Galatians 4:16-20
Gal 4:16 (KJB)
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
Paul is speaking frankly to the Galatians by asking them if he has become their enemy because he has told them of how they have abandoned the truth and have chosen to put themselves under the law. Paul wants to know if they think he is the enemy because he has brought them a warning that they are walking opposite of God. It is a shame that even in our day that whenever any Christian brings the truth they are considered an enemy. How many times are Christians who bring the truth, even to other Christians, called evil, nasty, hate filled, hate monger or words like that? We have come to a point in our day when the majority of Christians are unable to discern the truth and then when things go wrong in their life, they complain and blame God. In the Old Testament, God always sent a prophet to Israel and Judah to warn them of impending consequences if they continue on their present path. Well what was their response? The despised the prophet and did what they wanted which resulted in their destruction. God will also do that for the Christian. If they are walking wrongly, He will send someone to correct them, if they heed, they will grow plus escape the chastising hand of God. If they reject, they will face the chastising hand of God. For a Christian, being an enemy of truth is spiritual suicide and will always yield damaging consequences.
Gal 4:17 (KJB)
They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
They zealously affect - Strive or fervently desire
Exclude - Shut out or eliminate
These false teachers had made zealous strides toward the Galatians in order to win their affections and confidence but the motives of the false teachers were not true because they had a hidden agenda which was to bring the Galatians back under the law of Moses. Then he tells them that these false teachers would shut the Galatians out that they would not affect them. In other words, these false teachers would not pay attention to the teachings of the Galatians when it comes to salvation by grace alone. They would definitely want to separate these Galatians from Paul who was the bringer of the true message of salvation.
Gal 4:18 (KJB)
But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
Paul is definitely encouraging the Galatians to be zealous but that zeal must be properly focused on the right thing. The false teachers had zeal but were zealous for false teachings. Paul desires that the Galatians continue in their zeal but only the zeal in the true Gospel and Paul urges them to maintain their zeal, even when he is absent from them. Basically he is saying that it is easy to be zealous on Sunday morning but he is telling them to carry that zeal for the true gospel to Monday morning when the circumstances would be much more difficult.
Gal 4:19 (KJB)
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
Travail in birth - Suffer birth pangs
Be formed - Shaped or fashioned
Paul addresses the Galatians as “my little children” showing he has a very father like relationship to them and they were very near and dear to him. Here he states that he will suffer birth pangs a second time, meaning that until every vestige of the false teachings are removed from the Galatian church and only the doctrine of salvation by grace alone is once again firmly established, he will continue to work with them with the intensity of a woman ready to give birth with the accompanying birth pangs or pain. Here is the real heart attitude of the mature believer, that they are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that true doctrine unseats any false doctrines the younger believers may hold.
Gal 4:20 (KJB)
I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
To change - Exchange or transform
Paul would love to stay with them permanently because when he left them, they had succumbed to the false teachings of the false teachers. His voice change is one from endearment to that of disapproval because of their acceptance of the false doctrines. He doubted their maturity although it does not seem he is doubting their salvation. These Galatians apparently did not have anyone in their congregation with enough maturity to face the false teachers head on. It is this immaturity in the faith that lead many Christians into trouble. It behooves every Christian to grow in the faith and become familiar with as much Scripture as they can so maturity will then take place. Once a Christian becomes mature they will have enough discernment to combat the false teachings thus helping those weaker in the faith to see the errors and then grow.