Up to this point in Paul’s epistle to the churches of Galatia, his emphasis and essence of His message has been freedom from the curse of the law. In chapter 5, Paul comes to the practical application of the epistle – he’s done arguing, he’s done reasoning, now he brings the practical application and commands, beginning with the command to “stand firm.” When one turns to Christ, he turns away from the Law of Moses as a means of salvation and begins living under the dominion of Christ and the Holy Spirit whom the Father has sent into his heart. The Christian is free from sin, from a guilty conscience, from the fear of wrath, and from the curse of the law.
While Paul argues that those who are in Christ are then free from the law, what we need to understand is that our view of freedom and Paul’s are very different. While many think of freedom as being left alone, Paul’s understanding of freedom involves slavery to God and His will. Many believe freedom to be the liberty of will to determine one’s goals and direction in life; but for Paul freedom meant interdependence, not independence. True freedom then is liberation from the bondage of self-will and self-living, and involves the capacity to live for God and neighbor. So the irony is that you are truly free when you become a bond-slave to God; this is the freedom for which Christ has set you free. The person who is truly free is a person who trusts, loves, and obeys God through Christ and in the Spirit loves and serves others. The child of God who has this freedom lives before God with a clear and free conscience, as he or she grows before God in holiness and love.