A study of Paul’s letter to the GALATIANS (Lesson 8) Pastor Barry Bruce The Gathering
Freedom In Christ Galatians 5:1-12, John 3:3, 16-18, Romans 10:9-13
Paul begins chapter five with a two line zinger of a quote! Let us not zip over it and neglect its depth! Take it in Christian, and if you are an American citizen then take it in double!
“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”.The Apostle, Paul (Galatians 5:1)
In line one Paul states that human kind was “set free” by Jesus Christ from our slavery to the Devil and to the sin by which he chained us. If you have come to receive Christ according to the precepts of God’s word then you are free to live in the liberty that He granted to you by His blood. His blood purchases the sinner from sin, death, the Devil and eternal damnation. It is not by works that one purchases spiritual freedom. It is Jesus alone who sets the captive free. If you reject Him then you remain bound to “your father, the Devil”(John 8:43-45) and you are bound to sin and eternal damnation. You alone will pay the price for your own sin, but none but Christ can be credited for spiritual freedom. It is a gift from Jesus Christ if you will own it.
In the second line Paul tells the Galatian Christians to “stand firm” in that freedom. If Jesus has gone through all the blood, sweat and tears to free us from the Devil’s ownership then why would we go back and become his slave once again? We must “stand firm” in the freedom that is ours by following the instruction of the one who set us free! We must not “yoke”(connect) ourselves to anything apart from Christ for that is like chaining ourselves to a slave who is bound to the Devil.
The problem with the Galatians is that they were weak kneed— not “standing firm” in what Jesus taught. They were not holding to the teachings of the one who sacrificed His life for their freedom. They were connecting (yoking) themselves to the false teaching of the Judaizers. They were circumcising themselves into a ritual of bondage. They were loosing the freedom that Christ had purchased for them just to fit into the mainstream. Paul warned them of their peril. They were taking bold steps into darkness and alienating themselves from Christ. They were loosing the race (Galatians 5:7—1 Corinthians 9:24-25), the sin of the Judaizers , like yeast, was working through the whole of them (whole batch of dough).
Paul acknowledged the fact that he was being persecuted because he was coming against the act of circumcision (popular opinion) and preaching only the cross of Christ (faith in Jesus). Paul concludes his statements harshly by wishing that those who were stirring up such trouble among the weak kneed believers (agitators) would not only be circumcised but completely be cut off (emasculated/ castrated). In other words, he wished that they would never have the opportunity to have children.
America in Chains 2 Chronicles 7:14, Proverbs 14:34
Earlier I said, “take it in Christian (Paul’s quote), and if you are an American citizen then take it in double”. I said this because Americans have a double illustration of freedom by blood. An elementary history lesson should remind any American that our government was formed by founding fathers, leaders and patriots who paid dearly for the freedoms we now live in. Most of those who squawk and clamor against the Christian morality on which this nation was founded worship only themselves. Those who protest our government by burning our flag never ran with it in battle or fought for freedom on foreign shores. Those who seek to rewrite our Constitution as a “living document” would have never earned a seat among those real patriots who penned it and who risked everything to insure a solid government for their posterity. If you live in freedom as an American citizen, according to the precepts of its Constitution, then that liberty has been granted to you by the blood of patriots. It is by their works that your freedom has been purchased. Americans must “stand firm” in the freedom that is ours by following the instruction of the ones who set us free! The problem with America is that there are too many weak kneed people — making noise but not “standing firm.” Americans, like the Galatians, move towards slavery as they move from God:
“Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants”. Benjamin Franklin
It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here. Patrick Henry
If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin. Samuel Adams
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. Abraham Lincoln
Responsibility Galatians 5:13-26, Luke 12:47-48
Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” Freedom is certainly “much!” Paul encourages Christians to both “Stand Firm” and to set an example with our freedom through our conduct. The world is watching America just as the neighborhood is watching the “Christian.” As William J. Thoms (British Writer) said, “Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.” What do people see on the pages of your life–the love and freedom of Christ or the bite and chains of strife?
If we will walk by the Spirit (Holy Spirit: standing firm in Christ) we will not gratify the desires of our flesh (selfishness). As we live in the Spirit we will bear the fruits (Characteristics) of God. Let us keep in step with Christ, standing firm, for our Freedom and hope is in Him.