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Galatians 5:1

ESV For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
NIV It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
NASB It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
CSB For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and don't submit again to a yoke of slavery.
NLT So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
KJV Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

What does Galatians 5:1 mean?

Paul is writing to a group of Christians in the region of Galatia. He met them when he traveled through their area and preached the message of Jesus to them (Galatians 1:11). They heard from Paul that, through faith in Jesus' death for their sins on the cross, they could be forgiven by God and welcomed into His family as His children. They believed (Galatians 1:6).

Later, though, a group of Jewish religious leaders from Jerusalem showed up to add to what Paul taught them. These men said that it was good to believe in Jesus, but they also said men must be circumcised and all must follow the law of Moses to truly be included in the family of God (Galatians 2:4). Without the works of the law, nobody could be saved.

Paul has spent the last two chapters building a case against this teaching. He has been emphatic that the rituals and sacraments of the law cannot save anyone. The law reveals our sinfulness, but it cannot provide a way out (Galatians 3:22–24). Jesus is the only one who ever kept the law of Moses perfectly, and then He died to pay the penalty for the sins of others. Those who continue to follow the law in order to be right before God are still slaves to their own sin, Paul has written (Galatians 4:8–9). Those who come to God by faith in Christ are free.

Now Paul repeats that message with a call to rebellion against sin and slavery. He tells the Galatians—and, by extension, all Christians—that Christ has set us free, so we ought to stand firm. We should not take that yoke of slavery again. In other words, believers ought not let anyone tell them they must follow all of the rules and restrictions of the law of Moses to be right with God.

Paul will show in the following verses the dire consequences of trying to be justified by God through following the law.
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