Summary: Once you’ve been set free in Christ, don’t be entangled again in the bondage of various types of legalism.


TEXT: Galatians 5:1-15



1. A pastor got up one Sunday morning and all the roads were icy.

2. The streets were all blocked off and there was no way for him to drive to church.

3. He was forced to skate on the river to get to church.

4. When he arrived at church, several church learders were horrified that their preacher had skated on the Lord’s day.

5. After the service there was a special board meeting to determine whether or not he should be fired for skating to church that morning.

6. The pastor explained that it was either skate to church or not go at all.

7. This was not a satifactory answer for some of the more staunch legalists on the church board.

8. Finally one of them asked, "Did you enjoy it?"

9. When the preacher said, "No," then the board decided it was all right!



5:1a “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

1. Paul urged the Galatian Christians not to return to the slavery of legalism.

2. What good is it to be set free, if you still live like a slave?

3. To be set free “for freedom” was understood as being set free for God.

4. The phrase “for freedom” was well known in the ancient world.

5. It has been found in numerous documents for the freeing of slaves.

6. The procedure called for a slave to save up enough money, and then to have the local church use that money to buy him from the owner.

7. The slave was then the property of God, and no man could lay any claim against him.

8. On the walls of some early temples and church is recorded “for freedom” god has purchased such-and-such slave.

B. STAND FIRM (v.1b)

5:1b “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

1. It is a pity that some people who are purchased out of one form of slavery volunteer themselves to another form of slavery.

2. Some who have been enslaved by sin, volunteer themselves to be enslaved by legalism.

3. Some who have been enslaved by the world, volunteer themselves to be enslaved by cults.

4. This was what Paul was trying to convince the Galatians not to do.

5. Paul tells them, now that you are out of that, stand firm.


7. False teachers were holding out a “yoke of slavery.”

8. Paul was telling them, be stubborn like an ox that refuses a yoke.

5:3 "Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law."


5:2 “Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.”

1. “…if you let yourselves be circumcised…”

2. Paul isn’t talking about those who’ve already been circumcised.

3. He’s talking about those who want to join up with the legalists.

4. He’s saying, “If you rely on circumcision, then you are not relying on Christ.”

5. This reliance on circumcision must stop.


1. Legalists have their own rituals that they want to put you through.

2. They have a set of rules to follow to be a part of their group.

3. It reminds me of the story of Jimmy the taylor.

4. This guy named Joe was encouraged to go to Jimmy the Taylor.

5. Jimmy the taylor was supposed to be the best taylor in the world.

6. Jimmy measured Joe and told him to come back in a week.

7. So, the guy came back in a week with his friend to pick up the suit.

8. It looked awful.

9. It had an arm hole sticking out the front and the paints were very tight.

10. But, Joe’s friend told him he looked great in it and told him to take it.

11. Joe wore the suit home, and some guy on the bus asked him about it.

12. He said, “Did you get that suit from Jimmy the taylor?”

13. Joe said, “Yes, how did you know!”

14. The guy said, “Only Jimmy could make a suit for someone as deformed as you are.”

15. He said, “Jimmy’s made suits for every deformed person I’ve ever met!”

16. That’s what legalists do to you. They put you in a yoke that doesn’t fit!

17. They get some idea of what the Christian faith should look like: then they push and shove people into it until they fit.

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