Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle of the apostle Paul unto the churches which were in Galatia. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first fifteen verses of the fifth chapter. When the fifth chapter begins and opens, it does so with a word which I am convinced is largely overlooked and widely misappropriated within the lives of the saints of God. As you begin reading the fifth chapter of the epistle of the apostle Paul unto the churches which were in Galatia you will find the following words written and spoken by the apostle: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). It is the very first word of this particular chapter which I would like to highlight before delving any further into this passage of Scripture, for before writing anything else within this particular chapter the apostle Paul wrote one word—one single word which contains a tremendous amount of meaning, weight and significance. Consider if you will what the beginning of this first verse looks like broken up in certain sections and how it should most certainly and without hesitation directly challenge every area of our beings. STAND! STAND FAST! STAND FAST THEREFORE! STAND FAST THEREFORE IN! STAND FAST THEREFORE IN THE LIBERTY! STAND FAST THEREFORE IN THE LIBERTY WHEREWITH CHRIST! STAND FAST THEREFORE IN THE LIBERTY WHEREWITH CHRIST HATH! STAND FAST THEREFORE IN THE LIBERTY WHEREWITH CHRIST HATH MADE US FREE! Before moving any further into this particular chapter of the epistle which Paul wrote unto the churches which were in Galatia it is absolutely imperative that we uncover and encounter the tremendous need—not only to stand, but also to stand firmly, consistently, and resolutely. Even as I’m sitting here right now I can’t help but think of the guards in England which stand their ground and stand at their post completely focused, completely disciplined, completely engaged in the assignment that is before them. If you have every had the chance to journey to the country of England you will see the guards of which I speak and how while they are on duty they are fully and completely engaged in their mission and assignment, and there is absolutely nothing that can distract them from that assignment.
If you study the sacred Scripture you will notice that there is a tremendous amount of language that is found within it concerning the tremendous and powerful need to stand within and throughout the course of our lives. In this particular verse of the fifth chapter of the epistle of Paul unto the churches which were in Galatia the apostle Paul instructs and encourages them to stand—and not only to stand, but also to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free. When writing to the churches which were in Galatia we find the apostle Paul instructing these churches to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had set them free. I have to admit that I absolutely love how the apostle Paul didn’t merely encourage and instruct these churches to stand in the liberty wherewith Christ had set them free, but he instructed them to stand fast in the liberty wherein Christ had set them free. The direct combination of these two words—“stand” and “fast”—directly suggests the incredible reality that when it comes to the liberty wherewith Christ has set us free, it is absolutely necessary that we fully and completely engage ourselves in that liberty. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that when it comes to the liberty wherewith Christ has set us free that we firmly and resolutely commit ourselves to that liberty. This reality and concept of liberty which the apostle Paul writes and speaks about within this epistle to the churches in Galatia is absolutely and utterly necessary for us as the saints of God to recognize and pay close attention to, for it isn’t enough simply that Christ has set us free and has offered and afforded us liberty and freedom in Him. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus Himself spoke unto those Jews which believed on Him—words which are recorded in the eighth chapter of the gospel which the apostle John wrote to chronicle the life and ministry of the Christ. IN verses thirty-one and thirty-two of the eighth chapter of John’s gospel we find the following words spoken directly be Jesus: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). In verses thirty-four through thirty-six we find Jesus again speaking of freedom unto those Jews which believed in Him after they had a specific response to His previous words concerning freedom. Consider if you will the words which Jesus spoke in direct response to their words: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever> if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:4-36).
Twice within six verses we find Jesus the Christ speaking directly to the concept and reality of freedom and being set free. His words concerning freedom began with a powerful and emphatic statement and declaration that those who continue in His word are not only His disciples, but those who continue in His word will know the truth, and that truth—the truth contained within His word—can, will and shall make them free. More often than not we have isolated this particular verse and have declared “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” however, I am convinced that throughout the years and throughout the centuries we have done a great disservice to the original meaning and intent of Jesus when He spoke these words. When we read the words which Jesus spoke unto those Jews which believed on Him we do not find Him declaring “and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” alone. Jesus didn’t merely state and declare that we shall know the truth, and the truth shall set us free, for there is a first step and a precursor to knowing the truth which shall make us free—a step which countless men and women have ignored, and perhaps even rejected. When Jesus was speaking unto those Jews which believed on Him He first began by declaring unto them that if they continued in His word, then would they be His disciples indeed. Pause right there for a moment, for in the thirty-first verse of this particular passage we not only find the need to continue in the word of Jesus, but we also find the byproduct of continuing in His word, which is that we who continue in His word are His disciples indeed. I can’t help but see a tremendous challenge that is found and contained within this particular passage of Scripture, for not only do we encounter the overwhelming need to continue in the word(s) of Jesus, but there is also a direct response to continuing in His word—namely, that are are indeed His disciples. In other words, before we can even think about knowing the truth, and before we can even think about that truth setting us free, we must first continue in the word of Christ, and indeed be one of His disciples. I am utterly and completely convinced that only those who continue in the word(s) of Jesus, and only those who are indeed disciples of Jesus can know the truth, and be completely and totally set free as a direct result of knowing that truth.
