Galatians 4–6: Set Free & Standing Firm

Read the Bible in 2011–2021* ◊ Week 23: Sunday

Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” There­fore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 4:1–7

Today’s Bible reading is Galatians 4–6. Pray and ask God to teach you from His Word. If you haven’t read the first three chapters of Galatians, take the time to read them first before you read the last three. Don’t worry if you have to come back to Galatians 4–6 tomorrow. It’s so important for you to understand what Paul has written. My first post on Galatians is: Galatians 1–3: Law, Grace, & the Gospel.

The Galatians had fallen into the trap of thinking they had to follow Jewish law and be circumcised to be right before God. We may not fall into that same trap, but we are so easily led astray into thinking that we do something to be accepted by God.

We get confused about several things. We need to remember our complete inability to save ourselves, that we sinners and could never make ourselves righteous before God by our efforts. Only the righteous, sinless life, and atoning, sacrificial death of our Savior, Jesus Christ, could make us clean. (See Titus 3:3–7, 2 Corinthians 5:21). We also forget as Paul wrote earlier in the letter.

This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Galatians 3:2–3

Read Romans 7:14–25 and Romans 8:1–30. We began by the Spirit, and we must continue our lives as Christians by the Spirit. For years my home church had Galatians 5:1 printed on the front cover of their church bulletins.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

I have the verse on a poster that depicts a man walking away from broken shackles towards the sun breaking through dark clouds. It’s an important verse because it goes to the heart of the truth of living in God’s grace. In Christ we die to the Law and through Him become a new creation to live and serve God in the newness of the Spirit.

Paul is very careful to tell the Galatians what freedom in Christ means.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Galatians 5:13–17

Paul goes on to contrast the deeds of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit, and writes.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25

In chapter 6, Paul has further instructions on walking by the Spirit (notice the reference to the law of Christ, cf. John 13:34–35, 15:12–17). As he brings the letter to a close, his words are on fire with his intense concern for the Galatian Christians.

See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
Galatians 6:11–16

Think on these words, and pray. Ask God to help you know and comprehend who you are in Christ Jesus. Thank God for His great mercy, and rejoice in His grace. In Christ you are set free.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:1–4
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

Isaiah 42 Photograph: – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications. (Site has been deleted since posting).
Broken Chain Symbol: users. Public domain.

*In 2011 I started a year-long series of posts, “Read the Bible in 2011.” You can find the other posts in the navigation menu in the header. If a day doesn’t have a link to a post, the post was simply a brief reminder about the reading. I’m filling in some of those gaps with new posts with “Read the Bible in 2011 Redux” as a category.

Copyright ©2011–2021 Iwana Carpenter

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