Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
January 27, 2013
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
1901 ASV Translation
1 For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that, if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.
3 Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love.
- I. Christ's Action.
- A. Its nature: He established us in freedom.
- 1. The term Paul chose is used to refer to situations in which a person is under the final ability of another with no capacity to get out from under it. In that situation, if someone/something counters that final ability so that it no longer has any power to dominate, the person is said to have been "set free".
- a. The bottom line in this term is the concept of "powerful dominion being rendered powerless".
- b. The outcome is such that the person "set free" is now able to act without consideration for the former power. "Freedom" is having the ability to act in ways that were not formerly possible.
- 2. The context of Christ's action is fully invested in whether, or not, the Justice of God can/will be brought into play by any consideration. If the Justice of God can be brought into play, the persons involved are in no way "free". It is critical that we understand that what is involved is the actual character of God and the attributes He decides to pull into the situation.
- 3. Christ's redemptive sacrifice was more than sufficient to counter any further action by God in Justice. From that sacrifice forward, God is guided by wisdom, love, mercy, and grace. Justice is reserved for those outside the scope of the application of the sacrifice of Jesus.
- B. Its purpose: to make us "free".
- 1. Biblically, this "freedom" has two elements: that which is external to its object; and that which is internal within its object.
- a. Christ satisfied the requirements of Justice quite apart from any other consideration.
- b. But freedom, as it is a "commandable" issue, obviously requires something from within the "free". That "something" the Bible calls "faith" and it has to do with the way a person views God.
- 2. Why did God want us to be "free" of His Justice?
- a. It is almost "knee-jerk" to think that men will be more wicked if there is no price to pay. This is true of every man who is simply "free" from consequences. However, the "freedom" of God is far more about "freedom from impulses" than it is about consequences.
- b. That men will be more godly, if free, is an astounding claim. However, since godliness is one of the objectives of God for men, it must be so if God's wise method begins with setting them free. By taking away the threat of Death and, simultaneously, inserting the power of the Spirit, God has made "godliness" not only possible, but probable.
- 1) It is true that many will abuse their freedom (Galatians 5:13), but it is also true that no one will "by love, serve one another" if that freedom does not stand at the foundations.
- 2) Thus, we can easily conclude that God has sacrificed the accomplishment of godliness in many so that He may accomplish godliness in some. In the totality of the Scriptures the "few" stand out and the "many" are drawn into serious disasters. This, apparently, suits God in some way.