Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. Galatians5:1-4
We are free in Christ! What are we free from? We are free from the wrath and anger of God for our sins. For Christ has set us free. We are free from the bondage to live in sin with no way of stopping, for Christ has set us free. We are free from the accusations and lies of the devil, for Christ has set us free. We are free from living a life only doing what our sinful flesh desires, for Christ has set us free!
Above all, Christ has set us free from a system of righteousness which is based upon our own performance. This system of being made right with God by keeping His laws and by trying to do good is the yoke of bondage Paul is referring to hear in Galatians 5:2. The devil’s favorite religion is that religion which says that it’s adherents must work and do in order to obtain God’s love and favor. Wherever you see a false religion, you see satan standing behind it preaching the lies of a works based system of righteousness.
The liberty by which Christ has made us free is to be upheld. It something the believer needs to stand fast in. Christian freedom is something of utmost importance. It is not something we are to passively practice. We must stand fast, stand strong and stand forcibly on the hill of our righteousness which comes by faith in Jesus Christ!
When I played football, we had a fun game we played called king of the hill. One person would stand at the top and one by one someone would run up the hill and try to throw the king off the hill. The king would stand his ground and as newcomers would run toward him, he would hit them and send them tumbling back down the hill. The king of all truths is that of righteousness by faith. This is the truth that we must use to attack and cast down any false righteousness that would try to come and take down the king.
When we are born again, it’s as if we are not standing upon the hill of righteousness by faith. As we stand here and the months and years go on, the weeds and thorns of the bondage of the law start creeping up this hill. These weeds of being made right with God by keeping the law and doing right want to come to entangle and ensnare us to pull us down off of the place of the hill of righteousness by faith. These weeds of the yoke of bondage of being make right with God by works, would love to bring us down off the hill and keep us bound in the valley completely cut off from God.
“Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.”
Circumcision to the Jews of Paul’s day was something that one had to do in order to be right with God. They did not believe that anyone could be saved without circumcision. There were a group of Jewish people who even believed that Jesus was the messiah. They were called the Judaizers. They were saying that faith in Jesus was needed. But on top of that, a person must also be circumcised in order to be saved and have their sins forgiven.
After the churches in Galatia had received the gospel that is based on faith alone in Christ alone, these false apostles had come and said, yes now in addition to what Paul told you, you must also be circumcised. In our day we do not deal with this issue really. But there are other weeds we deal with that would come and want to steal our liberty that is found in Christ.
How can Christ profit nothing to us? It is when we stop looking to Him for our righteousness and start to look to works that we do or do not do to make us right with God! If we start to believe that our prayer life helps to save us, Christ will profit us nothing. If we believe that in addition to faith in Christ, we must go on an oversea’s mission trip, Christ will profit us nothing. If we believe that because we do not get a tattoo and never touch alcohol, that it helps to save us, Christ will profit us nothing. If we believe that regularly attending church and giving our tithes earns for us God’s favor and makes up for the sins we commit, then Christ will profit us nothing!
It’s either all of Christ or none of Christ! Either we fully trust in what Christ did alone adding nothing to it for our salvation, or we are fully trusting in doing religious works for our salvation. It is one or the other. If you say both, then you are no longer trusting in Christ alone!
“And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.” 5:3
If you believe even one small law or ritual plays a part in you being made right with God, then you are obligated to now keep every single one of God’s laws. If the system of our righteousness is going to come through the law, then we must keep all of the law all of the time. In Paul’s day, if a man becomes circumcised to be made right with God, he must also keep the whole law to be made right with God. So in our day if a person does anything, fill in the blank______________, to be made right with God, he must now keep all of God’s laws to made right with God.
Paul is addressing the church in this letter. He writes to the churches in Galatia. He is writing to believers. He is writing to ones who at one time were standing on that hill of righteousness by faith. But many have now turned aside and turned away from the grace of God in order to be tangled up once again with a false gospel.
He says, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” The amplified says, If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from God’s gracious favor and unmerited blessing).
Good works done joyfully and willingly are proofs of our salvation, but they are never causes of our salvation. Let us continue to see that we are justified soley by faith. Our righteousness starts, maintains, and ends with faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us stand firm in the freedom that comes through simple faith in Jesus.
“If you hold to the truth that Christ died for the ungodly, and believe it, your faith will save you, and you may go in peace. If you will trust your soul with Jesus, who died for the ungodly, even though you cannot believe all things, nor move mountains, nor do any other wonderful works, yet you are saved. It is not great faith, but true faith, that saves; and the salvation lies not in the faith, but in the Christ in whom faith trusts. Faith as a grain of mustard seed will bring salvation. It is not the measure of faith, but the sincerity of faith, which is the point to be considered. Surely a man can believe what he knows to be true; and as you know Jesus to be true, you, my friend, can believe in Him.” Charles Spurgeon