Fickle Affections – Galatians 4:8-16

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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One of our relatives had a cat that ran away when you tried to pet her. But before long she would crawl on your lap, purr, and give every indication she now wanted you to pet her. Yet, if you reached out to pet her, the cat would hiss at you and often bite quite hard. It was a confusing and frustrating mix of fickle affection and hostile reactions.

The saints at Galatia acted no better. When the Apostle Paul came and “preached the gospel” (Galatians 4:13) to these believers, he did so “through infirmity of the flesh.” We assume Paul came to minister to them after enduring either the stripes, stoning, or beatings he described in II Corinthians 11:23-25, which he often suffered while being persecuted for preaching Christ. Though he came to them in weakness, he said they did not despise or reject him. He said, they “received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus” (Galatians 4:14). In other words, their response was overwhelmingly receptive. In fact, they were so appreciative of his ministry to them, “if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me” (vs. 15). But their affections changed. When false teachers came into their midst seeking to place them under the bondage of the Mosaic Law, they embraced this false teaching. Paul sought to reason with them. He explained that the Law was a burdensome curse if one did not keep “all things…written in…the law…” (Galatians 3:10). He further explained that God only intended the Law to serve as a “schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ [in saving faith]” (Galatians 3:24). But when Paul explained this good news that Christ had liberated all saints in the Dispensation of Grace from the Law of Moses, he had to ask them, “Am I…become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16). Those who had once loved him with such sweet affection had now turned on him in hostility. The believers in Corinth were no better. Even though Paul had led them to faith in Christ, they later questioned his apostleship and became fickle in their affection toward him. With sorrow he told them, “…the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (II Corinthians 12:15).

Have you also become fickle in your affection and appreciation for someone who shared the gospel or right division with you? Choose to let God change that pattern beginning now.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."