“ANGUISH OF CHILDBIRTH UNTIL ….” D.Caudery
Paul in writing to the Galatians asks, “Who has bewitched you”[3 v.1] because many had been persuaded to follow the observances of the Mosaic law. We read about this yesterday and the seriousness of this is emphasized today as we read more about this problem. But is this issue relevant to us today?
The recent celebration of Easter provoked our thoughts on this for we read of Paul’s complaint to them, “You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have laboured over you in vain’ [4 v.10,11]
What was wrong in observing days? For the Galatians, quite apart from the fact it was no longer commanded, it did not bring a sense of humility, instead it often created pride, ‘Look how holy I am because of what I do!” “The Law”, with all its rules, Paul writes, “was our guardian until Christ came … but now faith has come we are no longer under a guardian … as many of you as were baptised into Christ, have put on Christ.” [3 v.24,27]
The Law had been fulfilled; all the sacrifices have come to their completion and fulfilment by the sacrifice of Christ. No more observing of feasts, Easter was never instituted by the followers of Christ. There is only one way to commemorate the death of Christ, that is to break bread and drink wine. The Catholic Church calls this the eucharist, but there is no specific day commanded in relation to doing this! To begin with they did it every day! [Acts 2 v.42-46] Paul wrote most urgently that this had to be done with the right attitude. (read 1 Corinthians 11 v.17 onwards)
What mattered above all was the birth of the spirit of Christ in their hearts! Note his impassioned plea – “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ be formed in you” [4 v.19] They had been born anew into Christ at their baptism, but many had been “bewitched” by false teaching, now they needed a rebirth back to that which was true – and Paul was in anguish for that to happen – and that is the urgency of his letter!
We must all check that Christ remains formed in us, that we are becoming more and more like Christ, that our “childbirth” into his name was not in vain.