Our Father in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our trespass, even as we forgive those who trespassed against us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Galatians 5: 1-15, freedom in Christ
VV 1-3, 1 stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed, I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3, And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
Greek for stand fast is “steko”, which means persevere. Paul encouraged his audience and us to strive for the freedom of Christ and not be enslaved by the yoke of the law and work-based self-righteousness. Circumcision is of no value and will not make anyone righteous before God. Every person who underwent circumcision is obliged to keep the law which is utterly impossible, Romans 3:23.
Romans 3:23, for all, have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
VV 4-5, 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 for we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Greek for estranged is “naqa”, which means alienated. Self-righteousness leads to alienation from Christ, falling from grace and faith to law-keeping and work-righteousness.
VV 6-8, 6 For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything but faith working through love. 7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.
Circumcision and Jewish rituals are of no value in Christian spirituality. What count is faith in Christ alone, working through love for God and love for others. Greek for hindered is “egkopto”, which means cutting into someone’s way in a race. Paul continued his rhetorical question. Who cuts into your way and prevented you from knowing the truth?
VV 9-12, 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
Leaven is symbolic of sin. A little sin somewhere will soon spread everywhere. Paul was confident the Galatians Christians would be able to break free from the false teachings and deceptions of the Judaizers. If Paul still preached on circumcision, why did he still suffer persecutions? The Jews persecuted Paul because he opposed circumcision and Jewish rituals.
VV 13-15, 13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
Grace is not a license to sin but freedom to serve Christ from gratitude for God and love for people. The ten commandments can be summarised into one, love God and love others. Christ’s new commandment is to love one another just as He had loved us.
Romans 6:1, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”
Matthew 22: 36-39, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ “.
John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another”.
Grace free you from legalism and work-righteousness. Grace enabled you to love God and others. You are saved by grace through faith in Christ and not by work.
Heavenly Father, help us to love You and to love others so that everyone will know that we are Your disciples. Thank You for Your grace, mercy, compassion, and faithfulness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.