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No.70. (28) GALATIANS.
Galatians 4: 8 - 12-.
The inexplicable return to "weak and beggarly elements".
pp. 197 - 200
We now come to the closing appeal of the great argument that occupies
Gal. 2: 15 - 4: 12. The Apostle started his argument by appealing to Peter to consider
what he was really doing when he attempted "to build again the things destroyed",
clinching the argument with an appeal, "I am dead to the law".
Now having shown the place that the promise has above the law, the superiority of
sonship above serfdom, the passing of the pedagogue and the coming in of the fullness of
Christ, the Apostle turns to the Galatians who had been misled by Judaistic enthusiasts
and applies to them the same form of argument and appeal that he had used with Peter.
The structure demonstrates this, and we give the opening and closing members again so
that the evidence shall be before us.
A | 2: 15-20. | a | Phusis. "By nature." Jews.
b | Build again things destroyed. Palin.
c | Personal. "I am dead to the Law."
A | 4: 8-12. | a | Phusis. "By nature" gods.
b | Turn again to elements. Palin.
c | Personal. "Be as I am."
"We who are Jews by nature", said Paul to Peter. "Ye did service unto them which by
nature no gods", said Paul to the Galatians. "If I build again the things which I destroyed,
I make myself a transgressor", said Paul to Peter. "How turn ye again to the weak and
beggarly elements", said Paul to Galatians. Then Paul turns from argument to appeal,
and said to Peter:
"I am dead . . . . . I am crucified with Christ"--so he turns from argument with the
Galatians and appeals to them, "Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are".
The Apostle is not questioning the real existence of the gods of the heathen. That
question does not arise, for however far the Galatians had slipped into ritualism, they had
not given up their faith in the true God. Among the heathen there were "gods many and
lords many" (I Cor. 8: 5), but, says the Apostle, you once served those who though no
gods at all, were ignorantly considered to be so, yet now, even though you have come to a
saving knowledge of the gospel, you have gone back in principle to the self same
elements that held you in bondage before your salvation. "How turn ye again . . . . . ye
desire again." The Apostle uses the word palin "again" twice, and in the second instance
he follows it with the added word anothen "anew".