5:1-15 The Gospel Of Grace Frees Us For Freedom
Memory Verse: Galatians 5:1
5:1 Freed For Freedom, Therefore Be Free
- 5:1a Paul sums up the truth and ending his arguments for chapters three and four. Paul’s summary about the gospel of grace can be seen in one word: freedom. Jesus made us free. He has completely liberated us from any bondage, curse or punishment. Therefore, we should “stand fast” in this truth, in this liberty. He made us free to be free. He wants us to live in this freedom. We are to maintain our position of freedom and not loose it. We can never loose our salvation, but when we start to believe we have to add works on to it, we return to living in fear, not freedom. When Jesus freed us he gave us: (1) A clean conscience—knowing that no matter what I do, He loves me and will forgive me. (2) A new motivation—we obey God out of love and gratitude, not trying to earn our salvation.
- 5:1b Paul warns us not to be entangle again—(before they were slaves to idols and false gods) with the yoke of bondage—(now in danger of being slaves to the law), because when we do we aren’t living in the freedom that Jesus gave us. Jesus didn’t set us free from the jail cell just so that we could go back and live in it—He freed us to leave it and never return. For freedom Jesus freed us, therefore let’s be free.
5:2-6 Fallen From Grace Or Saved By Grace?
- 5:2 Paul again states his case: there is only one real gospel. He is pivoting grace verses the law and makes it very clear that you can only choose one. When he says, “If ye be circumcised,” he means that if you are trusting in this part of the law (circumcision) to save you then Christ doesn’t profit you anything. We can never add anything to Jesus. If we do, then we can’t be saved. If you are believing in Jesus plus your works to save you, then Jesus won’t save you. If you believe in Jesus plus other idols and false gods to save you, then Jesus will not save you. On the other hand, if you trust in Jesus alone to save you, then Jesus will save you. It is all Jesus (100%) or no Jesus (0%).
- 5:3 Paul wants to be clear: if you are trusting in any part of the law to save you (every man that is circumcised) then you have to trust in all of the law (debtor to do the whole law). You can’t pick and choose. The law can’t be customized for each person. You keep all of the law or you have failed all of the law. You are completely righteous (100% good) because you never broke one part of the law or you are slain by the law because being guilty of one part means you are guilty by all (100% bad).
- 5:4 If a person chooses not to wholly trust in Jesus alone for his salvation (justification) but also trusts in the law (idols, or anything else) for him then everything he has learned about Jesus is useless. It means he is an unbeliever. He has “fallen from grace”—meaning he heard the gospel of grace and even added Jesus as part of his own way of salvation, but because he refuse to really trust in Him alone, Jesus didn’t save him. Believers on the other hand are “saved by grace” and will never turn away from it.
1 John 2:19; Ephesians 2:8-9
- 5:5-6a Real believers trust in Jesus alone for their justification (salvation). Through the Holy Spirit we are waiting for the hope—(total assurance) of “righteousness by faith” not “righteousness by faith and law.” In the end, the only thing that matters is if you have faith in Jesus alone. It doesn’t matter how much you kept the law or broke the law (circumcision or uncircumcision) it just matters if you are trusting in Jesus alone. Are you?
- 5:6b Real faith produces love. The response to God’s goodness, grace and hope is love. Love uses freedom to love not sin. Sin is the opposite of loving God and loving others. Therefore, this answers the question: “Is freedom a permit to sin?” Of course not, because this freedom is only obtained through faith—which worketh by love.
5:7-12 The Galatians Are Bruised But Not Beaten
- 5:7-8 The Galatians were running well, but someone hindered them, so that they turned from the true gospel and started obeying false doctrine. They were moved from trusting idols, to trusting Christ, and now are being told by false teachers to trust in the law. This kind of teaching did not come from God—the one who called them unto salvation.
- 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump—a common saying meaning there is only two sides—no middle ground. Adding works to faith in Jesus for salvation corrupts the whole thing and is not salvation at all. Salvation is all of grace or not of grace at all.
- 5:10a Paul seems to have no doubt they will continue in the true gospel that was originally preached to them. He has confidence in them through the Lord, that they will be “none otherwise minded”—meaning that after they hear this truth again they won’t let these false teachers change their mind.
- 5:10b, 12 Paul doesn’t know who these false teachers are, but he is also confident that these false teachers will be judged. He also wished these false teachers were cut off.
- 5:11 Paul clears his name (as if the false teachers we claiming he was teaching the same thing they were) that it isn’t he who is preaching this false gospel. Paul is persecuted because he preaches the gospel of grace and makes the case if he preached circumcision, why does he suffer persecution? The cross is offensive and that is what brings persecution and that is why Paul is being persecuted. If he didn’t preach the cross (gospel of grace) then the offensive part would cease and he wouldn’t be persecuted.
5:13-15 Freed For Freedom, But Don’t Abuse It
- 5:13-14 God has called all believers unto liberty. But we are not to use this liberty for an occasion to the flesh—to sin, but by love serve one another. The gospel frees from obeying the law for our salvation, but also frees us to obey the law out of love. The law of the believer is this “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” The believer’s motivation shouldn’t be “to sin” but “to obey”—not to gain salvation but to show forth love.
- 5:15 If they abused their freedom to “bite and devour one another” then they need to realize that they will be “consumed one of another.”
- What are believers liberated from?
- What does Paul want us to stand firm in?
- What does it mean to be fallen from grace and saved by grace?
- What was the problem of the Galatians churches?
- What is the danger in loosing and abusing our freedom in Christ?