The Freedom Spoken Of In Galatians

The freedom spoken of in the book of Galatians is not a freedom from obeying any law but a freedom from obeying the law of Moses. Notice the law being talked about came 430 years after the promise to Abraham (3:17). That would be the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Allegory in 4:21-31 shows we are to “cast out” the “mount Sinai …. Covenant” (represented by Hagar), but now we are under the new covenant (the one represented by Sarah). So there is a new covenant/agreement, meaning God will bless us with salvation if we obey His new law.

You can tell this from Gal 5:19-21 which states those guilty of the “works of the flesh … shall not not inherit the kingdom of God.” So God expects our obedience to His NT laws just as much as he expected obedience to His OT laws back then. Gal 5:6 underscores this point when it says “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” So OT requirements like circumcision no longer avail, but a faith which WORKS by love does avail. Working, i.e. obeying NT instructions, still avails – if based upon faith and motivated by love.

We see this same idea in I Cor 7:19 “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” It is not that being careful in keeping God’s commandments is no longer important; instead it is that keeping God’s OT commandments is no longer important; that is the point of the book of Galatians. It is true God’s NT law provides less detailed requirements than His OT law, but we must be diligent to submit to the details that do exist in our law for today (Heb 11:6c). As a matter of fact, in many ways the NT requires a stricter adherence than the OT law (Matt 5:20-48).

Heb 5:9 is a NT passage and it reads “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Obey what? NT instructions, not OT instructions. The book of Hebrews tells us the NT is a much better law. But that doesn’t mean we needn’t be as careful to obey it as Israel was supposed to be careful to obey their law. Not in the least. Rev 22:14 reads “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

The book of Galatians is dealing with the same problem the debate in Acts 15 dealt with. Jewish converts were saying to Gentile converts “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (verse 1). Verse 5 puts it this way – “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” So the false teaching was not that God must be obeyed; the false teaching was that the law of Moses must be obeyed. Obedience was still considered very important (verse 29), just obedience to the “law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).

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