PASTOR DON'S CHRISTIAN ED NOTES
Finding the Pursuit of Righteousness a Delight Rather than a Chore
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Sunday, January 31, 2010 -

Galatians 5:1-7 - “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.”

Verse 1 forms the theme of this whole study. Paul is going to be talking about freedom in holiness rather than bondage to a barren religious system (in keeping with his Hagar and Sarah illustration from chapter 4).

1) HOW PROFESSING CHRISTIANS CAN WEAR THE YOKE OF BONDAGE WHEN THEY THINK THEY ARE PUTTING ON THE YOKE OF JESUS CHRIST

Galatians 5:2-4 - “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.”

In this whole passage circumcision represents more than an outward physical act. In itself circumcision is actually a non-issue - verse 6 - “....For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything....”But it is a symbol of an entire religious system that has its roots in establishing the soul before God by works rather than His own gracious promise and provision.

2) A PRACTICAL DESCRIPTION OF RELIGIOUS BONDAGE FOR GENTILE CHRISTIANS IN 2010

Galatians 5:3 - “I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.”

The key to understanding religious bondage is found in that phrase “.... that he is obligated to keep the whole Law.” Literally that phrase reads, “....that he is a debtor to keep the whole Law.” This is debtor religion. There is no delight to being in debt. And (more to Paul’s point) there is no freedom. That picture of being in debt is the best picture of the opposite of freedom. This is what made Paul so angry with these Jewish false teachers. He saw these precious converts in Galatia right on the edge of entering into a debtor’s mind set that would take the freedom and joy out of their lives as surely as a mountain of financial debt.

3) HOW TO FIND DELIGHT IN OBEYING THE TRUTH

Galatians 5:5-7 - “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?”

Starting with verse 7, notice that devoting yourself to the Law of God doesn’t produce genuine holiness. You would think it would, but Paul says it is not so - “....who hindered you from obeying the truth?” This establishes everything we’ve been studying so far. The debtor’s spirituality can never produce freedom and life and holiness. Like Hagar’s offspring, it can only generate slavery.

Now look at verses 5-6. Notice that when the Holy Spirit is at work in the Christian’s life, faith will be productive. Verse 6 describes a working faith - “....faith working through love.” But love for God becomes the fuel for holiness rather than paying off a debt to God by works obligated by law. This is what walking in the Spirit, as we will study, is all about.