Posted by: Brad Beaman | August 11, 2008

The Gospel: Freedom, Galatians 5:1-12


In my University literature class the professor would return the paper with comments on the paper like; give further explanation, clarify or expand this point. This professor had a system where you could re-write a paper and re-submit it for a higher grade.

I decided to take the professor up on this and I re-wrote one of my papers. My grade was higher on my re-write. I decided to re-write my re-write and then you guessed it, I re-wrote my rewrite of my re-written paper. Each time my grade was a little higher. I found out that no matter how many times you re-write there is always room for improvement.

We constantly improve, but God is not like us. He is perfect. There is no room for improvement in anything that He does. You can’t improve on perfect. There is nothing to re-write.

When God became man he came to us, walked this earth in the person Jesus Christ. He lived the perfect life. He became the perfect sacrifice. Paul wrote the book of Galatians because some people could not accept Christ’s work on the cross as complete and perfect. They felt that it was good, but not enough.

They taught that we must also work, do merit, achieve in order to be accepted by God and earn salvation. We can’t add to the work of Christ. We cannot earn our salvation. It comes only by the grace of God.

Why you were set free.

Galatians 5:1
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.
When you trusted Jesus Christ as your savior something wonderful happened. Your sins were forgiven. Your heart was free. Christ set you free from the bondage of sin, so that we could live free.

Now you are fee from the law and regulations that bind us. Free to really obey moral principles of God. For freedom you were set free. Protect that freedom.

I have been watching a video of a rodeo. The bucking bronco rushes out of the gate and runs wild. They don’t take being fitted with reigns, saddles, harnesses or bridles lightly. They will protect their freedom and buck off the rider. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

Paul uses the illustration of oxen yoked together. They have a wooden contraption around their neck so they can be controlled. Satan had you in control bound in sin. You have been saved by grace now stand firm. Resist the bondage. Don’t let anyone tell you that Christ’s death on the cross is not enough. Don’t listen if they tell say that now you must earn God’s favor.

Freedom is a precious thing. Don’t live like a prisoner in the land of freedom. It doesn’t mean we sin that grace may abound. It means we serve in love. Don’t let anyone bind you with the yoke of legalism. Don’t let them deceive you with a works oriented religion.

Christ says my yoke is easy, my burden is light Matthew 11:29. The Judaizers have a yoke of slavery. Don’t tolerate their legalism. Buck it off like a wild horse bucks off the cowboy who is trying to bridle it.

A Freedom threatened

Galatians 2:2-6
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Jesus paid it all. We did not contribute to our salvation with any good works. We can’t contribute or merit or salvation. We didn’t help. If we submit to legalism our freedom in Christ is threatened. Then as this passage says Christ will be of no value to you at all.

A system of human achievement is contradictory of a system of grace. Christianity is about grace through faith. Everything else is about human achievement. Christ becomes of no value to you.

This doesn’t mean you lose your reservation in heaven when you resort to a legalistic system. But you lose the joy. You lose the power. You lose the peace and the abundant life. You are living like mere men. This happens by living licentiously in uninhibited sin, but also when we resort to human effort, rules and regulation.

You become Bound to keep the whole law.

Galatians 2:3
Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.
One sin is equal to total depravity. You need to know what the system of works really is.

Have you fallen away From Grace?
Galatians 2:4
You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

This is not referring to losing you salvation. Eternal life is eternal and you don’t lose it when we blow it by sin or by legalism. Paul calls them the children of promise and his brothers in Christ in verse 4:28. He expects them to put off the old system that they have now foolishly adopted and he calls them to live by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus tells us about eternal security for the believer in John 10:28 when he says, I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one can snatch them out of my hand. Or we read in Romans 8:35 Nothing shall separate us from the love of God.

But when we take Galatians 2:4 in context it means we left the life of living by God’s grace. We are saved by faith and we are to live by faith. Fallen from grace means we are not walking by faith, but walking by sight. We are called to live by faith. We continue to walk by faith.

By faith we await our eternal state.

Galatians 2:5
But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.

By faith we await the day we will receive glorified bodies with no more tears, no more pain. We await all the fullness of our salvation in the second coming of Jesus.

Circumcision has nothing to do with it. Don’t first become a Jew, but come directly to Christ (1 Corinthians 7:17-20) Jesus death conquered the power of sin.

Warning to those who hinder freedom

Galatians 5:7-12
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9″A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Paul was using the imagery of an athletic competition; running a race. Paul uses the analogy from a footrace. Spiritually the Galatians had been hindered. Someone cut in and knocked them down. Someone kept them from obeying the truth. Run in such a way you will finish and wind the prize.

A system of legalism is not from God. The teaching that came from the Judaizers came from man. All religion is works orientated but faith in Christ is God originated.

Watch out for the Leven. This bondage spreads. Jesus referred to leaven of the Pharisees as sin in selfish effort that spreads. It can effect the whole congregations. Don’t let it in your life. Stand firm in the freedom of the Spirit. It is the Bible, the Holy Spirit and love that are the driving forces spiritual. It is not rules, traditions and prejudices. Don’t get caught in the rut of human regulation.

Paul is positive and confident of change in these foolish believers. The Legalists will be judged by God. Pray for backsliders and restore them gently. Paul is preaching grace. But he is hard with those who are telling these believers they now must be circumsized to please God. There is nothing in circumcision, no physical act makes for that matter that makes us right with God.

They have bewitched the Galatians and Paul says they might as well go all the way and commit self castration. In His comments on this phrase Paul uses here Herschel Hobbs says that this is the equivalent of saying that the one who believe baptism saves you, he should go drown himself.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. We are called to seek God. Trust Christ by faith. You were saved by grace. The result is freedom. You who are saved stand firm in your freedom. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.



  1. I was in Seminary a year ago and I remember reading a scripture outside of Galatans, I beleive that said those who are in th e law would not be judged but those thereafter would be judged. These had been circumsized already and believed .

    Can you advise, I cannot find that scripture now…about the one who had been circumcised
    would not be judged according to the new requirement.

    Please help me find this if you can. Thanks I quoted it because I remember it being discussed in class but as I read in my textbook, I do not see it there. I remember reading it in the Bible…

  2. Hi Shirley, It sounds like you are referring to:
    Romans 2:12
    “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.”

    The point of this is that whether we follow the law or another moral system we will fall short. We need a savior. Jesus Christ and his death on the cross is the hope for all.

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