Galatians Part 30 - Galatians 5:1-6

Chapter 5. vs. 1-6. 1. The conjunctive adverb, “therefore,” ties this concluding order with what has been previously expressed. v. 1. A. In their Gentile superstitions before conversion, they were in bondage to weak and beggarly elements of the world even as others (GAL 4:3, 9) and a reversion to that bondage implied the preeminence of self over a Savior who died in vain. GAL 2:21. B. The children of promise are so through Christ, not the Law Covenant from Sinai which accorded with bondage. GAL 3:29. C. Per Chapter 4, Hagar was a bondwoman, Ishmael the product of bondage to the flesh rather than God’s promise, the law from Sinai genders to bondage, earthly Jerusalem is in bondage, and all bondage is cast away like Hagar and Ishmael in Christ. Exchanging Gentile bondage for Jewish bondage does nothing to help God justify sinners nor relieve the soul of foolish burdens. D. entangle: trans. To involve, impede, cause to stick fast in coils, network, or anything ‘tangled’ or interlaced. Hence in wider sense: To involve in surroundings that impede movement, or from which extrication is difficult. (1) The image of being stuck fast in coils is interesting, as the coils of a serpent. (2) Such is the way of serpentine religion: easy to get drawn into but not so easy to get free of, and regret is a sad substitute for prudence. PRO 5:7-13. E. A lack of appreciation and understanding of how much the Son has set us free from is at the root of much disobedience and of bondage that is falsely called liberty. 2PE 2:18-19. (1) “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (J.W. Von Goethe) Galatians 1-1-17 Page 53 (2) Consider the Jews who trusted to Abrahamic descent. JOH 8:33-35. (3) Conversely, there is also unnecessary bondage of the soul produced by an ignorance of the truth of liberty. ROM 10:3. F. Adding anything to Christ’s work for justification reduces the power of His cross-work and His bodily resurrection as a point of doctrinal truth. ROM 4:25. G. Men’s additions and traditions cannot make us free, only bound. But “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (JOH 8:36): free of sin’s penalty, of sin’s pollutions, of sin’s power, of impossible burdens, of unnecessary burdens, of delusions, of ignorance, of bad doctrine, of fear, of doubt, and one day free of sin’s possibility or presence. H. The imperative, “Stand fast...” is not a suggestion, and it may be observed that those who are not thus stable are likely to be drawn away by deceptions and lose their proof of reconciliation to God. COL 1:21-23 c/w 2PE 3:17. I. Saints who stand fast in the Lord are life to His minister. 1TH 3:8. 2. In vs. 2-3, Paul is not implying that the action of outward circumcision negates the power and will of God in Christ in the justification of sinners. A. Such would be as foolish a conclusion as holding that fleshly circumcision has necessary justifying power, contrary to the theme of this epistle and the apostolic declaration on the matter in ACT 15:1, 6-11. B. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything in this matter. GAL 6:15. C. At issue is what one trusts to for justification and righteousness: the power and will of God in Christ or the false power of the sinner’s will which is free from righteousness (ROM 6:20), not to it. D. At the risk of sounding repetitious, Paul testifies again to the vanity of law-works justification by circumcision. v. 3. (1) This an appeal similar to GAL 4:21, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” (2) Circumcision only profits law-keepers, not law-breakers (ROM 2:25), which implies flawless obedience for it to be of any value for justification. (3) Further, their newfound ministers who touted justification by circumcision didn’t keep the law. GAL 6:13. (4) If anything, the doctrine of justification by an ordinance lends to rationalization of disobedience since it is assumed that the ordinance is a saving charm which cures all sin-ills. E. “...that he is a debtor...” (v. 3). And debt is bondage (PRO 22:7), not liberty. F. It is a sad observation of human nature that it often prefers bondage to liberty, even when God by mighty power liberates. NEH 9:17. 3. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (v. 4). A. Obviously, none were actually justified by law-works. GAL 2:16; ROM 3:20. B. Their acceptance, though, of the doctrine of law-works justification had logically displaced Christ and grace from their foundations in establishing the soul. (1) NOTE: adding anything to Christ for justification is a denial of what the Spirit has declared concerning Him Whose obedience ALONE makes men righteous. ROM 5:19. (2) Again, such doctrine is not grace but a frustration of grace. GAL 2:21. C. They had fallen from grace, failed of the grace of God (HEB 12:15), not that they had lost all the salvation which grace guarantees to the redeemed but rather had fallen away from Galatians 1-1-17 Page 54 the directive influence that the doctrine of grace gives believers. (1) Grace strips us of boasting/glorying. EPH 2:8-9; 1CO 1:30-31. (2) Grace opens the eyes to the futility of fruitless works. HEB 9:14. (3) Grace represents relief to the chief of sinners. 1TI 1:14-15. (4) Grace teaches godliness (TIT 2:11-12) whereas ordinance-salvation excuses it. (5) Grace equalizes men (ROM 3:9, 29-30; ACT 15:9-11) whereas Judaizing exalts one class over the other. (6) Grace looks to a provided righteousness that cures (2CO 5:21; PHIL 3:9) whereas law looks to an earned righteousness that curses. GAL 3:10. (7) Grace establishes the heart (HEB 13:9) whereas law casts a veil upon the heart. 2CO 3:14-15. 4. “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith” (v. 5). A. This patient expectation is not produced by the flesh or law. GAL 4:29; 5:17-18. B. It is not that believers have no current proof of righteousness since righteousness is imputed to believers. ROM 4:5-8. C. Christ provided our righteousness (ROM 5:19; 2CO 5:21); faith in Him having done so carries with it the hope of glory, of eternal life. COL 1:5; 1PE 1:3. D. This hope anticipates full righteousness without alloy at His coming: the crown of righteousness. 1JO 3:2-3; 2TI 4:7-8. E. This is a hope which law-works justification could never produce. 5. “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (v. 6). A. avail: intr. To have force or efficacy for the accomplishment of a purpose; to be effectual, serviceable, or of use; to afford help. B. There is no advantage or preference in the church in this regard. Therefore, circumcision should not be insisted upon nor should uncircumcision be insisted upon. 1CO 7:17-20. C. What is truly serviceable in Christ is faith which works by love and the keeping of God’s commandments. 1JO 2:3-5. (1) True faith will produce corresponding good works out of love for God and brethren. JAM 2:5-8, 14-18. (2) This would counter the tensions which false teaching and fleshly thinking were producing in them. GAL 5:13-16. 6. vs. 5-6 exalt faith, hope and love. c/w 1CO 13:13. Galatians 1-1-17 Page 55

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