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Liberated From Legalism pt 19 [9-5-21]


Last week, we ended with a focus on verses four and five. These two short verses contain six central teachings about the coming of Christ. We touched on two of them last week. Before we move on to the next four, we're going to take a quantum leap into verse nine. It should all make sense by the time we're done today.


Here's verse nine again:

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

Some want to interpret the phrase "elementary principles" to mean something like evil spirits or forces of evil or evil influences. It's really not as sinister as that.


Essentially, this passage warns against the dangers of ritualism. Anytime

something is used as a primary focus of the Christian life, it becomes one of those elementary principles Paul warned against. Those of us with OCD, whether slight or extreme, know the downside of ritualism. Paul said the Galatians were on the verge of trading an abiding personal relationship with Jesus Christ in for the repetitious rites and practices of the past.


Now, don't misunderstand. Rituals are commendable. Chapters 7-10 of Hebrews touches on rituals and ritualism. Singing particular songs in worship during seasonal times of the church year is a good thing. Think about singing Silent Night by candlelight on Christmas Eve. That's a legitimate ritual. Saying the Lord's P