Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

Christ Formed in You

My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you … Galatians 4:19

The verse uses two analogies of childbirth. First, Paul writes that his deep concern for the Galatian readers is like that of a mother in “labor in birth.”

His concern is for Christ to be formed in them.

The picture reminds us of Jesus being formed in Mary. The message is that just as Jesus was physically being formed daily in Mary, He may be formed in believers spiritually.

There is a reason for Paul’s deep concern for the Galatian believers. While with them he had taught them of the presence of Christ in their lives. He had seen Christ being formed in them as they experienced their crucifixion, burial, and resurrection day by day.

After Paul left the Galatian church, though, Satan came to the church in the lives of false teachers—teachers who told the young believers Paul was wrong and that one is righteous through keeping the law.

When Paul heard of the distressing situation, he knew that spiritual growth would cease. He knew that attempting to keep the law would totally eliminate their walking in the Spirit—and the formation of Christ in them.

Paul responded with the letter of Galatians. In chapter one he referred to the false teaching as “another gospel.” In chapter four he indicated his agony of spirit by telling the Galatians that his pain was like that of a mother giving birth. In the fifth chapter he wrote that in returning to legalism they had “fallen from grace.”

Christ will be formed—and seen—in us only as we reject a life of living by rules and continue a walk in the Spirit.