I would dare say there are countless men and women who would absolutely love to profess this reality over their lives—the reality that they know the truth, and that truth shall make them free—yet as you look upon and carefully examine their lives you notice there is absolutely no evidence of them continuing in the word(s) of Jesus, or even of their indeed being disciples of Jesus. The more I read and study the words which Jesus spoke and declared unto those Jews which believed on Him, the more I can’t help but see two prerequisites for knowing the truth, and the knowledge of that truth making us free. Within the thirty-first and thirty-second verse of this particular chapter within the gospel according to John we find both the reality of obedience to the word(s) of Jesus, as well as discipleship. What’s more, is that disciples is always, still is, and will always be a byproduct of continuing in the word(s) of Jesus. Within these two verses I can’t help but be directly confronted with two claims which countless saints make which aren’t necessarily true—claims which might very well be proven false and inaccurate. The first claim which countless saints make is that they are indeed and are in fact disciples of Jesus, while the second claim is that they know the truth, and the truth has indeed and has in fact set them free. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus spoke unto His disciples, which are recorded for us in the fifteenth chapter of the same New Testament gospel according to John. Beginning with the seventh verse of the fifteenth chapter we find the following words: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love” (John 15:7-10). It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we clearly understand that discipleship is and has always been marked by continuing in the word(s) of Jesus, and by allowing that word to abide within us. In all reality, I would dare say that until and unless we are truly willing to continue in the word(s) of Christ, and to allow that word to abide within us, we dare not, we cannot, we must not call ourselves true disciples of Jesus who is the Christ.
The more I read and the more I consider the words which Jesus spoke unto those Jews which believed on Him, the more I can’t help but come to the realization and understanding that discipleship and freedom are both direct results and byproducts of continuing in the word(s) of Jesus. Jesus not only declared that we would indeed be His disciples if we continued in His word, but He also went on to declare that if we continued in His word, and if we were truly His disciples, we would not the truth, and the truth shall make us free. ONLY DISCIPLES CAN TRULY BE FREE! I am utterly and completely convinced that only the true, only the genuine, only the authentic disciples of Jesus can in fact know the truth, and that truth makes them free. Discipleship is a byproduct of continuing in the word of Jesus, and knowing the truth and being set free by that truth are direct results of continuing in the word of Jesus, and indeed being His disciples. I am reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle which he sent unto the saints which were at Rome—words which are found and recorded in the tenth chapter of the epistle. Beginning with the eleventh verse of the tenth chapter we find and will read the following words: “For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not healed? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beatific are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things. But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:11-17). It is absolutely imperative and necessary that we not only hear the word, but also become and continue to be doers of the word; for, only those who continue in and who also do the word can and shall indeed be disciples of Jesus.
Consider if you will the words which James wrote in the first chapter of the epistle which bears his name: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filtiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engraftment word, which is able to save your souls. But ye ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face ina. Glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and contuieth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is in vain. Pure religion and undefined before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:19-27). I am also reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote earlier on in the epistle which was sent unto the saints which were at Rome: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:12-15). Both the words which James wrote in his epistle, as well as the words with Paul wrote in his epistle have their foundation in words which Jesus spoke—words which closed out and concluded His famous Sermon on the Mount. Beginning to read with the twenty-fourth verse of the seventh chapter of the gospel according to Matthew we find the following words: “Therefore Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).
When we read the words which Jesus spoke unto those Jews which believed on Him as is recorded in the eighth chapter of the gospel of John we find Him speaking of continuing in His word, which we must understand as not only hearing His word, but also doing His word, and abiding in His word. It’s necessary that we recognize and understand this, for only those disciples who both hear the word(s) of Jesus and do the word(s) of Jesus are truly His disciples indeed. What’s more, is that I would even dare say that we might not even have a leg to stand on in stating that we know the truth which sets us free if we merely hear the word(s) of Jesus and do not do them. It would be very easy to merely hear the word(s) of Jesus and immediately profess that we know the truth and that truth has set us free, yet we demonstrate freedom—not in hearing the word(s) of Jesus but in doing the word(s) of Jesus. I have never known anyone to demonstrate the freedom they profess to have in Christ by merely listening to and being a hearer of the word(s) of Jesus alone. This is perhaps why those Jews who believed on Jesus had such a difficult time with these words, for as you continue reading this passage you will find that these Jews responded to Jesus by declaring unto Him, “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?” (John 8:33). The Jews who believed on Jesus did not and could not believe that they were ever in bondage to any man—a reality which was neither true not accurate. One thing we must recognize and understand concerning this time is that Judaea and Samaria were under Roman control, and even the Jews themselves were under the dominion, the authority and the government of Rome. What’s more, is when you factor in the presence of Pilate in Jerusalem, as well as Herod, you will clearly see that the Jews were directly subjected to Roman authority and dominion in their own land. Though it was perhaps true that they were never in bondage to any man as their ancestors were in the land of Egypt for more than four hundred years, the bondage Jesus spoke about wasn’t a physical and natural bondage.
