• Galatians was written by the apostle Paul to churches that he had started to reach non-Jews.
• Some Jewish Christians told the non-Jewish believers that they had to follow all the Old Testament laws and Jewish traditions in order to be real Christians.
• This was causing a lot of confusion because Paul had told them that all they needed was faith in Christ alone for salvation.
• Paul made it clear that salvation is by FAITH in Christ and not through religious rituals. Rituals only have value of we FIRST have real faith.
• Once we come to real faith, we should remember the lessons learned from our past but not live in bondage to our past nor turn back to our past sinful ways.
• As we grow in Christ, we must learn to do things God’s way and in God’s time. When we kick doors open in our own strength, the result is always less than we had hoped it would be.
Verse 1 - Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.• Christ has liberated us from religious legalism.
• Christ has liberated us from the eternal punishment of hell.
• Christ has liberated us from bondage to sin.
• Let us each take a moment and consider what Christ has liberated us personally from.
• Christ has liberated us to FREEDOM.
• We are FREE to love others without carrying all the baggage of the past.
• We are FREE to love ourselves without all the guilt of the past.
• We are FREE to love the church without carrying baggage from any negative past religious experiences.
• We are FREE to love the world around us enough to try to make a positive difference.
• For us to experience the reality of our freedom in Christ, we must stand firm in our faith.
• The phrase “stand firm” literally means “a tenacious stand from which a person cannot be moved.”
• Too many times we let a little difficulty or hardship shake our faith.
• Though we may go through difficult times that challenge our faith, those are the very moments in which we must stand firm.
• If our faith is weak, we must trust God to help us stand firm.
• Romans 14:4 – The Lord is able to make us stand.
• Philippians 4:13 – I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
• Now that we are free, we should not submit to our old ways of thinking or acting any longer.
• The great evangelist D. L. Moody illustrated this point by quoting an old former slave woman in the South following the Civil War.
• Being a former slave, she was confused about her status and asked:
• Now is I free, or not? When I go to my old master he says I ain’t free, and when I go to my own people they say I is, and I don’t know whether I’m free or not. Some people told me that Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation, but master says he didn’t cuz he had no right to. So is I free or not?
• Just like this former slave woman, many Christians are confused on the issue of freedom.
• Jesus Christ gave us an “Emancipation Proclamation” and He had the right to do so because He paid for that right with His own blood.
• But our “old master” tells us we are still slaves and far too often we believe it.
• It is time to throw off the yoke of bondage and be free!
Verses 2-3 - Take note! I, Paul, tell you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all. Again I testify to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to keep the entire law.• Though circumcision was only one aspect of the Old Testament law, Paul used it as an illustration because it was graphic enough to get everyone’s attention.
• Paul points out that if the Galatians were going to try to achieve salvation through keeping the Old Testament law, they would have to follow the entire law, not just one part.
• The problem with seeking salvation through the law is that it is impossible to follow it all.
• If we cannot keep the entire law, then we are guilty as a law breaker (James 2:10) and if we are guilty then we have no hope of salvation.
• The very purpose of the law was to help us see our need for Christ (Romans 10:4) so that we would trust in Christ INSTEAD of the law.
Verse 4 - You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace.• If we choose to reject the grace of Christ, then all we have left is the law, which we will constantly fail at fulfilling.
• Therefore, we will constantly “fall” from grace if we are seeking to gain our salvation through the law.
• Sadly, many people are trying to keep themselves “saved” never really knowing if they have eternal life or not.
• That must be a very stressful way of living!
•The good news is that just as it is God’s job to call us to salvation to begin with (John 6:44), it is also God’s job to KEEP us saved.
• Jesus said in John 10:28-29 - I give them eternal life and they shall never perish - ever! No one will snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
• What a glorious promise from Christ that once we have eternal salvation, we cannot lose it.
• Some might say that if we cannot lose our salvation then we can live however we want.
• And they are right!!!!
• But if we are truly saved, we will want to live right before God.
• Though there will be times when Christians fail to live right, they will have an inner push from the Holy Spirit to get back to living rightly. And we will not be happy until we respond to that inner push.
• What about all the people who claim to be Christians but seem quite happy living sinful lives?
• Though only God is the judge and no one can know another person’s true relationship with God, the sad reality is that many people who claim to be Christians simply are not (Matthew 7:21-23).
• Real salvation involves making a commitment to turn from our way of living and to follow Christ’s teaching (repentance).
• Real salvation results in a person growing in their faith and over time overcoming their sinful behaviors as they become more like Christ (sanctification).
Verse 5 - For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.• We must live through the power of the Spirit while we wait for righteousness to be fully formed in us.
• Righteousness = rightness
• Righteousness is doing the right thing.
• At the present, we do not always do right. But if we are constantly being renewed by the Spirit, we will be moving the right direction.
• And when we occasionally mess up, it is nice not having to fear loosing our salvation. Christ has made us FREE from fear! (Romans 8:15)
Verse 6 - For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.• Whether we have kept every single point of the law or not really means little in our lives.
• Which is a relief since we KNOW we have NOT kept every single point of the law!
• What matters is that we have REAL faith and that our faith is demonstrated through real LOVE for others.
Verses 7-8 - You were running well. Who prevented you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from the One who called you.• The Galatians had been making great progress in their spiritual growth.
• Then all the talk about religious rituals and traditions got them sidetracked.
• Paul points out that the urge to pursue things that sidetrack us spiritually does NOT come from God.
Verse 13 - For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.• If we have trusted Christ as Savior, then our salvation is secure. Though some would use that security as an excuse to live worldly (fleshly) lives, Christ calls us to something better than that.
• Christ calls us to serve each other through love.
• Too often we want to be in charge or in control, but we are called to serve.
• Too often we serve out of duty or obligation, but we are called to serve out of love.
• Our freedom in Christ should move us to serve others out of a heart of love for God and all He has done for us.
Verse 14 - For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.• If we love others as much as we love ourselves, we will find ourselves keeping the “law” pretty well.
• Some people may argue that if we do NOT love ourselves enough, then we cannot love others much.
• While there may be some truth to that, most of us love ourselves quite adequately.
• Even people who portray themselves as having a low self esteem are often just “fishing” for complements.
• A person who is fishing for complements thinks so highly of himself that he considers it okay for everyone else to stop what they are doing and tell him how good he really is.
• If we love ourselves enough to think that others should stop what they are doing and tell us how good we really are, then perhaps we should portray that same love to others by stopping what WE are doing and telling THEM how great we think THEY are.
• Loving others as much as we love ourselves really would solve a lot of issues in our lives.
Conclusion:• Real Christians are freed from the past so they can live for Christ in the present.
• Though that freedom is sometimes abused, real Christians will not be able to continually abuse it because the Spirit will be drawing them back to the Father.
• We cannot find freedom through the law, or any other distraction. It is only found through Christ.
• Real freedom expresses itself through loving service to others.