Free From The Yoke
The Beginning, Part 2
Galatians 5:1-6 (NKJV)
The big question of the day for the early disciples that was tied to legalism was what Christ did on the cross to set us free. The Apostle Paul made that clear as he begins his first sentence in Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
All of Paul’s arguments in the previous chapter were summed up in that one sentence. It was power-packed with strong words. Stand fast was a command. He was telling the new Christians in Galatia to hold their ground, as if a hurricane was coming. Another way of saying it would be hold on tight and don’t waiver from your initial commitment to receive Christ.
The command to stand fast that Paul gave to the churches was one that required a decision on their part. It required action. They would have to make a decision to call out the men who had infiltrated their churches trying to get them to add “doing” requirements to the Gospel message. In order to silence those voices, the Galatian Christians would need to stand up to the men and tell them they were wrong.
It would not be an easy task.
I think that’s why Paul reminded them they were fighting for their own “liberty” and they WOULD have decide to fight.
Even though Christ had already won the war to set them free, Paul knew they still have to receive their freedom. God does not force us to receive Him. God offers and waits for our response. Every day God offers and waits for our response to receive what He has for us.
It was Christ who made us free when He died on the cross. He conquered death by His resurrection and He offers us the same. WE have to decide to receive it.
Paul knew it would not be easy for the Galatians. It seems like he knew they would have to fight and continue fighting because he reminded them not to “be entangled” or get caught up in the daily struggle “of bondage”.
Don’t be entangled.
We are no different. The means by which we struggle doesn’t look the same, but we can easily be entangled by thinking we need to be good enough to make it to heaven. Because we live in a DOing culture we tend to think there are things we must DO so that we will be worthy.
Paul reminds us that is a lie.
Our salvation is a free gift paid for by Jesus.
Our “yoke of bondage” won’t look quite the same as it did to the Galatian believers, but we can get just as caught up in it as they did.
See, the yoke is the heavy piece of wood a farmer puts on his oxen so they can carry more weight because it is evenly distributed and it forces the two oxen (or other animals) to work together.
Paul was telling them NOT to allow the yoke to be put back on them because they have been set free. Often we struggle daily to let go of our sins. Paul says to us, stand fast. Don’t let your sin bind you. Do not put the yoke back on.
Christ died so you will be free...every day and forever.
In Galatians 5:2-6 Paul uses being circumcised as an example. He is telling the Gentiles they do not have to be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul writes, “Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”
Paul takes it to the limit by telling them if they do get circumcised they will be under the whole law (Galatians 5:2-6). He even says they will have fallen from grace. He urges them instead to receive faith through Christ’s love.
For sure, Paul was not one to mince words. He definitely ‘cuts to the chase’.
Paul knew that there would be disagreements with other disciples because of his strong words (and there were) but he spoke them unreservedly with boldness.
‘Go bold or go home’ would be Paul’s motto if he were alive today. You’ve been set free...don’t go back on the deal. Boldly receive forgiveness and move on. That’s the character of the God we serve.
After all, Jesus has...
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Stand Fast
FIGHT the urge to rehash old sins that have already been forgiven. Receive Liberty and live like a free man/woman. And, whatever you do, DO NOT look back. Look ahead. Look to the face of Jesus.
In God, Deborah