The bondage which Jesus spoke about was an unseen and invisible bondage which they weren’t even aware of. This reality is expressed even further as the chapter progresses, for Jesus goes on to declare unto them that whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin. When Jesus speaks to them of freedom, He wasn’t speaking to them of their being in bondage to man, or even being in bondage to the tyranny and dominion of Rome in the earth. The bondage and oppression which Jesus was speaking about was a bondage and servitude to sin, for Jesus emphatically declared that whosoever commits sin is indeed the servant of sin. Jesus would go on to declare that if the Son—if Jesus who is both the Christ and the Son of God—shall indeed and shall in fact make them free, they would be free indeed. It’s absolutely incredible and wonderful to read this passage of Scripture and not only discover the reality of being disciples indeed, but also of being free indeed. What’s more, is that within this passage we discover the two-fold manifestation of freedom within our hearts and lives as the disciples of Jesus the Christ. On the one hand Jesus declares that we shall know the truth when we continue in His word, and the truth which we know from and within that word will make us free. On the other hand Jesus declares that if He being the Son shall make us free, we shall be free indeed. In other words, the only way we can truly experience freedom is by knowing the truth, and the truth setting us free, and by the Son making us free. It is only through and with the combination of the truth contained within the word(s) of Christ, as well as Jesus the Christ Himself making us free that we can truly be free and free indeed. The question we must ask ourselves when reading the words of Jesus within this passage is whether or not we are even aware of the bondage that is currently present within our hearts and lives. The Jews present on this particular occasion—though they believed on Jesus—could not see, nor were they even aware of the fact that they were in bondage and slavery—not only to sin itself, but also to another who was their true father. It’s worth noting that it is possible to believe on Jesus, and yet still be in bondage and slavery to sin, and to do the works of the devil in the earth. The bondage which Jesus speaks of in this particular passage of Scripture is a bondage that was completely and entirely unto sin, for Jesus emphatically declared that those who commit sin are indeed and are in fact the servant of sin. The freedom which Jesus spoke about in this passage of Scripture was not a freedom from the tyranny, the dominion, the oppression, and the government of Rome, but freedom from the bondage of and the bondage to sin.
It’s necessary to read and consider the words of Jesus recorded by the apostle John in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus, for in the fifth chapter of the epistle written unto the churches in Galatia we find the apostle speaking of the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. What’s more, is that this wasn’t he first time within this epistle the apostle Paul wrote and spoke about the freedom and liberty we have in Christ, for if you turn and direct your attention back to the second chapter of the same New Testament epistle you will find the apostle writing concerning false brethren who unawares were brought in—those who came in privly to spy out the liberty they had in Christ Jesus, in order that they might bring them into bondage. I have written in previous writings concerning the epistle which Paul wrote unto the churches which were in Galatia that there is a second bondage—a “Bondage A.D.”—if you will, which we as the saints of God can experience if we aren’t careful. It is true that there is a bondage, a slavery, and an oppression to sin—a bondage which can in all reality lead to death, for the wages of sin is in fact death. There is, however, a second bondage which is not a bondage unto sin, which we knew and experienced in our life before Christ, but a bondage which is a bondage unto religion in our life after Christ. When the apostle Paul speaks of the liberty we have in Christ when writing unto the churches which were in Galatia, we must recognize and understand that this bondage wasn’t a bondage to sin which leads to death, but a bondage which leads to religion which also leads to death. There is a bondage before Christ which can and does lead to death, but just as surely and certainly as there is a bondage before Christ which leads to death, so also is there a bondage after Christ which also leads to death—a bondage unto religion which is evidenced and manifested through the works of the law. If there is one thing we must understand with every fiber of our beings, it’s that the bondage of religion is just as dangerous and deadly as bondage unto sin, for this bondage takes place—not in our life before Christ, but in our life after Christ. This bondage unto religion is a bondage which more often than not—if we aren’t careful, and if we aren’t discerning or wise enough to recognize it—will go hidden, concealed and unnoticed throughout much of our life.
