What’s it all about? Paul is warning the Galatians of the dangers of relying upon the Old Covenant and rejecting the grace of God in Christ. By submitting themselves to the requirements of the Law for salvation, they were alienating themselves from Christ: the only means of salvation.
So what? Like the Galatians, we too must not submit to any religious activity beyond repentance and faith in Christ as the means of salvation. To do so, would demonstrate a misunderstanding of the gospel and reveal that we have not rightly understood and applied the gospel. Therefore, we must reject anything other than repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ as the way of salvation.
Questions from the Text:
1. What is the significance of Paul’s warning (5:2)?
2. Can a person pick and choose what aspects of the law he observes as a means of salvation (5:3-4)? If not, why?
3. What is the future hope of those who put their trust in Christ alone for salvation (5:5-6)?
Now what? First, we must affirm and apply the truth that there is only one way of salvation: repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ. Second, we must be vigilant in guarding ourselves, our families, and our church against false teaching and apostasy.
 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.  I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.  You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.  For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:2-6 ESV)
Small Group Questions – Scripture: Matthew 5:17-20
1. In light of what we read in Galatians 5:2-6, how are we to understand Jesus’ teaching on the law?
2. In what ways did Jesus fulfill the Law & Prophets?
3. How are Christians to apply Jesus’ statement that “whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:19)?
- How is it possible for your righteousness to exceed that of the Pharisees?