Read Galatians 4:8–20. Summarize on the lines below what Paul is saying there. How seriously does he take the false teachings among Galatians?
Paul does not describe the exact nature of the Galatians’ religious practices, but he clearly has in mind a false system of worship that resulted in spiritual slavery. Indeed, he deemed it so dangerous and destructive that he would write such an impassioned letter, warning the Galatians that what they were doing was akin to turning away from sonship to slavery. 1
Though he didn’t get into specifics, what does Paul say the Galatians were doing that he found so objectionable? Gal. 4:9–11.
Many have interpreted Paul’s reference to “days and months and seasons and years” (Gal. 4:10 ESV) as an objection not merely against ceremonial laws but against the Sabbath, as well. Such an interpretation, however, goes beyond the evidence. For starters, if Paul really wanted to single out the Sabbath and other specific Jewish practices, it is clear from Colossians 2:16 that he easily could have identified them by name. Second, Paul makes it clear that whatever it is the Galatians are doing, it has led them from freedom in Christ to bondage. “If observance of the seventh-day Sabbath subjects a man to bondage, it must be that the Creator Himself entered into bondage when He observed the world’s first Sabbath!”—The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 967. Also, why would Jesus not only have kept the Sabbath but taught others how to keep it, if its proper observance were in any way depriving people of the freedom that they have in Him? (See Mark 2:27, 28; Luke 13:10–16.)
Might there be any practices in Seventh-day Adventism that take away from the freedom that we have in Christ? Or instead of the practices themselves being problematic, what about our attitudes toward the practices? How could a wrong attitude lead us into the kind of bondage that Paul warned the Galatians about so vehemently?