“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1 NIV)
Common Translation: At first glance, without any context, it looks like Paul is saying that freedom in Christ means a lack of bondage to things that enslaves. For a long time, I interpreted this verse as a stand alone that meant Christ has set us free from enslaving behavior, such as not doing x,y, or z. And I have heard enough messages about this passage that make the same reference of freedom for it to make the Closer Look list. I really don’t think that is what Paul is talking about, freedom from enslaving behavior.
What’s Going On?: Paul is writing to the church at Galatia because a sect of the Pharisees (possibly believers in Christ) indicated that in order for the Gentile believers to fully be accepted by God they had to comply with the law and be circumcised. Their perspective made sense to them since compliance with the law was imposed upon Israel as God’s chosen people as a means for obedience to God. While they accepted that Gentiles could now be granted the same promises too, their perspective was that Gentiles had to comply with the law, meaning outward prescriptions of the Mosaic regulations. Continue reading