By Curtis Pugh
By Curtis Pugh
Liberty is a great thing! Those who are deprived of it groan in misery. There is liberty for those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote an exhortation to the congregations scattered throughout the Roman province of Galatia, saying: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage,” (Galatians 5:1). Several important things should be noted that are taught in this verse.
First of all it is clear that there is a liberty for “us” - those who are in the same condition as Paul and the saints to whom he wrote. To whom did he write? He wrote to those who were alive spiritually: those who had been born again. Such a liberty exists! Second, it is also evident that this liberty is not something that man attains to, earns or somehow meets certain qualifications in order to enjoy. It was provided for God's children by none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, for He “hath made us free.” There is no “if'” about it! It is an accomplished fact!
However it is also clear from this verse that there is a danger to God's children. It is a danger of voluntarily giving up this wonderful blood-bought freedom provided by Christ. Because of this danger Paul exhorts his readers both positively and negatively. Positively, he wrote “stand fast.” Do not give up this freedom! Negatively, he instructs his readers not to be “entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” So then there is a very real danger – the danger of the yoke of slavery. Who would give up their liberty in exchange for slavery? Sad to say, but multitudes of professing Christians have done that very thing!
What is this “yoke of bondage”? What is this danger to God's children? The context of this verse shows that this yoke is the Old Testament Law of God. A few verses prior to this one in Galatians 4:21 Paul clearly states he is writing to people that “that desire to be under the law.” In Acts 15:9, Peter addressed those gathered in Jerusalem in conference about the matter of the law, saying, “why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” No one ever kept the law!
The Old Testament legal system, according to Jesus Christ, came to an end with the ministry of John the Baptist for He said, “The law and the prophets were until John...” (Luke 16:16). And Paul wrote in Romans 10:4 regarding personal righteousness saying, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” God said: “if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law,” (Galatians 3:21). But no law gives life! So, child of God, “stand fast” and “be not entangled again” in law keeping!
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726