can cost you your soul. The writer of Hebrews says:
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
The writer is saying that if we choose to sin willfully and we do not repent of those sins then there is no more hope for us because we know the truth. We know that Jesus is the only way that we can forgiveness of our sins. Nothing else will take care of our sin problem. So, when we sin with our eyes wide open and continue in it, we must know that we will face the judgment of God for our sins. Again the writer says:
Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
If one chooses to turn again to the sinful lifestyle know what God has offered us, knowing that heaven would be ours if would be remain faithful, then there is nothing in this life that anyone can provide to us that will cause us to want to change our ways because if the thought of eternal life in heaven with all the wonderful blessings that go along with it is not enough to make your change your ways then nothing will.
One thing that helps motivate me to keep sin out of my is thought of Jesus having to be recrucified and put to open shame all over again because of my sin. Though this will not literal happen the principle is that sin is what put Him on the cross in the first place, and when you sin again it is a reminder of what He had do on the cross so that we could overcome the power of sin.
As we living the Christian life, we have another problem we have to face and be aware of when it comes to turning away from God and that is we have watch out for false teachers and those who want to lead us away from Godís truth. Some false teachers want to get us to turn to a new teaching that is not found in Scriptures and others want will use the power of our past and appeal to our fleshly desires to leads us away from God. Peter talks about this in:
2 Peter 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.† 18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.† 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.† 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.† 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.† 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."
There is no end to those who will try and corrupt the Godís truth. Some are enraptured in their truth that they actually believe it is true. They will plant seeds of doubt and error in the minds of people. Those who are easily persuaded will be turned to a false teaching. We must be watchful and make sure that we are not being lead astray by another person. Our goal as Christians must be to prove all things by comparing what others are teaching to what Godís Word actually says. When do that we will never go wrong.
Let us never forget that God has made us sons and daughters. He has cleansed those who have obeyed the gospel and He freed us from the power of sin. We are no longer slaves to sin, so let us never ever return back to the bondage of sin. Let us learn from our past so that we never repeat the sinful things we did, but do not dwell on your past or glorify the sinful things you did because those things were wrong and do not deserve to hold high honor in memories. Let us hold fast to the commitment we made to serve the Lord and turn back again to the sinful way. I want to close this lesson with what Paul taught the Romans in:
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.† 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."† 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,† 17 and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.† 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.†