Galatians #09 – An exposition of Galatians 5:1-12. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, March 8, 2009.
It just didn’t make any sense. For centuries they longed for freedom. Not days, weeks, years or even decades but for centuries – they longed to be free and yet at the first sign of trouble they were ready to go back! Things did not progress as quickly as they had hoped and so they were ready to return to the familiar. It’s not that they liked slavery or wanted to return to harsh treatment but at least they knew what to expect. When faced with the hard choices Israel longed for Egypt. Getting free was one thing…remaining free was something else. We know that from our own experience. What teenager doesn’t rail against the restraints of home? What young person doesn’t yearn for the day they will be “free of the unreasonable restraints” of mom and dad? Yet soon after the initial taste of freedom when bills and responsibility come due – they long to return to Egypt! The dream of freedom is sweet the responsibility of freedom is often troubling. Most of us like order. We like to know what is expected and how to get it accomplished. It seems our default setting “rules oriented.” Nowhere is that more evident than in religion. When it comes to matters of faith a list is always comforting. Even if I don’t agree with everything on the list at least I know how the game is played. At least I know if I want to achieve a certain level this is what I must do. But if there is no list, if it is about getting in there and rubbing elbows with others and trying to figure it out together…well that can get messy. I could make some mistakes. I might upset some folks and they might not agree with me. I certainly understand the desire for order. I understand the longing for rules. But we must understand, rules lead to conformity and eventually enslavement. Don’t misunderstand me – there are rules. There is order. We could not function without them. But we do not live to obey the rules. Rules are not the means to right standing before God. God’s love for us does not rise and fall based on our scorecard. I am loved and accepted by God because of Christ – his life, his obedience, his death for me. The law of Christ then guides me in my expression of love and devotion to the one who has lavished his grace upon me. And that is what is behind Paul’s statement in Galatians 5:1 – “For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Our text this morning is found in Galatians chapter 5.
Text: Galatians 5:1-12
The message of Paul in the opening words of chapter 5 are clear:
Thesis: The call of grace is a call to resist the subtle voice of conformity that leads to a religion that enslaves.
Paul is saying, “Being set free is one thing, remaining free is something else.”
Let me point out 2 principles that work to secure freedom.
- Gospel freedom flees the iron clutches of a legalistic faith. (5:1-6)
- Gospel freedom resists the siren call of compromise. (5:7-12)
Here in is the danger of the siren call of compromise. An adjustment here, a tweaking of doctrine there leads to distortion and corruption. Before long the message is lost. Beware those who would rob you of your freedom and resist the subtle call voice of conformity that leads to a religion of enslavement.