Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1-4, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,… Christ did not set us free to remain a slave. When Paul wrote to the Galatians Christians, they were not experiencing the freedom that Christ died to give – being liberated through grace.
Slavery is miserable, because it means something or someone has us chained in bondage. So what was holding Christians then and what is holding Christians today in bondage? Legalism! Paul wasn’t talking to the unbelievers, he was talking to Christians, so the sin issue was already settled.
Legalism is a wrong understanding of the law, or the wrong application of the law. The law – the Ten Commandments can be used when we hear the phrase “The Law.” The Ten Commandments in the Old Testament was the summary of the law. The Christians in Galatia were being held hostage by a wrong understanding of the Ten Commandments , the law, and instead of freeing them it was putting more chains on them.
Paul says in Galatians 1:6, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel.” So what was leading them astray? Galatians 2:4 – But this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage).
Paul says over and over again that, when you come to Christ, you are no longer under the system of the law. Romans 6:14, For sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace.
If you are under law, then sin will have dominion. If you are under that system, sin will win.
First, the law was given to show us what was wrong with us (them). The law was not given to make us better. You have to understand this. Most people go to the law to get better in their actions and attitudes, by trying to keep the Ten Commandments, but it won’t work.
Romans 7:7 – Paul says, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 1 Corinthians 15:56, says we do it because “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.”
The law can never make us better. Hebrews 8, verses 7 and 13 – (7) For if the first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. (Verse 13) In that He says, “A new covenant, “He has made the first obsolete and growing old, is ready to vanish away.” (Read also 2 Corinthians, chapter 3, verses 6, 7, and 9.) Trying to live by the law, brings condemnation. All it will do is make you feel worse because it will bring out the worse in us. If you are operating under the law then you are operating under a curse, Galatians 3:13.
The lost say, “I live by the Ten Commandments, and some believers say “I live by the Ten Commandments.” The lost can’t get to heaven by this and the believer can’t bring heaven down, because they are both under the curse of the law. Trying to keep the Ten Commandments to be a better Christian is just adding “fuel to the fire.”
Paul says in Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”
If you choose to live under the law, then you have to keep “All the Law!” There were 613 laws. Can anyone keep all those laws perfectly? Only One did – Jesus.
When you insist on going back and living under the old covenant, Paul says in Galatians 5:4 that, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. Paul didn’t mean you lose your salvation, he says Christ won’t benefit you anymore – estranged. If you’re not operating under the New Covenant of grace, then grace can’t flow to you!
Do you ever wonder why nothing changes? Check which system you are living under, law or grace. When you fall from grace which is living back under the law, you will fall back into condemnation. So what are we to do if this happens (mostly because of wrong teaching)?
Let me clarify something first: Grace does not mean that there are no rules. That would be a misunderstanding and a misuse of grace. That would be turning grace into a license to sin if there were no rules. In fact, nine of the ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament for Christians. The only one that’s not repeated is about the Sabbath.,but the other nine are repeated under the grace covenant, not under the law covenant.
The new rules are under a new system. The new rules of grace are based on a “relationship with Christ..” Without the relationship, you only have rules.
The difference between the two systems: In the old system of law, the key word was “if.” If you do this, I will bless you. It was conditioned on what you do to get divine favor.
Under the grace system: The word if, changes. It is now “since.” This is what I am doing because “He’s already blessed me!” Let me prove it: Ephesians 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,…
In the old system it was, “I have to .” In the new under grace, it is “Thank You!” Do you want to know why so many don’t live in grace? Because they are not thankful! They don’t understand what God has done for them. They don’t appreciate the cross; they don’t understand who the Holy Spirit is; and because the thankfulness is small, they don’t experience the flow of grace!
We are to be thankful and let Christ’s grace flow into our lives. and how does it flow? It flows by relationship not by rules trying to earn it. The mind set changes to: “Look what God has done for us, so we become obedient to Christ for what He’s already done! That’s freedom!
Christ wants us to worship Him because we LOVE Him! Grace gives us the ability to rule in our circumstances through His Spirit. To rule that to which use to be ruling us. We rise above the circumstances. The more you know Jesus and the power of His resurrection, the more we rise above what deems to harm and constrict us.
Under grace, we depend on God, the Holy Spirit, to empower us to live in obedience. If we could live perfectly, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die. Jesus had to die because we cannot “Pull-off” what God demands. We can only manage our sin for a while, but that’s not transformation.
So move from “have to,” to “want to,” from “if” to “since.”
Do you know that it’s in the interest of Satan for the Christian not to know any of this? He wants to keep you in bondage so he will keep control.
Oh, but when you find out that you are free to live under God’s grace, then you will be counted as one of the most victorious Christians you’ve ever known.
Everything we are or will ever be is found in Jesus Christ!