I read Galatians as a whole, since the author wrote it as a letter to be read, to see what might be its main warning. See here. Paul expressed concern to the Galatians that they were distorting the gospel that Jesus taught (1:6). They begin to insist all peoples follow their customs (2:17) and stressed special occasions as most important (4:10). The Jews in Galatia perhaps were tempted by a sense of entitlement that comes from receiving the Law from the Creator. The importance of the Law kept religious leaders such as the Pharisees in control.
Parents and religious leaders might be wary of traditions pushed on others. Parents may insist on certain careers, schools, or other decisions for their older children because it mostly comforts the parent. Such actions drown out more important things – a parent’s love and encouragement to be a loving person. We might push our understanding of true spirituality as a way to build up our own standing with God. Traditions push or highly encouraged by religious leaders give a church an identity for others to join, which is needed to fund salaries and keep the doors open.
Religions may try to control where and how people pray during the day. We may insinuate that people must attend a church if they are truly spiritual. The Bible never speaks of going to a church building but being “the” church to encourage others. To insist being baptized a certain ways implies there is only one way to be identified as a follower of Jesus. We emphasize the important of certain holidays which can lead to the lack of importance of every day. We insist on our interpretations of the Bible though most understand interpretations are possibly fallible.
Do traditions obscure what is more important? We can be seduced into thinking that attending church is all that matters and not how I treat others the rest of the days and hours not spent in church. Traditions forced can lead to thinking that God only loves me if I honor certain customs. God like any loving parent doesn’t love their children because of certain behaviors chosen. Parents even love their children when they act immoral though consequences are inevitable. Loving parents simply encourage children to discover how to make for a better world.
All traditions certainly aren’t the same. Any religion that is based on control than service toward others is not truly religious. God never insisted on belief or be destroyed; otherwise, why doesn’t a God powerful enough to create destroy immediately those who oppose by choosing evil. One hint terrorists are misguided is they don’t just blow themselves up to spread their gospel. Jesus didn’t come to conquer but sacrificed His own life to influence others. Human or spiritual parents hope their children freely reciprocate their love. The God of the Bible surely is not like the supposed God of terrorists who thinks that controlling or destroying decisions results in true love. True life transformations are freely chosen.
Galatians warns of focusing on traditions instead of the true gospel of God. Jesus came to encourage us what the Law or traditions can’t encourage – loving your neighbor as yourself (5:14). God loves, forgives, never loses hope in us so that we might act the same toward others. Be wary of those who suggest they are favored by God and insist on adhering to certain traditions. The Jewish focus on the Law led to be being concerned with being legal and less concerned about being self-centered. All can speak to actions that violate the right of others; otherwise, God can personally guide individuals how to have a better life and benefit others.