Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
To regard the observance of certain days as in itself meritorious as a work, is alien to the free spirit of Christianity. This is not incompatible with observing the Sabbath or the Christian Lord's day as obligatory, though not as a work (which was the Jewish and Gentile error in the observance of days), but as a holy mean appointed by the Lord for attaining the great end, holiness. The whole life alike belongs to the Lord in the Gospel view, just as the whole world, and not the Jews only, belong to Him. But as in Paradise, so now one portion of time is needed wherein to draw off the soul more entirely from secular business to God (Colossians 2:16). "Sabbaths, new moons, and set feasts" (I Chronicles 23:31; II Chronicles 31:3), answer to "days, months, times." "Months," however, may refer to the first and seventh months, which were sacred on account of the number of feasts in them.
times—Greek, "seasons," namely, those of the three great feasts, the Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
years—The sabbatical year was about the time of writing this Epistle, A.D. 48 [BENGEL].
Appeal to them not to turn back from their privileges as free sons, to legal bondage again.
then—when ye were "servants" (Galatians 4:7).
ye knew not God—not opposed to Romans 1:21. The heathen originally knew God, as Romans 1:21 states, but did not choose to retain God in their knowledge, and so corrupted the original truth. They might still have known Him, in a measure, from His works, but as a matter of fact they knew Him not, so far as His eternity, His power as the Creator, and His holiness, are concerned.
are no gods—that is, have no existence, such as their worshippers attribute to them, in the nature of things, but only in the corrupt imaginations of their worshippers (see on I Corinthians 8:4; I Corinthians 10:19-20; II Chronicles 13:9). Your "service" was a different bondage from that of the Jews, which was a true service. Yet theirs, like yours, was a burdensome yoke; how then is it ye wish to resume the yoke after that God has transferred both Jews and Gentiles to a free service?
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