There is a great amount of language found and contained within the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the churches concerning this bondage to religion—this bondage unto the works of the law, which does in fact lead to death and remove us from the true gospel which is found in the person of Jesus Christ. In the first chapter of this particular epistle the apostle Paul writes the following words: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-10). In the second chapter of this epistle we find the apostle Paul writing the following words unto these churches in Galatia: “But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: and that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privly to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God acceptath no man’s person) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me. But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter” (Galatians 2:3-8). In the final verses of this second chapter we find the following words written unto these churches concerning the danger in seeking to be justified by the works of the law: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and. Not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I throughly the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lieveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:16-20).
IN the third chapter of this epistle the apostle Paul goes on to directly confront these churches in Galatia, for they had allowed themselves to be deceived by these false brethren who not only sought to pervert and twist the gospel, but who also sought to bring them into bondage once more. There is not a doubt in my mind that if the adversary has to release you from the slavery, bondage and oppression from sin, he can and will most certainly seek to bring you into a different type of bondage—a bondage of religion which leads to death. Consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the third chapter of this epistle unto the churches in Galatia: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith” (Galatians 3:1-5). The apostle Paul goes on to further indict this bondage to religion which is evidenced through one’s seeking to be justified by the works of the law in the fourth chapter when he writes the following words: “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain” (Galatians 4:6-11). In verse twenty-one of the fourth chapter of this epistle the apostle Paul writes these words: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” (Galatians 4:21). Each of these passages brings us face to face with this second bondage which can find its way into the hearts and lives of the saints of God—namely, a bondage unto religion which does in fact lead to death.
When writing the words which are found and contained within the fifth chapter of this epistle unto the churches which were in Galatia the apostle Paul instructs and encourages the churches to stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. This reality is perhaps best seen and found in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts where we read of certain men which came down from Judaea and attempted to teach the brethren that unless and except they were circumcised they would and could not be saved. Consider if you will the account as it was recorded by Luke the beloved physician: “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversation of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them” (Acts 15:1-12).
THE GOSPEL OF RELIGION! THE GOSPEL OF BONDAGE! THE GOSPEL OF THE PHARISEES! We must carefully consider the account as it is recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts, for it not only speaks to this reality of “Bondage A.D.,” but it also directly speaks to and confirms the words which Jesus Himself spoke when He indicted the Pharisees. Beginning with the first verse of the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel according to Matthew we find the following words: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do. Not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for on is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But He that is greatest among you shall be your servant, and whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:1-13). When speaking concerning and when indicting the Pharisees Jesus declares of them that they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on. Men’s shoulders; however, the same ones who bind heavy burdens which are grievous to be borne and place them on men’s shoulders will not lift one finger to move those burdens. It is this bondage which Jesus spoke about when indicting the Pharisees which we must understand when reading the words of the apostle Paul, for there is a bondage that once more leads to death within the life of those who say they are in Christ.
In concluding and wrapping up this particular writing, we must first encounter the invitation, the instruction, and the encouragement to stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. What’s more, is we must diligently strive to be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage—the yoke of the bondage of religion. There were those who crept in among the churches in order to once more bring them into bondage, for it was back then, and is still to this day Satan’s desire to bring us into bondage—even after we have turned to and believed on Jesus Christ. If we equate bondage only to sin, iniquity, immorality, wickedness and rebellion, we open ourselves wide to deception. The apostle Paul instructed the churches in Galatia to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free, for it is only to the degree and measure we stand fast in that liberty we can overcome the temptation to once more be entangled with the yoke of bondage. I firmly believe that there have been certain men and women who have traded one bondage for another bondage—namely, trading the bondage of sin for the bondage of religion. What’s more, is that such individuals who seek to be justified by the works of the law, and those individuals who allow themselves to be in bondage to religion find themselves in a place where Christ is and Christ has become of no effect to them. In fact, the only act Christ can manifest within their hearts and lives is to completely deliver and set them free from this bondage to religion. It is my prayer that Jesus who is both Christ and Lord confront and completely destroy the Pharisee that lies within each and every one of us. We dare not be so naïve to think and believe that there is not a Pharisee which lies dormant within our hearts and lives, for that Pharisee can and will seek to bring itself under the yoke of the bondage of religion which leads to death. We must recognize that either we put to death the inner Pharisee within ourselves which seeks to be brought under the yoke of the bondage of religion, or we allow that Pharisee to remain, and that Pharisee kills and destroys us. In the fourth chapter we are called to cast out the bondwoman which gendereth to bondage—namely Sinai, which correlates to the law given unto Moses—and in the fifth chapter we are called to utterly and completely destroy the inner Pharisee that is present within each and every one of us.