Biblical Translation Copyright disclaimers
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.
Galatians 4:9-11 ESV
In no place here does it say that observing the sabbath, feast days and the like – are commandments that no longer need to be observed – no, not at all.
Galatians 4:21 for Context
Rather, the correct context of this passage can be found when we read a little further, where in verse 21 it says;
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?
Galatians 4:21 ESV
Verse 21 has confirmed the context for Galatians 4:9-11 for us.
When is says,
‘…whose slaves do you want to be once more…you observe…’ in verses 9-11 (ESV), this is speaking of believers seeking to be,
‘…under the law…’ (v 21).
If one is ‘under the law’, this means that a person is relying on their deeds, instead of their faith in the risen Messiah (Christ) to be completely justified and saved with everlasting life – an impossible task as;
Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”
Galatians 3:11 NIV
‘…whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.‘
(James 2:10 NIV)
Therefore being ‘under the law’ means that a person must meet it’s righteous requirement to be saved by works, and the requirement of the law is to;
‘…keep all My commandments always…‘
(Deuteronomy 5:29 NASB)
However, though the law says we are not to falter in one single commandment, fallen man cannot achieve such perfection by their own efforts;
‘…a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear…’
(Acts 15:10 NASB, also see Ecclesiastes 7:20)
Thus, instead of the people in Galatians 4:9-11 seeking to neglect faith in Christ by trying to base their salvation on works instead, they were being encouraged to instead value the justification by faith in Christ that a believer receives, and with this faith – diligently uphold the law;
‘28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law….
31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.‘
(Romans 3:28, 3:31 ESV)
Hence the example of faithful Abraham who was declared righteous by faith, and upheld good works as a type of ‘seal’;
‘He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised….’
(Romans 4:11 ESV)
In brief summary, in no place does Galatians 4:9-11 abolish observing the sabbath, feasts, or any of the other good commandments in Torah Law.
Rather, verse 21 shows us that the people in verses 9-11 might have been seeking to be impossibly justified and saved by their deeds alone and not by their faith, thus they were trying to be ‘…under the law…’ (v.21 ESV).
When read in the fuller scope of Holy Scripture we see that with this faith, a ‘born again’ believer is not ‘under’ the law for justification;
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Galatians 5:18 NIV
And believing in Christ (Messiah), one continues to;
‘… uphold the Torah.’
(Kehillah in Rome 3:31 OJB)
May the Holy G-d bless you in His risen Son the Lord Jesus Christ (Adonai Yehoshua HaMoshiach). Omayn (Amen).