Twisted Text - Galatians 5:3,4 (A Debtor to the Whole Law)

Paul wrote,

3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

This is 100% true. Those who seek to be "justified," which means "set right," with God by the law remain condemned as lawbreakers (see Romans 3:19,20) for the simple reason that "all have sinned" (see Romans 3:23) and broken the Ten Commandments in the first place. When people trust in the law, or in their own efforts to keep it, they invariably remain under a crushing “debt” to God Himself they can never pay. The only deliverance from such bondage is by repentance and simple faith in Jesus Christ alone.

But once again, the question is: now what about the law? Are we free to keep breaking it? In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul then lists "the works of the flesh," which include "adultery" (breaking the 7th commandment), "idolatry" (breaking the 2nd commandment), and "murder" (breaking the 6th commandment), and then he shockingly warns that "those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (verse 21). In other words, no, the law doesn’t save us, but neither can we continue to willingly violate it and expect to go to heaven.

Then in verses 22 and 23 Paul lists "the fruit of the Spirit" specifically, and summarizes by saying, "against such there is no law" (verse 23). In other words, there is "no law" of God that is against love, joy and peace, but His law is still against idolatry, adultery, and murder.

Thus a careful reading of Galatians 5 lends no support to the false notion that we are now free to violate any one of the Ten Commandments. On the contrary, those who are truly filled with the Holy Spirit will keep them. Read Romans 8:4.

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