Archive for December 8th, 2008

The Yoke of Bondage

Monday, December 8th, 2008 at 8:53 pm

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

What is the yoke of bondage? We are warned not to be entangled by it, so it would be good for us to learn what is meant by the yoke of bondage.

Christ has made us free from this yoke. If we back up to chapter 4, we can see in the context the thing from which we have been set free.

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which engendereth to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. Galatians 4:21-31

Paul refers us back to the two sons of Abraham: Ishmael and Isaac. Ishamael was born of the bondmaid after the flesh, but Isaac was born of the freewoman after the promise (vv. 22-23). Paul said these two sons were allegories – they were symbols for something (v. 24). The bondwoman was symbolic of Mt. Sinai where God gave Moses the law including the Ten Commandments (v. 25). The freewoman was symbolic of the new Jerusalem which is above and is free (v. 26). Those who are saved are children of the promise as was Isaac (v. 28) and are thus free (v. 31). Christ has set us free from Mt. Sinai – the law. The law is the yoke of bondage. Why do you, if you have been made free by Christ, desire to be under the law again – under the yoke of bondage?

Now, before anyone accuses me of being antinomian (against the law) – or accuses me of saying we are free to lie, steal, murder, and commit adultery, I am not saying that. I am saying that when you direct people to the law as the guidelines on how to live – as a means of being right with God, you are putting them under the yoke of bondage. The law is holy and just and good (Romans 7:12), but the purpose of the law is to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). After Christ sets us free, we are no longer under the law (Galatians 3:25).

You may say that all that is true as far as justification goes. You say we cannot be justified by keeping the law and I agree. But we cannot stay right with God – we cannot increase or maintain righteousness by the law either. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes (Romans 10:4). Keeping the law doesn’t keep us right with God. And certainly keeping man-made rules and standards do not keep us right with God.

Christ is our justification and Christ is our righteousness. Don’t allow a Pharisee to put the yoke of bondage on you by compelling you to keep the law. If you are in Christ, Christ will work in you to keep the law.

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by gahammerle