We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:15-16 ESV)
…my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. (Galatians 4:19-20 ESV)
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 ESV)
The Apostle Paul lived for the glory of God alone. He preached the Gospel with prophetic zeal to reach the world for Jesus. Paul’s passion was to see the life of Christ fully formed in his spiritual children. That involves being freed from demonic oppression and delivered from seeking to establish our own righteousness, by our good works. Paul sought to free people from oppressive religious observance and systems that do nothing to deliver believers internally.
The Gospel frees us from being controlled by what he called “elemental principles or spirits” of the world. Jesus came to set both religious and irreligious people free. His death and resurrection redeems us from spiritual slavery to adoption into his family. As God’s sons and daughters we can now cry out, “Abba! Father!” by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Paul describes his passion for the spiritual maturity of believers as a woman in childbirth, which speaks of excruciating pain. And as one mother pointed out, “he couldn’t think of anything else!” The key to our spiritual maturity is dependent upon our grasp of our adoption into the family of God, not just keeping rules and regulations. This reality can only be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
Those that revert to law based religion seek to justify themselves based on good works apart from Christ. And they miss the point of the Gospel.