Sunday, November 3, 2013

Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free!

Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free!

Galatians 5:1-12
New Living Translation (NLT)

Freedom in Christ
5 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. 9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! 10 I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you.

11 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. 12 I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.[b]

Commentary for Day 5 & 7
"Note: Isn’t circumcision just a minor operation on the body? Why then was Paul
making such a big fuss over it? It was because of the doctrinal implications!
The Judaizers were insisting that unless one is circumcised and keep the
Law of Moses, one cannot be saved. Hence, circumcision has come to stand
for “salvation by human works”. To receive circumcision is tantamount to
accepting “salvation by works”. It is, in effect, to accept the “Christ plus”

Once again, Paul starts with identity – we are free men in Christ, for Christ has made us
free. Our identity must then affect our life – stand fast in this liberty, and do not be
entangled with a yoke of bondage.

The freedom in view here is not freedom from sin but from the Law. Christ has indeed
set us free from the bondage of sin. However, that is not what Paul had in view here.
Rather, he is focusing on the truth that Christ has made our conscience free from the
guilt of sin. The Christian conscience is a conscience free from the tyranny of the Law,
the dreadful struggle to keep the Law in order to be accepted by God.

The teachings of the Judaziers were damning. If the Galatian Christians accepted them,
then they were in effect turning their back on the gospel of ‘Christ alone saves’, and
receiving the gospel of ‘Christ plus my works save’. This explains those very strong
terms used by Paul in verses 2-­4 regarding the consequences of following the

Since Christians are people with a conscience free from the guilt of sin, we do not live
our Christian Life striving constantly to gain God’s acceptance. Rather, we wait for the
day of our salvation (when we shall be publicly declared, to the whole world, that we
are righteous; a righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ). While waiting, we live by
faith in Christ daily. This faith is not an idle faith, but it is a faith working through love.
Note the theme of “faith, hope and love” in the Christian Life!

Having laid out the contrast between people seeking to be saved by their works and
Christians who trust Christ alone for salvation (verses 1-­6), Paul moved to contrast
false preachers and true gospel preachers.

Concerning false preachers, he said that their message did not come from God. The
effects of their message were damaging: it hinders true believers from real progress in
the Christian Life, troubles and unsettles believers, and spreads to negatively affect others.
On the other hand, the effects of the gospel on the lives of believers would be exactly
the reverse!

There is one other contrast, and that is “persecution”. Preachers of the gospel will be
persecuted, just like believers of the gospel will be persecuted (4:28-­31). To preach
circumcision is to tell people that by their own good works and effort, they can achieve
salvation. To preach the gospel of Christ crucified is to tell people that they cannot do
anything to save themselves. Only Christ can save them through the cross.

The message of circumcision is quite inoffensive, popular because it’s flattering to the
ego. The message of Christ crucified is offensive to human pride, unpopular because it’s
unflattering to one’s ego and the notion of self-­‐righteousness. No wonder people hate
preachers of the gospel and persecute them!


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