Galatians 5 – Called to Liberty

Jesus came to set us free. In John 8 Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free… So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (v. 33, 36). As we begin Galatians 5, we’ll see this same theme. Let’s look at five questions as we go through this chapter.

Are You Standing?

“For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery” (v. 1). Paul goes on to say that it makes no difference if a person is circumcised or not. His point being that works do not get us to Heaven. Are you standing in Christ and His finished work on the cross or are you trusting in your own good works? Paul is telling them not to focus on being moral, religious, spiritual, or good. Focus on Jesus because the closer you get to Him, He makes you spiritual, moral, and good. He changes you. It’s not about you being good. It’s about Him being good. It’s not about you pleasing God. It’s about Him pleasing God. It’s not about what you can do. It’s about what He can do through and in you. Stand firm in what He’s already accomplished! Stand on the words of Jesus – “It is finished.”

Are You Falling?

“You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace” (v. 4). Falling from grace does not mean you lose your salvation. Hell is not mentioned in this context. It means they went back to the law. It means they have substituted regulations for a relationship. Alienated means to become distant. The Bible warns us of the danger of backsliding. It speaks of backsliding, being lukewarm, and losing your first love. It is possible for a believer to turn back. We have all heard stories and know of people who quit. The Christian life is pictured here as running a race. One day you will die and cross the finish line. Make sure you finish well.

Are You Running?

Paul tells the Galatians, “You were running well. Who prevented you from being persuaded regarding the truth?” (v. 7). We’ve all seen Christians who get off course on doctrine. That’s what’s happened here. Someone cut in on them and cut them off. Someone hindered their progress. Maybe you were running well but something happened. Maybe you believed a false teaching. Maybe someone disappointed you or other professing Christians turned you off. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus not other people! People will let us down. False teachers will come and teach things contradictory to what the Bible says. That’s why it’s so important that we know the truth!

Are You Serving?

In verse 13, Paul says we are to use our freedom to serve one another through love. We don’t want to do anything that would hurt others or hinder the work of God. We want to help others and honor the work of God. Don’t use your freedom to sin, but use your freedom to serve. Think about it – This is how you have a good marriage. This is how you have good relationships. Joy is not found in others serving you, but in you serving others. Love motivates us to serve. Are you serving others or yourself?

Are You Walking?

Paul concludes this section reminding them to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh (v. 16-17). The struggle is real! In Romans 7, Paul says, “I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate… For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do… What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (v.15-24). There is only one person who put death in its place!  You don’t have an alcohol, drug, addiction, gossip, pride, pornography, lust, jealousy, selfishness problem, you have a Jesus problem. We need Jesus! Being right with God is not about trying harder but in trusting Jesus. Are you walking in the Spirit or trying to do things on your own?