Monday, August 9, 2021
Our study of the book of Galatians moves from the doctrinal to the practical as we come to chapter five. Most of us prefer teaching that is practical, but without foundational truth known as doctrine, the practical can become nothing more than opinion influenced by wishes. Paul used the first four chapters of his letter to the Galatian churches teaching the foundational truth that salvation from sin is not earned by our works or worth, but is granted to us by grace through faith in the work and worth of Jesus Christ. Now he begins to teach us what difference it makes for our lives. He begins this way:
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Here’s the simple truth that stumps so many people and holds them captive: since I have zero responsibility or ability to earn my salvation, I also have zero opportunity or ability to keep myself saved or to improve my standing with God. I have been declared righteous by God through faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross, and since the work is finished, there is nothing more for me to do.
Please take some time to meditate on this truth. It is essential to understand it and believe it if you are going to be free from the bondage of self-condemnation caused by failure to measure up to standards imposed on you by others or by your own religious goals. Jesus Christ died to satisfy the requirements of the law on our behalf and to eradicate the condemnation that justly applies to all who fail to keep the law. Here’s how Paul says it in Romans and in Colossians.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Colossians 2:13-15
Jesus Christ died to set us free from the condemnation of the law. So live like you’re free. Don’t enslave yourself again to the demands of the law. Jesus expects you to live like your free because you are.