1a Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.
This is an exhortation from the apostle Paul to the Galatian believers not to allow themselves to be intimidated by the false teachers, such as Judaizers, who insisted that circumcision and other ceremonial ordinances of the Old Testament law are obligatory for salvation. Paul had been warning the Galatians against them – “because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily 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” (Galatians 2:4-5).
Paul then established them in the truth of the Gospel, saying, “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” (Galatians 2:16). In fact, if he ever taught them that “righteousness come by the law”, he would “frustrate the grace of God” (2:21). Later in Galatians 3:24-25, Paul expressly taught them that the law was a schoolmaster or guide “to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Paul also told them that “if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing” (5:2), and that “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (5:4). It is for those reasons that Paul exhorted the Galatian believers to stand firm in the liberty that Christ has won for them, and not be brought again under the bondage of ceremonies.
Christ has already freed us from many tyrannical masters. Here is a list of the bondages from which we are freed: (1) bondage of sin (Romans 6:14, 18, 22); (2) accusing conscience (Hebrews 9:8-12; 10:1-10, 19, 22); (3) wrath of God (Romans 5:9, 10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10); (4) Satan’s tyranny (2 Timothy 2:26; Hebrews 2:14); (5) curse of the law (Galatians 3:13); (6) law of ceremonies (Romans 8:2; Ephesians 2:14-16); (7) human traditions and ordinances (Galatians 4:10-11; 1 Corinthians 7:23; 1 Peter 1:18).
Not to stand firm by faith in the freedom that Christ has promised is to continue under all those terrible oppressions. Let us be firm in maintaining the great principles of Christian liberty and never again yield to those things that once enslaved us.