Christ Died to Set us Free From Laws And Regulations

What is it I must forsake to follow Christ?” a young person asks. “Get rid of everything in your wardrobe that is not white. Stop sleeping on a soft pillow. Sell your musical instruments. Don’t wear jewelry. You cannot, if you are sincere about obeying Christ, take warm … More

Liberty

Christ died to set us free from sin and from a long list of laws and regulations. He came to set us free but not free to do whatever we want because that would lead us back into slavery to our selfish desires. Paul says to stand fast in our liberty in Christ (v. 1). He often tells believers to “stand fast” (firm) for the cause of Christ (1 Cor. 16:13, Phil. 1:27, 11 Thes. 2:15). The Judaizers had said that his doctrine of grace was dangerous and he was replacing law with license. They were saying the believers must practice circumcision. Paul says the surgery itself may be harmless but the manner in which these Judaizers were insisting upon substituting faith in Christ was a threat to Christianity (vv. 2-3).

Paul turns now from the doctrinal to the practical. Circumcision was a symbol of having the right background and doing everything required by religion. No amount of work discipline or moral behavior can save us. If a person was counting on finding favor with God he would have to obey the rest of God’s laws completely. The Christian who lives by faith is not going to become a rebel (vv. 4-6). Instead he is going to experience the inner discipline of God that is far better than the outer discipline of man-made rules.

Legalism is a dangerous enemy and when you abandon grace for law you always lose. Legalists want us to believe that we are missing something and try to tell us that we would be more spiritual if we practiced the law with its demands and disciplines. We get the idea that we will become a more spiritual person if we obey a set of rules. It is easy to become proud and feel that we are better than those who don’t live up to our set of standards.

Application

At times I find it easier to think of governing my life by rules and regulations rather than looking to the Word of God for direction each day. It is easy to become proud and think I have made great accomplishments rather than giving God the credit.

Galatians 5:1-6 (English Standard Version)

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

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