“God has sent the spirit of his Son”
In his letter to the Galatians Paul reminds those who have responded to his teaching and become believers – of what they had been previously when they did not know the true God. Some have little trouble in letting previous beliefs and associated practices fade from their minds, but obviously not all were doing so. Paul makes the point,
“when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods” (4:8).
The Jews who were converted to Christ had a different, but still difficult problem in this regard. Now, it is true to say that if we ourselves have been brought up to believe in the Bible and the true God and his message it is different! But the sharp edge of the spiritual excitement of conversion has probably not been experienced.
Christ came, writes Paul,
“to redeem those who were under the Law, so that they might receive adoption as sons” (verse 5).
This applied to those of a Jewish background – but not entirely, those from a Gentile background equally had to learn (in their hearts, not just in their heads) that,
“because you are [now] sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father’” (verse 6).
What is this Spirit? It is a spiritual perception of the presence of the one and only God who is now “Our Father”! Paul told the Athenians,
“he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘in Him we live and move and have our being’” (Acts 17:27,28).
Back in Galatians 4 we see how Paul challenges the converts,
“now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God how can you turn back again to …” (verse 9)
what you were before? Knowing God is having a real living relationship with him day by day, sensing “the spirit of his Son” in our hearts.
Paul is distressed at what was happening to many of the converts he had made in Galatia; he writes,
“my little children for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ be formed in you” (verse 19).
And now in 2021 we have some modern ‘gods’ which occupy the minds of so many; they come in various forms, things many can hold in their hands! They love to see, think and talk about these to the exclusion of any spiritual perceptions and thoughts.
We cannot say this does not have at least some effect on us, and the degree of that affect is evidence as to whether Christ really is “formed in us”! Can we can truly say (to ourselves) I do “know God”! A final thought – Paul told the Galatians, “I am perplexed about you” (verse 20) – how sad if he was alive and wrote the same about you or me!