On Paul’s first visit the Galatians eagerly accepted Paul’s message of the Gospel and where saved. The people did not treat him “with contempt or scorn” (Galatians 4:14). Instead, Paul says:
“You welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.”
– Galatians 4:14
Suddenly, the Galatians consider Paul an “enemy,” because the Judaizers came into Galatia in Paul’s absence and began talking bad about Paul’s message (and, about Paul himself). On his first visit to Galatia Paul had spoken the truth of the Word of God, but now the “truth” is considered to be the words of an opponent. Paul is considered an “enemy” of the church because his words are not in agreement with the Judaizer’s imitation-teaching.
“Have I now become your enemy be telling you the truth?”
Paul exposes the motive and the cause of this division when he says:
“Those people are zealous to win you over…What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them.” - Galatians 4:17
The Galatians are saved, or born again, as believers in Jesus Christ, but what Paul is upset about is that their spiritual growth as Christians will be interrupted by interference from false doctrine and legalistic standards of the Judaizers. Paul is not satisfied that the Galatians are saved and “going to heaven.” Paul wants Christ to be formed in the Galatians. In addition to the Galatians having received salvation, Paul wants them to mature as Christians. The Galatians perplex Paul since their acceptance of pseudo-teaching has stunted their spiritual advancement.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!” – Galatians 4:19