Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The first four chapters of Galatians present a revelation of the gospel preached by the Apostle Paul. If you compare the revelation in these chapters with that conveyed in the four Gospels, you will see that, in a certain sense, the revelation in these chapters is richer, deeper, and more profound than that in the Gospels. For example, in the four Gospels we do not have a clear view of the desire of God’s heart. But the first four chapters of Galatians do present such a clear view of this. As we have pointed out, God’s promise to Abraham was the unveiling of the desire of God’s heart. Because many Christians concentrate on the Gospels alone, they do not know the desire of God’s heart. Furthermore, although John 1 speaks of grace, in Galatians we see that grace is the fulfillment of God’s promise according to the desire of His heart. The Gospels also present the living Person of Christ as viewed from four angles. But without the first four chapters of Galatians, we would not understand Christ in such a deep way. The same is true concerning the Spirit. Chapters fourteen through sixteen of the Gospel of John reveal much concerning the Spirit. But if we did not have the book of Galatians, we would not know that the Spirit is Christ as the seed of Abraham to fulfill the promise. In fulfilling the promise, Christ is the seed; but for our enjoyment, He is the land, which typifies the all-inclusive Spirit. Hence, the seed is for fulfillment, whereas the land is for enjoyment.
In this message we come to 5:1-6, which begins another major section of Galatians, concerned with the walk of God’s children (5:1—6:17). After presenting the profound revelation found in chapters one through four, Paul turns to the walk of God’s children according to the Spirit.
In 5:1 Paul says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore and do not be again entangled with a yoke of slavery.” The first charge Paul gives us concerning our walk is not to be entangled with a yoke of slavery. This charge is based upon the revelation presented in chapters one through four, where he spoke of slavery under the law and of how Christ has delivered us from that slavery. The freedom in 5:1 denotes freedom from the slavery of law. Christ has set us free through His redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection that we may enjoy this freedom and grace. To stand fast is to stand fast in the freedom from the slavery of law, not deviating from Christ, not falling from grace.
The Greek word rendered entangled may also be translated held ensnared. To deviate from Christ to law is to be entangled or held ensnared. The yoke of slavery is the bondage of law, which makes the law-keepers slaves under a binding yoke.
In 5:1 Paul uses an unusual expression, “For freedom Christ has set us free.” Paul’s composition here is somewhat awkward, even redundant. He could have said simply, “Christ has set us free.” The Bible is often redundant and repetitious. Consider how often Paul speaks of faith in the book of Galatians, or how many times the New Testament refers to justification by faith. In 5:1 Paul writes in a redundant manner in order to impress us with the preciousness of our freedom in Christ. It seems Paul was saying to the Galatians, “I want you to remember that it was for freedom that Christ has set us free. Since Christ has set us free for freedom, we should stand fast and not be entangled again with the yoke of slavery.” Paul used strong terms in order to impress the distracted Galatians that they must set aside the yoke of slavery and come back to their freedom in Christ.
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