Have a group of your friends or coworkers ever wanted to cut corners or participate in a sinful activity—and you were the only one saying no? When the godly voice is outnumbered, it can be challenging to speak up for righteousness.
We all have convictions that define who we are and determine our lifestyle and choices. We may like to think that these are a private matter, but in reality, they are constantly on display for all to see. As believers in Christ we live them out each day with our words and actions.
Since our convictions have a powerful influence, we should examine what ours are saying about us. Are they leading us to a righteous life in accordance with God’s will, or are they so weak that our life is dominated by the old fleshly nature?
There were a group of people in the Galatian church that were trying to convince the church that in order to be saved they must do more than just have faith in Jesus Christ. They must also obey certain commandments of the Mosaic Law. This kind of thinking, let’s call it “faith-plus thinking,” has been common in Christian circles through the ages. In order to guarantee salvation, some have felt the need to add a list of moral stipulations to faith in Jesus Christ. They think that a person can’t be saved if they violate whatever stipulations they have added to faith.
Paul will have none of this kind of thinking. His whole point in writing to the Galatian church was to show them that it is by faith alone that we are saved (Galatians 2:15-16). We do not earn salvation by obedience to law. We are given salvation through faith in Christ. To believe that it is necessary to obey a set of laws in order to be saved is to submit oneself to a yoke of slavery to those laws.
Christ set us free from the yoke of the Mosaic Law and any other law that people may try to set up as a condition of salvation. In Christ we are free. Hence, it is for freedom that we have been set free, not for slavery. Therefore, since we are free in Christ, we must live as if we are free in Christ. We must stand firm in the freedom we have been given through Christ and not fall into the trap of faith-plus thinking. We must not let ourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery to a set of laws.
None of this means that we have a license to sin. Later in Galatians Paul tells the Galatians that they should not “use your freedom to indulge the flesh” (Galatians 5:13). It just means that we are saved by faith, not by works of the law.
Since it is for freedom that we have been set free and not for slavery, let us stand fast in that freedom and throw off any yoke of slavery we may have taken upon ourselves.