Galatians 5:1–15 (ESV)
Christ Has Set Us Free
5 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
2 Look: I,
Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You
are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For
in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
7 You were running well. Who hindered you
from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you
will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been
removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do
not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But
if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Paul specifically argues that the acceptance of circumcision in principle violates Christian freedom and endangers a person’s
relationship to Christ. Congregational strife often arises when issues in the area of Christian freedom are elevated to the level of biblical doctrine. Christ Jesus loved us to the end so that He might lift the burden of guilt that troubles our consciences.
I pray: Lord, as we eagerly await Your coming, free us from pettiness and self-indulgence so that we may love one another. Amen.
A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House,
Galatians 4:21–31 (ESV)
Example of Hagar and Sarah
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But
the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children
for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she
is our mother. 27 For it is written,
“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than those of the one who has a husband.”
you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But
what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the
Paul reverses the Judaizers’ definition of Abraham’s true children. The uncircumcised Gentile Christians are Sarah’s children (and thus free), not
Hagar’s (slaves). Legalism (v 21) imagines that a saving relationship with God depends on certain rules and regulations. The Christian religion sets people free, giving birth to heirs of eternal life in Christ.
I pray: We rejoice, O Lord, that through faith we are already members of Your heavenly kingdom. Lead us to share our joy by sharing the promise in Jesus. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible
(St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2010.
Galatians 4:8–20 (ESV)
Paul’s Concern for the Galatians
8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather
to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I
am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.
12 Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you
are. You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise
me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have
I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made
much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! 20 I wish I could
be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
Paul appeals to the Galatians as a pastor with affection and tenderness, genuinely desiring to restore
their friendship and especially the freedom in Christ they once so gladly embraced. Tragically, enemies of the Gospel continue to camouflage their dishonorable intentions as they seek to draw people away from Christ. When pastors proclaim the Gospel, Christ
Himself is inviting all to return to Him for forgiveness and renewal of faith.
I pray: Heavenly Father, I pray for all ministers of the Word and the blessings they bring.
Through them, open our eyes to the truth. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2009.
Galatians 4:1–7 (ESV)
Sons and Heirs
4 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers
until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent
forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of
his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Holy Spirit assures us that we are God’s children, redeemed by Jesus Christ and made full heirs of the promise to Abraham. The Spirit never derides God’s Son or spiritual matters (1Co 12:3). Christ earned for us the right to call God “our
Father,” a prayer taught only by the Spirit.
I pray: Dear Father, in confidence and boldness I bring my needs before You. Hear me for the sake of Jesus alone. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible
(St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2008.
Galatians 3:15–29 (ESV)
The Law and the Promise
15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were
made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came
430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.
19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made,
and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.
the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the
promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under
the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has
come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There
is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Through Christ, God fulfills the promise He gave to Abraham. All united to Christ by Baptism become heirs of the promise and therefore are righteous before God. The Law, as between Moses
and Christ, still serves the good purpose of revealing sin and our need for a Savior. However, Christ does what the Law cannot do. He gives forgiveness and life.
I pray: Lord,
help us to see that in our congregation all are to be welcomed, whatever their background or place in life. Help us also to reach out to all with the message of Jesus’ love. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht,
The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2008.