Christ set us free for freedom.
Galatians 5:1-12 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Walk by the Spirit
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. 10 I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11 But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. 12 I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.
Paul begins today’s text saying: It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. The yoke of slavery he is referring to is the bondage to the law and the religious human regulations of or for righteousness. Christ, by dying as the sacrifice for our sins, on the cross, accomplished all that was necessary for our redemption. It is no longer a matter of what we do, but rather what matters is what He did. There were some, in Paul’s time, who were trying to persuade the people that in addition to faith in Christ, they also needed to follow the law and the religious regulations. There are some today who still try to hold people and bind them to religious regulations. The text continues: You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. It is not God and not Jesus who would have us return to the law rather than freedom we have in Christ. If the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was not enough to redeem us from sin, He and the Father would not have endured its anguish. If the law was still necessary, Jesus would not have said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Paul says: Every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. He says: A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. So if we rely on any part of the law for our salvation and our justification, for our reconciliation to God and our restoration to all that He intended and intends for us, we then are subject to the whole law, something we know we cannot hold to. The bondage of the law is in striving to do something we cannot possibly do. The freedom of grace through faith in Christ, is knowing that we don’t have to.
Here’s the thing; it is not enough to know and believe the truth concerning grace, if you accept the lie of continuing in sin. Sin too is like leaven and a little bit that we allow to enter or remain in us will affect all that we do and all that we are. In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” God did not do away with or abandon His requirement of righteousness and holiness. He still says, as He did in Leviticus 20:26: You shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine. God did not do away with His desire or His requirement of holiness and righteousness. Because the law was not able to make anyone holy or righteous, God sent Jesus to fulfill the requirements for us. In Christ our righteousness is fully filled. It is complete in and through Him, by the cross. If we embrace, accept or tolerate even a little sin, we become sinful, like leaven, it permeates all that we do and all that we are. Our righteousness exceeds the scribes and the Pharisees because the requirements of the law needed to be constantly repeated to cover sin. In Christ, our sins are forgiven; forgotten by God, washed away as if they had not happened.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. By grace, through faith in Christ, we are free from the bondage of law and religion. But because of grace we are also free from the bondage of sin. Just as we are not free from the law if we choose to try to live by it rather than in Christ’s freedom, so too are we under the bondage of sin if we choose to continue in even a little of it. Again, it is no longer about what we do, but rather about what He did for us. But we must choose whether we will accept and walk in the fulfillment of Christ, or choosing to continue in even a little sin, we will become sinful. In John 8:31-32;36 Jesus says: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free… if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; thank You for truth, the truth of Your word and that You are truth. Thank You that I am free in You. I am redeemed, reconciled and restored by grace, believing and abiding fully in You. Amen.