Galatians 4:11-12, 15 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong….What then has become of your blessedness?
The new believer is filled with joy at knowing Christ as Lord and Savior. The Spirit brings life and relief to the troubled sour of men. Paul’s preaching of the Gospel was effective in bringing many to Christ.
The work of the Spirit brought freedom to the new converts. No longer did they need to work to appease their god, who is no god at all. No longer did they need to wonder if their god knew them and was pleased with their efforts to please him.
They had been performing works righteousness. They had been trying to earn God’s approval of them. You attend meetings, and services without failing. You give of your possessions to prescribed measures. You volunteer a prescribed number of hours at the soup kitchen. As you labor to earn god’s approval, you are observed and measured by others who have earned their salvation. Your devotion and spirituality is measured by the effort you make to do all these things. When you fail along the way, you do not receive praise but criticism for not measuring up fully. You can be found unworthy for not meeting the standards of others. You are less spiritual than those who measure your progress.
Where is the joy the Galatians once had? They exchanged it for a guilt ridden system of measures to appease their god and other people. There is no joy in such a system or religion. Who can ever perfectly measure up to any standard each day of your life? No one, no joy.