Friday, 13 May 2016
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
Paul begins chapter 5 with a summary thought concerning the allegory he used concerning the law and grace. The words, “Stand fast therefore” are an appeal to not be consumed by the false teachings of the Judaizers, but to adhere solely to the grace of Christ who has freed us from the law. They believed in Him, they were sealed with the Spirit because of their belief and without regard to deeds of the law, and he was imploring them to stand fast “in the liberty by which Christ has made us free.”
He uses the term “us” to show that he (and all Jews who had come to Christ) had been freed from the bondage of the law. The Gentiles, who never had the law, went straight from not having it to the more exalted status of being bestowed the grace of Christ. Together, both Jew and Gentile were granted a state of liberty because of His work.
As a heartfelt petition, he finishes the verse with, “…and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” The Gentiles were never under the law, but they were not without law. Paul discusses this in Romans. Despite not having the Law of Moses, they still had conscience, a law all its own, to show them that they were in bondage to sin. The Law of Moses increased sin, it highlighted sin, and it showed how utterly sinful sin is. In this, it brought an even greater yoke of bondage upon those under it.
Instead of going to a law which did this, he has petitioned them to “not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” In Christ, they were freed from sin’s penalty, and through sanctification they would be ever more freed from sin’s power. In going back to the law, sin would again gain power over them. The Holy Spirit will not work through those who stand contrary to the finished work of Christ.
Life application: The Holy Spirit is the One who testifies of the work of Christ. As Christ fulfilled (and thus annulled) the law, then those who desire to be under the law and follow its precepts, will not receive the power of the Spirit for sanctification. If they have never come to Christ in the first place, they have not even been freed from sin’s penalty. For them, there is no justification before God and no imputed righteousness from Christ.
Lord God, it is evident that every type and shadow of the Old Testament finds its fulfillment in Christ. As this is so, then why would anyone want to go back under what was merely anticipating the glory to come through Him? Help us to never be so foolish as to think that we can draw nearer to You through observances which were fulfilled in Jesus! Instead, we will rest in His finished work. And a sweet rest it is indeed! Amen.