Liberty — Galatians 5:1


Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.


  • What is going on in Galatians – Judaizers had come to the young churches in Galatia
    • Distorted the Gospel
    • Discredited Paul
  • We are looking at the introduction to the practical section of Galatians
    • Personal-Doctrinal, Practical
    • There are only two religions in the world:
      •  The religion based on human achievement
      • The religion based on divine grace.
      • The book of Galatians jumps into the middle of this controversy and solves it for all time.
      • For every man who has lived, salvation boils down to this simple question: Do I magnify my own achievements, or do I humbly bow beneath the grace of God?

Interpretation & Explanation

Verse 1 — Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Stand fast — exhortation to the Galatians not to surrender the freedom that they have in Jesus Christ, but to stand firm in it.

They had been set free from their pagan legalism when they believed in Christ.

 Paul tells them that Christ set them free and that they’re not to be in bondage again.



 Freedom, in Galatians, refers to freedom from the frustrating struggle to keep the law to gain God’s favor.

It is the freedom of knowing you are accepted by God because of what Christ has done.

It is more than just a deliverance from the oppression of legalism; it is also a positive endowment.


Romans 6 and 7 pictures a man without Christ as a slave to sin. But in chapter 8, he is set free.

Man could never please God by fulfilling God’s law on his own, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, man now has the capacity to please Him.

Freedom is not just being out from under the condemnation of the law; it is being able to fulfill the law in the power of the Holy Spirit.

From a positive standpoint, Paul views freedom as walking or living in the Spirit, which results in:

the production of spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23)

 joy in doing the will of God (Rom. 15:32)

the fulfillment of the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).

Salvation gives us the freedom to obey the moral law out of internal power, not out of external constraint.

 The Spirit produces the ability in us to do what pressure from the outside could never do before we knew Christ.

Some Christians live in terrible legalistic bondage.

That isn’t freedom; that’s just a transfer of bondage.

When a person comes to Christ, he becomes a mature son of God by faith (Gal. 3:25- 26). At that point he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 4:6), and is a free man no longer bound by external restraints but able to exercise His liberty in the Spirit (Gal. 5:1).

When a person becomes a Christian, it doesn’t mean he is free to be a criminal; it means he has the capacity to walk out of his cell and still live within the bounds of the law–not by being walled in, but by the internal restraints that are built in through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Christian liberty is not being bound by rules, but being free to obey God by walking in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

 In the Old Testament, the believers needed walls because the Spirit didn’t permanently indwell believers then.

In the New Testament, believers can be controlled by the Spirit of God. The morality that God established hasn’t changed. However, it can now be produced internally through the Holy Spirit. I will give them a heart of flesh…

Entangled — The Galatians had acknowledged that salvation was by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit was guiding them internally to change their behavior.

They wanted to turn around and walk back into the cell, thus confining the Holy Spirit to their cell. He didn’t go through all that trouble to turn you loose so you could go back into another cell.

All you’ve done is stifle the Holy Spirit.

The particular yoke of bondage that the Gentiles were being influenced to accept was the rite of circumcision. The Judaizers in Galatia were telling them they had to be circumcised to be fully accepted by God since they thought God accepted only those who had that sign of the covenant. Having escaped the ritualism of paganism, they were about to accept Jewish ritualism.


 It is easier to live in a prison cell than it is to make right use of your Spirit-directed freedoms. If you were in a cell, you would probably be a pretty good person. If you were walled in, there wouldn’t be many things you could do.

For example, Israel in the wilderness wanted to forget the Promised Land and return to Egypt. They felt it would be much easier to be slaves in Egypt than to exercise their freedom.

There are some people who are more comfortable when someone lays down all the rules. They are not sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit to live apart from someone else’s external guidelines.

The theme of Galatians 5 is that Christianity is freedom, not bondage. It’s not freedom to do evil; it’s freedom to do good by internal divine power, not external restraints.

In Galatians 5, Paul emphasizes the ministry of the Holy Spirit because it is the Spirit who makes the life of faith work.

A life of faith wouldn’t work any better than a life of legalism if it weren’t for the indwelling Holy Spirit who empowers us.

Paul calls us to yield to the Spirit’s control through such statements as:

“We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith” (v. 5)

“Walk in the Spirit” (v. 16)

 “If ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (v. 18);

 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (v. 25).

It is necessary for those who have been justified by faith to implement a life of faith in the energy of the Holy Spirit.


1 Comment

  1. Good sermon.

    I think it dawned on me why you said ten year olds need to follow certain standards as ten year old because there parents tell them to. Basically ten years olds need to obey their parents. But 14 and 16 year olds should follow certain standards, not because they should obey their parents, but because they should be obeying the Holy Spirit. (You said this more eloquent then I did, I just chopped it apart)

    Is it because 14- 16 year olds, will not obey the Holy Spirit when they are 14-16, if they don’t obey their parents at 10?

    I think that is where you getting at, but I am not sure. Right now I am having a problem with Thing #1. I’m not sure if the solution will ever get better, I just know, the key is teaching her honesty and consistent obedience. I thought it would be easier as she got older. Oh My soul it is so much harder.

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