Galatians 4:8-11 :
However at that time, not knowing God, you were in bondage to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental principles, to which you desire to be in bondage all over again? You observe days, months, seasons, and years. I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labor for you.
Sin is a kind of slavery because you are bound by your desire to do things that harm you. Sin harms us in the present, but especially in the future. Before we become Christians, we refuse to believe in God and we run after things that are not adequate substitutes. I notice this in those who believe in evolution. They refuse God, or in the case of those who claim to be Christians, they refuse the authority of God’s word. We have the desire to worship and so we seek something to fill that desire. Without a proper love for the God who made us, we run after other gods. They can be people, even a president of the United States. Nothing on earth, by nature, is an adequate god to fill our true need to worship. That’s why we say that the God of the Jews, the one in the Bible, is truly “worthy.” His character is exactly what we need to worship. He made all things in only six days a few thousand years ago, according to the scriptures.
As believers, we have realized the reality of God in our lives. We call Him Dear Father. God has performed a miracle in our lives and we realize that He means exactly what He says. No one can persuade us to stop believing because it has convinced us deeply in our hearts.
Mere following of rules cannot substitute for this relationship we now have in Jesus Christ. The law substitutes rules for a relationship. The rules put us in bondage to sin again because the only true desire of our bodies is to sin. When we focus on using our bodies even to do good, we end up doing evil instead. Paul understood this well (see Romans 7).
The celebrating of special days and seasons, although not wrong in itself, is a bad sign. The focus on external practices of the body were a clear indication to Paul that he was dangerously close to wasting all his efforts to bring them to Christ. That’s a pretty strong thing to say.
I happen to be writing this a few days before Christmas Day. It is clear to me that even celebrating this day could be a chance for sin to rise up in our families as we focus on physical things instead of spiritual ones. It is important that we guard against celebrating days as if they have some kind of Christian significance. We know from the Bible that there are no special day celebrations for Christians mentioned except “The Lord’s Day.” We have made all of the rest up ourselves. It’s not wrong to celebrate them, it’s just dangerous to treat them as “Christian holidays.” Paul calls these rules “weak and miserable.” Paul honestly wonders why anyone would be willing to turn back to something like this. It’s not that Christmas isn’t a real celebration, it’s just why focus on that when you could enjoy an actual relationship with Jesus Himself right now? After all, Christmas wasn’t really Jesus’ birthday. He was God and is eternal. It was just the day that He came to earth as a baby. He had already been involved in the earth before (See John 1).