Galatians 5:1-5
Gal 5:1 (KJB)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Stand fast - Stand firm or persevere
Liberty - Freedom
Entangled - To be subject to or ensnared
Yoke - Something that couples together
Paul now admonishes the Galatians to stand firm in the liberty which Christ had made them free from having to keep the tenets of the law. The essence of Christian Liberty is not that we have been made free so we can smoke, drink, and party as I have heard some small minds explain it away. The essence of Christian Liberty is that because of salvation by grace alone, we are not under any obligation to keep the law for salvation. This is why Paul is saying to the Galatians that they should not become entangled with this yoke of bondage. A yoke couples two things together and neither of them can get free until they are freed from the outside. The law binds the person it is coupled to and will not let it go because it is something that is perpetual. If a person chooses to keep the law for salvation, then they must live in it in perpetuity. The problem is that those who live in the law cannot keep the law and therefore that yoke of bondage does not lead to salvation but eternal damnation.
Let me just say a word about Christian liberty. Too many Christians feel that Christ went to the cross to allow us the freedom to do what we want. I once heard a preacher state that drinking highballs and women wearing miniskirts was exercising Christian liberty. Christ did not go to the cross to give us permission to continue and even increase our sinning. He went to the cross to grant His Elect salvation and to remove the yoke of the bondage of the law so the believer can work freely in this world to bring the gospel to the world. The law yokes us to ritual but grace frees us from that yoke and allows us to do the work of the Lord without hindrance. The idea that Christian liberty means “party time” is straight from the pit of hell.
Gal 5:2 (KJB)
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
Shall profit - Benefit, aid, or help
If a person chooses to keep the law and Paul here uses circumcision as a synonym for the law, then Christ shall profit them nothing. Those who attempt to keep the law are basically saying that Christ’s sacrifice was meaningless and therefore they have to gain salvation by themselves. If they circumvent the cross, then on judgment day they must pay for their sins for eternity. No one can become saved avoiding the cross, they must come through the cross for salvation. There is zero benefit in trying to gain salvation by the law because on judgment day their failures will become obvious.
Gal 5:3 (KJB)
For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Testify - A witness
Debtor - One who is obligated or guilty of fault
Paul is a witness to every man that chooses to keep the law that they are debtor to do the whole law. This means that they must keep every tenet perfectly of the entire law and there can be no cutting corners nor excuses. If a person fails to keep the law, even just one minor infraction, they will wind up in Hell. (James 2:10 KJV) For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For all it takes is one sin to send us to Hell. A big detail that these law keepers were not taking into account that when Christ went to the cross, He fulfilled the entire law perfectly because He was sinless but every man and woman born on earth is born with original sin, which means that we have already sinned from the moment of birth, so no matter how a person tries to keep the law, they can never atone for their sins of infanthood. (Psa 58:3-4 KJV) The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. {4} Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;
Gal 5:4 (KJB)
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Is become of no effect unto you - Useless, vain or abolished
Ye are fallen - To fall out of or drop away
Paul here makes a solemn declaration that those who choose to justify themselves according to the law, Christ has become useless to them and therefore they have fallen from grace. This means that those who attempt to keep the law have no chance of salvation in keeping the law unless it is kept perfectly. By falling from grace, they have exchanged the only way of salvation for a completely dead end. Now many try to use this verse to prove that you can lose your salvation. This is false because a true believer can never lose their salvation, hence the term, eternal life. Paul is making a comparison between salvation plans, those who keep the law are diametrically opposed to grace and the two can never meet or compromise. Either you are saved by grace alone or you are attempting to save yourself by keeping the law. If you choose the law, then you have nothing to do with grace which means your doom is sure.
Gal 5:5 (KJB)
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Now Paul contrasts the negative with a great positive statement in that what was not possible by the law, was possible through grace. When a person is saved by grace alone, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives them the hope of being righteous before God through the Lord Jesus Christ. This righteousness is really another way of saying that we are justified by faith which is the only way a person becomes justified on earth, never through the law but only by the faith of Christ. Paul wants them to know that hope does not come through the law but only through the Lord Jesus Christ who bestows free grace upon His elect.