A. Beware of the “yoke of bondage”!
1. Paul exhorts the Galatians to “stand fast” in the liberty by which Christ Jesus has made us free. Think of Hebrews 10 in this context. Only His sufficient sacrifice can clear the defiled conscience of sin and bondage. Only the Eternal High Priest can mediate perfect satisfaction before the Father, removing the veil that is our fallen flesh, giving us boldness to come into the Presence beyond that veil. Only the indwelling Spirit, Whose ministry is to fix our eyes on our sufficient Jesus, can maintain that Liberty!!! “And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty! (II Cor. 3:17)
2. Vs 2 Note the strength of Paul’s statement. “If you become circumcised, Christ will profit you NOTHING!!! As William Romaine said, “add anything to Christ Jesus and you unChrist Him!!!” What is “circumcision” today? What are the “external marks” that Christians put upon themselves and others to “verify” their Christianity? What do you add to your Lord Jesus Christ to feel better?
3. Vs 3-4 The only thing added to us by adding something to Jesus Christ is the added burden of the whole law, an insufferable yoke of bondage. To detract from the total sufficiency of Christ is to detract from Christ Jesus’ complete satisfaction of God’s Righteous requirements and to fall out of the flow of grace toward unworthy sinners through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is therefore, to be on our own in the Presence of the Just and Holy God! Being alone is not "recommended", in fact, it is eternally fatal! Remember, “Without Me you can do NOTHING.” John 15:5 To add anything to Christ is WORSE THAN NOTHING!!!
4. Vs 5-6 We wait for the hope of righteousness through the Spirit. We don’t try to manufacture it. If we are in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision or its modern replacements nor any lack of circumcision will profit us anything. The only thing that avails us, profits us, is ‘FAITH WORKING THROUGH LOVE.” Remember, the Just shall live by faith!!!
a. Galatians 6:15 Paul ends this letter with a nearly identical verse that says the same thing in a different way. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, BUT A NEW CREATION.” The new creations’ live by faith!!!
B. What does this “Faith Working through (or by) Love” look like?
1. Beware of the flesh!!! Vs 13-21 Paul’s liberty warning! Most people I have met that glory in their liberty have returned to bondage. Their liberty has become their new law and they have practiced a form of “Christian cannibalism”, “but if you bite and devour one another”.(Vs. 15)
a. Vs 17-21 give an extended picture of the flesh. Pay attention especially to “contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy.” These fleshly manifestations are especially the marks of “religious” people. Galatians 6:12-13 adds a crucial theme, flesh is “showy”! Those who use others are showy in themselves and part of their “show” are those who they bring under their bondage!
2. Vs 13b-14 Here is the key to what “faith working through love” looks like. Here is true “profit”!!!
a. “Through love serve one another, for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” We have returned to the theme of John 13:34-35, 15:9-14, and from Paul himself, I Timothy 1:5, and a host of other passages.
b. Walking in the Spirit of Liberty is the only way for this process to occur, for Love and its manifestation (Vs 22-23) is His fruit and His alone!!! And remember, Christ Jesus is His Subject, he came to glorify the Son of Righteousness as our only Righteousness!
c. This is the process that Paul prays for in Ephesians 3:14-21 and here we see that it is a “family thing”. (The Father) “From Whom the whole family on earth is named.”
1) The Spirit implanting Christ Jesus in our hearts by faith is the first step in the process. That is the rooting and grounding in love that we must have as new creations. The old soil, the old flesh will not do. It only brings forth the weeds of self righteousness, self glory, and in the end of its futility, despair. This rooting and grounding is the “shedding abroad the Love of God in our hearts” that Paul speaks of in Romans 5:5. This is the new birth transition from God as Judge to God as Father and the Spirit seals it to our inner man for we now pray, “our Father Who is in heaven, Abba Father.” ( Matt. 6:9 & Gal. 4:4-7) This is the writing the first commandment, “loving the Lord our God with all our heart” on our heart!
2) Having the family likeness written on our heart, our faith which is now in our Elder Brother and our Father Who has Willed it so (Eph. 1:9-11), this love increases to the exceeding of our own stuff and our own little world. This Love inherently goes outward. Our Father Loved so much He gave His only begotten Son. We grow in His love so much that we, through love, begin to serve one another (Gal.5 13), bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), cease to pat ourselves on the back (6:3-5), and seek to do good to all, especially those who are of the household (think family) of faith. (6:10) This is the writing of the second great commandment on our hearts, the command that is like unto the first. You can’t have the first without the second and vice versa.
Note: Faith is always and only smack dab in the middle of Love. Faith works in no other way. Faith works through Love. It is generated out of the Spirit of Loves’ working in the inner man and must exceed the boundaries of our pidly humanity! This is James’ argument. “Faith without works is dead!” This is what Romans 12:1-2 is all about. The Son of the Father's Love came and died for us. We, His offspring, will die to ourselves for others. This is the will of God. This is what earthly marriage is to be all about—modeling sacrificial love, one for the other, picturing Christ’s love for His Church.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the Love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, THAT WE MIGHT LIVE THROUGH HIM.” I John 4:7-9