“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?” Galatians 4:21 ESV
What “law” is being referred to here? Context is everything when interpreting what is meant by “the law.” For, the context reveals that this is speaking about the Old Covenant ceremonial and purification laws, not God’s moral laws, which continued throughout the New Covenant. We are still under God’s moral laws. We still have to obey them. But, we don’t have to obey all the Old Testament Jewish rules and regulations.
Also, when we think about how God set us free from slavery to “the law,” we have to also look at that in light of Romans 8:2 ESV:
“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
So, not only do we NOT have to obey all the Old Covenant Jewish rules and regulations the Jews were required to follow, but we are also free from the law of sin which puts us in bondage to sin and which then results in death.
We can’t earn our salvation by following a bunch of external regulations, and neither can we be saved from our sins and walk in freedom in Christ if we are still under slavery to sin, resulting in death (eternal separation from God and eternal punishment in hell).
For, if we walk in darkness (in sin, wickedness), according to our flesh, and not according to the Spirit of God, we don’t know God, he doesn’t know us, and we don’t have his Spirit living within us, and we don’t have eternal life with God. Being free from slavery to the law not only includes freedom from legalism (external regulations), but it includes freedom from libertinism, too (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Thus, being delivered from slavery to the law is not freedom now to habitually sin against God. It is not freedom from God’s moral laws. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. If we walk in darkness, we will die in our sins. If we make sin our practice, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
“For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” Galatians 4:22-26 ESV
The Christians of that time were being led astray by false teachers (Judaizers) who were trying to convince them that they needed to follow at least some of the Old Covenant Jewish ceremonial and purification laws (rules and regulations). They were being convinced that these must be added on to their salvation from sin or that they weren’t truly saved from sin.
And, there is a similar movement today which is trying to convince Christians that they need to include in their faith Jewish ceremonies and customs taken from the Old Covenant. And, as far as I understand, this is largely being led by Messianic Jews who are trying to convince Gentile Christians to be more “Jewish,” and that this will somehow make them more godly, too, as though that adds something to our faith, but it does not. See this article: Our Devotion.
Please note what it says here about Jews who do not believe in Jesus Christ. It says that they are the same as Arabs or anyone else who does not believe in Jesus Christ, for they are still in slavery to sin. A Jew who does not believe in Jesus is no different from a Gentile who does not believe in Jesus, in other words. Jews and Gentiles are the same. In Christ, by faith in Jesus Christ, God made us both one, and he destroyed the barrier between us.
(Matt. 12:30; Rom. 9:6b-8; Rom. 11:28-32; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29; Gal. 4:22-31; Eph. 2:14-18; 1 Jn. 2:22)
But, legalism is not the only issue here. What is at the core here is the difference between slavery to the law and freedom in Christ, which many false teachers today are distorting. For, they are working hard and successfully to convince prospective and current believers in Jesus Christ that not being under the law means they are at liberty to sin as much as they want, and as often as they want, without guilt, without punishment, and that they can still have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven.
So, what they have essentially done is to remove God’s righteous requirements from the gospel of our salvation and to reduce the message of the gospel to something that appeals to human flesh and that allows flesh to reign supreme. So, they have hidden the truth from the people concerning the Holy Spirit and Living Water, and they have replaced the purity of the gospel with a cheap substitute that tickles itching ears and that promotes lasciviousness and all sorts of wickedness by allowing it free reign.
Freedom and slavery are opposites. We can’t be free in Christ and still be in slavery to sin, in other words. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes no room for sinful practices and lifestyles.
Over and over again in the New Testament we are warned that if we walk after the flesh, and not after the Spirit, that we are going to die in our sins, not have eternal life with God. So, don’t believe these liars and deceivers who are trying to convince you that you are free from God’s righteous requirements, i.e. that you are free from having to obey God’s moral laws.
For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and to worldly passions (fleshly lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).
“Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.” Galatians 4:28-31 ESV
Just because someone is a physical descendant of Abraham, it does not make him or her God’s child or an heir of the promise. It is only those of us who believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives who are children of the promise. Jews who do not believe in Jesus Christ are not heirs of the promise God made to Abraham and to his SEED, meaning Jesus Christ (Rom. 9:6-8; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29).
But a cursory faith in Jesus Christ does not make one an heir of the promise, either. It is only through submission to Christ, in repentance (turning away from sin) and in walks of obedience to his commands that any of us are saved from our sins and promised eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
And, please note this, too. The Jews of today are not the persecuted ones. Christians are the persecuted ones, and Jews who don’t believe in Jesus are included among the persecutors against the children of promise, i.e. against those who genuinely believe in Jesus Christ. And, especially they are against those of us who are proclaiming the whole counsel of God.
So, we are not to be followers of the Jews. We are not to be supporters of the nation of Israel, which is a godless nation, which is antichrist. Jews who don’t believe in Jesus don’t believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for they don’t believe in God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. We are to be followers of Christ, instead, and we are to be those who walk in obedience to His commands.
We are also not to be followers of those today who would try to convince us that freedom from slavery to the law is freedom to continue in sinful practices without punishment and without guilt. If we want to have the hope of eternal life with God, then we need to walk (in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, and no longer walk (in practice) according to (in agreement with) our sinful flesh.
And, if you teach these truths, because you are teaching what the scriptures teach, then be prepared to be hated and rejected and persecuted even by those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ but who, in reality, are still in slavery to their sin.
For they have a show of righteousness, but it is surface level only, for their hearts are still wicked, and they still walk according to the flesh. And, thus they will persecute those of us who walk according to the Spirit, because they are still walking in darkness and they refuse to come into the light lest their evil deeds be exposed (John 3:16-21).
The Spirit Calling
An Original Work / November 12, 2019
Hear the Spirit calling.
He’ll keep you from falling.
Tenderly He’s calling,
“Come and follow Him.”
Walk with Jesus daily.
Don’t give in to lazy.
Folks may call you crazy.
Fellowship with Him.
Follow where He leads you.
Eat what Jesus feeds you.
His love will renew you
If you follow Him.
Do what Jesus tells you.
Don’t let your faith fail you.
His love will avail you
If you walk with Him.
Jesus, Lord and Savior,
Reigneth now forever.
He gave us His favor
So we’d live with Him.
Turning now from our sin,
Holy Spirit live-in.
Holiness we walk in,
Purified by Him.