Galatians 5:1 (CSB) - "For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery."
Paul will show us in this chapter how the miracle of justification brings about both freedom in the Son and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
First, consider today the freedom in the Son. We have protection from the legalism of the legalizers (5:1-12). The work of Christ has freed us from the bondage of the law (5:1-4; 6-12) It is not the actual circumcision, but the reason for it. If one places themselves under the Law, they are then required to keep it all.
To “become estranged from Christ” means that He will not be of any future benefit to them. They have been “cut off” from Him. Carrying through the circumcision image. Paul is not speaking about salvation – but our relationship. The statement “Fallen from Grace” is a very misunderstood concept. It is NOT a loss of salvation as some would teach. Notice it does not say fallen out of grace – but from it. They had fallen from the higher plane of grace back to considering the field of keeping the law. Their progress for the Lord and in the Lord has stopped. They had become ineffectual and out of the relationship they had with Christ.
In verses 6 -12, Paul emphasizes that they started right – but now have been hindered in serving the Lord. This teaching of legalism did not come from God. (Verse 8). Paul says that he wishes that those who were teaching this would mutilate themselves. Basically be completely cut off. Again, he is sarcastically carrying on the circumcision image.
The work of Christ will (someday) free us from the bondage of our body (5:5). We are saved from the penalty of our sin, daily we are being saved from the power of sin, one day when we stand in His presence we will be saved from the presence of sin.
But Paul goes on to show the protection from the license of the libertines (5:13-15). Paul warns against using freedom to indulge the sinful nature. We must remember that salvation is not a license to sin. It is the license to do right. All of this is summed up in one word – love. Love one another – and we will do right by one another. We will automatically keep the law if we operate under the guise of love.
We can see that love would not:
- Dishonor our family members
- Kill another person
- Would not commit sexual sins
- Would not take something from another
- Would not lie about people
- And, would not want what belonged to someone else
In other words, the 6 commandments dealing with man’s relationship to man. Without love, we will seek to destroy others – and will in the process be destroyed. We have freedom in the Son by being protected from the legalism of the legalizers, and the license of the libertines.
The freedom of the Son gives us the power and privilege to Love.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, take control of my life and lead me to fulfill the Law by living the way that Grace empowers me. May I be an example of Jesus to those I come in contact with today. Amen.