Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Galatians 5:1-15

This is an interesting reading today. In verse 1, Paul states that Christian freedom is the right and privilege of every believer. Paul indicates that Christ died to set us free from sin and from a long list of laws and regulations - Christ died to set us free from slavery to the law. Paul urges us not to return to the law as to gain salvation from following the law one would have to follow it perfectly (and of course this is impossible as we are all human and subject to human flaws).

In verses 2 through 12, as I see it, Paul states six negative consequences for those who return to the law for salvation. The first is it invalidates Christ's work on the cross, "Christ will have no value to you."

The second negative consequence of returning to the law is obligation. Once a person submits to one part of the law (e.g., circumcision), that person is, "obligated to obey the whole law."

Third, it removes a person from the sphere of grace. A person trying to obtain salvation by deeds can never be sure if he or she has done enough. The Christian is secure because of the faith he or she has in Christ.

Fourth, it hinders spiritual growth. For this point Paul uses two metaphors - a race and yeast in dough. Both indicating it is easy to be taken off course when one try's to earn salvation.

Fifth, it removes the "offense of the cross". Persecution proved that Paul was preaching the true gospel. If he had taught what false teachers were teaching no one would be offended. Jesus said do not be surprised if the world hates you because it hated Him. Just as Paul continued to faithfully proclaim the gospel, we should continue doing the ministry God has given us to do in spite of obstacles others may put in our way.

The sixth and final consequence of turning to the law is anger. Paul shows his anger in verse 12.

In the final three verses of today's reading, Paul distinguishes between freedom to sin and freedom to serve. Freedom, or license, to sin is no freedom at all because it bonds us to Satan. Christians should not be slaves to sin because we are free to do right and to glorify God through loving service to others.

Wishing you the best in your walk with Christ,
Richard Leach

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