1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Paul emphatically proclaims that all who’s faith and trust is in Jesus alone for salvation are free. Jesus has freed us! But what has he freed us from and how has he done it? First, by humbly becoming human and living a life of perfect obedience to God’s Law, Jesus has freed us from the anxiety of never being good enough. He has given us his righteousness. Secondly, by willingly offering himself up on a cross and absorbing the wrath of God, Jesus has freed us from the fear of condemnation. There is no condemnation for us because he was condemned in our place. Third, by victoriously resurrecting to eternal life and ascending to heaven as our Advocate, Jesus has freed us from being nervous about the future. Through the power of his resurrection, he has promised to one day come back for us, give us resurrected bodies, and live with us in endless joy forever. Next, Paul charges us to “stand firm” and to not “submit” to the many threats of our freedom, which will bring us again into “slavery.” We are to help one another believe and think like we are free, because in Christ we are. We don’t need to try and achieve our salvation through our works because Jesus’ work is already totally sufficient to save us. Finally, we are to use our freedom to love and serve one another, rather than as an excuse to sin. We have been set free to live free. And true freedom is to be used to love God and love people.
1. Was there anything from the sermon, big idea, or Galatians 5:1-15 that stood out to you, challenged you, or confused you?
2. Have you ever come close to losing (or lost) your gospel freedom? How did this happen? What lessons can you learn from it?
3. Have you ever used your gospel freedom as an excuse to sin? How do verses 13-15 help us see the proper use of our freedom?
4. In what situations do you find it hard to love others? How does the gospel free us to love God and love others, do you think? How does the gospel motivate us to love God and others, do you think?
5. How can you make sure you meditate on your freedom Jesus has given you and the future hope we have with him? What practical steps will you take?
In Christ there needs be no more “am I being good enough?” anxiety; no more “how am I ever going to get right with God?” fear; no more “what’s going to happen to me when I die?” nervousness. Jesus has already freed us from our vilest enemies and secured our greatest good. Joy to us. Glory to Jesus!