Beyond the Gospels: Galatians

Today’s Scripture: Galatians 5:1-15
[Click the link above to read on BibleGateway.com. Or open your own Bible.]

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then,
and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1 NIV
Christ has set us free! Yet, God reminds us through Paul of our need to be on guard, stand firm against those who want to burden us again with a yoke of slavery.
There are two ways we can be enslaved, both involve the law. One way is by coming back under the burden of the law and living a legalistic life of do’s and don’t’s. This is what Paul cites here in this passage. He has some strong words for those who still push circumcision as a part of salvation. They are all about the law and not Jesus. Only through Christ are we justified, never through our keeping of the law.
The other way we become enslaved through the law is by breaking it, living a sin-full life. Because of Christ’s work on the cross and our trust in that work, sin no longer has a hold on our lives. But many of us willingly come under that yoke of slavery over and over by indulging in sin. Instead of standing firm and living in the freedom He has made the way for, we choose instead to gratify that which we are dead to: flesh. This is a miserable place for a Believer to live, enslaved by sin.
We are set free from the constraints of the law because, as Believers, we have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). We are free from the law of sin and death. We are truly free! But there is a responsible way to walk in freedom. Freedom is subject to abuse, as you probably know or have experienced.
“Everything is permissible for me”— but not everything is beneficial.
“Everything is permissible for me” — but I will not be mastered by anything.
1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV84
Everything permissible… but not beneficial…
When we strive to keep the law, we are generally motivated by pride and a desire for control over the lives of others.
When we seek to live for the desires of the flesh, we live a selfish life, harming not only ourselves but those around us.
Jesus says the entire law could be summed up in one way:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.
And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two
commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:37-40 ESV
There is only one way to exercise freedom, and God had Paul sum it up nicely…
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.
But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh;
rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Galatians 5:13 NIV
Lord Jesus, thank You for coming and showing us the heart of the law.
Thank You for Your great sacrifice for my salvation.
Teach me to use the blessing of freedom to love others
in the same way You love me.
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