Galatians 5:1-6 – For Freedom Christ Has Set Us Free
SummaryIn Christ Jesus we have been set free for a freedom in which the only thing that counts is faith that is active in love.
"For freedom Christ has set us free." More than one commentator has called these words the emotive center, the climax, or the heart of Paul's Letter to the Galatians. For many Christians they have been the proverbial Magna Carta of Christian freedom. Issues of bondage and freedom ran deeply in Paul's world, just as they do in ours. Paul alludes to this early in the letter when he states that the Lord Jesus Christ gave himself "to set us free from the present evil age" (1:4). But such freedom is hard-won and difficult to maintain. In Galatians 5, Paul chastises those who are pushing for circumcision for abandoning the freedom that is their rightful inheritance in the gospel.
The marks of this freedom are not a return to the slavery of the circumcision and the law but rather to the promise of a "faith working through love" (verse 6) that fulfills the law in its free exercise of love for the neighbor. As Paul says later in the letter, "For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Galatians 5:14).