In Galatians 4, Paul completed his explanation of the gospel. He warned that if they continued to listen to their new teachers, they would eventually turn away from the gospel. In fact, he even expressed doubts about their salvation if they continued to believe they could do anything to add to their faith (4:8-20).
What Is The Gospel?
Paul taught that a person is brought into relationship with God through her faith in what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished. He sacrificed His perfect life so God the Father could declare her righteous. She is granted eternal life through no merit of her own, and she can never do anything either to lose it or to add to that declaration by God. She is “in Christ,” clothed in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. She is righteous, even though sin keeps popping up everyday! She has been given a special gift, the Spirit of God who lives in her, to comfort her, to guide her, to show her how to live wisely and in a way that is pleasing to her Father in heaven. She hears a voice deep within her, assuring her that God has accepted her. “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:14-17). She hears what the Bible says about her. She has been freed from her bondage to her addictive, sinful reactions to people and circumstances. She is free from her cultural and family traditions and open to how the Bible tells her to act and be. She is free from her own expectations that she can “do something” to make herself acceptable to God. She knows she is a child of God, and so, all the promises of God are hers. She is part of the people of God, a true descendant of Abraham (Romans 4:16-18).
But, we still hear voices telling us we must do more. (These Galatians were doubting that faith was enough. It was easier to just do what their new leaders told them to do than to stand on their own two feet and work life out for themselves. It was easier to become a slave than to live as a free person accountable for their own choices.) Leaders, friends, family members are always wanting us to do life their way! There may be advantages to their way of doing things, but it does not make your hope of salvation any more secure. You do not have to please them, to listen to them in the sense of being controlled by them.
“You must home school.” “You can’t work outside the home.” “You must cater to your husband’s every whim.” “Eat only organic.” “Recycle.” “Get off the electric and water grid to save the earth.” “Look into yourself and see the good.” “Take good care of yourself.” “Never miss family devotions or family meals.” “Declutter.” “Volunteer in compassion ministries.” “Cook meals for your neighbors and church members and church dinners.” “Exercise, exercise, exercise!” “Get your children baptized as young as possible!” “Do all these things and everyone will know what a good person you really are.”
Exhausting, isn’t it? “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). What makes a difference for us free women is our faith working itself out in love—love for God and others (5:6). We must work daily life out for ourselves. Our faith in Jesus Christ, and therefore, our hope for righteousness and its resulting eternal life, is demonstrated through our love for God and others. We don’t have to listen to all the “You musts.” “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (5:13-14).
Christian living is a life of liberty and love.