Summary: If there is anything I understand about the Bible it is that the salvation that God gives us in the Lord Jesus Christ is eternal. When God saves us He does an eternal, irreversible work.
Falling from Grace
Born AGAIN Free
Galatians 5:1-6 01/09/05
It is in these verses that the phrase comes along that we are going to consider this evening. It’s the phrase—fallen from grace—and what that means. I would encourage you to put a star or make a special mark by that first verse of the 5th chapter. This really is the climatic verse of everything Paul has said. It is actually the pivotal verse of the entire book of Galatians.
To refresh our minds and get the overall picture, let me just remind you that the six chapters of the book of Galatians break down into three major divisions of two chapters each. In the first two chapters Paul shares personal matters with us and tells us how it is that he received his message. He has to defend his apostleship. He has to defend the message of grace, which he has preached to the believers in Galatia.
In the next two chapters—three and four—he takes up doctrinal matters. He goes into the whole doctrine of salvation by grace—why it is that we can be saved by grace and cannot be saved by law.
In chapters five and six he is going to become very, very practical. He is going to make application and explain what it means to be saved by grace. He is going to show that not only are you saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but also that you live the Christian life by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
So really he is saying—hold your ground! Don’t let anybody shake you from that. He is warning them against the danger of legalism.
The life of Christian liberty has two dangers. There are two opposite extremes that can destroy the life of Christian liberty. One of those extremes is LICENSE. The view that—now that I am saved, I have a license to live any old way I want to live. Some people do take that approach. “I’m saved, going to heaven when I die, have my ticket stamped. I can live any way I want to live because I’m going to heaven when I die.”
The opposite extreme of that is legalism. License is a perversion of Christian liberty. Legalism is a denial of Christian liberty. Legalism is living the Christian life by obeying a series of rules and regulations and all of that.
Let’s talk about it. Christian liberty—
Verse 1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free...” He is getting ready to define what this Christian life of liberty is. What does it mean to be free in Jesus?
He says, “...wherewith Christ hath made us free.” That’s what Jesus has done for us. Here’s the picture. You have a picture of slaves. You have a picture of a liberator. You have a picture of the life of liberty that results when a liberator sets the slaves free.
Now we were the slaves in sin. Jesus is the Liberator. He came along and set us free. The result of that is that now we have a brand new life. Christ hath made us free from a life of bondage. Sin is a life of bondage. The person who is in sin is in bondage. The Bible teaches us “whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin.” Sin enslaves a person.
Thomas Edison invented the electric light. In so doing he made it possible for us to live in the light instead of in the darkness. But it doesn’t matter how wonderful Mr. Edison’s invention of the electric light is. If you don’t avail yourself of it and you stand in a closet all the time, you are still living in the darkness. The light is available to you, but if you decide to live in the darkness and don’t appropriate the light, then you are still in the darkness.
The life of Christian liberty defined. The life of Christian liberty—
These teachers had come along to Galatia and they said, “Jesus is fine. It’s wonderful for you to accept Jesus as your Savior. But you are not all the way in yet. You are not fully saved. In order to be saved you have to be circumcised.” That’s not something we identify with today. So use another term—baptized.
Somebody says, “You’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior— that’s fine, that’s wonderful, but now you have to go through the water. Now, if you get baptized, you are in.”
Now Paul comes back to them and says, “Wait a minute.” He is defending the life of Christian liberty and gives three warnings in these verses. He is saying that if you decide that you are going to go the way of the law, you have isolated yourself from Christ.