GRACE: NOT BY MAN
Troublers of Liberty – Galations 5:7-15
Verses 7 – 10 – Paul compares the Galations faith to that of running a race (2:2; Romans 9:16; 1Corinthians 9:24).”Ye did run well” is praise for the way they began their faithwalk. Now someone has come along, the Judaizers, and hindered that walk, by teaching contrary to the truth.
Paul tells them this “persuasion” is not from Christ. He also tells them it is as “Leaven” permeating the whole lump.
The apostle is confident that they will not be ultimately persuaded away from the gospel he had proclaimed to them – the unmerited favor of God.
He does assure us that the false teacher – the Judaizers – will face the consequences of their teachings.
Verses 11 – 12 – There had apparently been some rumors going around by the legalists that Paul was preaching circumcison and works. Paul’s answer for that was, “If it is true then, why are they still persecuting me?” There would be no more offense of the cross.
The MacArthur Study Bible note states,
“5:12 cut themselves off. Better translated ‘mutilate themselves.’ The Gr. word was often used of castration, such as in the cult of Cybele, whose priests were self-made eunuchs. Paul’s ironic point is that since the Judaizers were so insistent on circumcision as a means of pleasing God, they should go to the extreme of religious devotion and mutilate themselves.” From the NKJV edition.
The Troublers of Liberty are those who teach contrary of the gospel of grace.
Verses 13 – 15 – Those who have heard the gospel of Christ, the gospel of grace have a liberty which is beyond that of any other. It is not however, freedom from the law, but rather the freedom which love gives. We receive freedom to love God and to love others.
Verse 14 says it well “the law is fulfilled in love” love is fulfilled by loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
There is a picture in v. 15 given of street dogs constantly fighting. Not just the casual brawl, but the biting, tearing of flesh. It is a picture of devouring, destroying another.
That is not the way of liberty or love. The liberty of loving one another seeks the welfare of others even above your own welfare.
Two dogs come to a bowl of meat, and as dogs do they will fight over it until one is beaten and leaves bloody, bruised, and battered. That is not the freedom and liberty of the Christian.
-Tim A. Blankenship