Objections to Real Justification: Yoke of Bondage

Justification doesn’t just make you righteous in standing, it makes you practically righteous, able to do what is right. If you are not growing in righteousness you are not saved.

Saying this sort of plain statement will get a guy in trouble. Ask the Apostle Paul, who got his head cut off. Here’s how he put it:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

This passage is from Galatians, and I’m glad it is.

I have had people challenge my understanding of Justification by using Galatians, primarily chapter three.

They bring up how I’m being a foolish Galatian, we began in the Spirit, are we made perfect by the flesh? If you tell me to do something, that’s me in the flesh doing it.

I am then accused of putting the yoke of bondage back on people. By which they mean that I am putting people back under the law.

Which, again, this has nothing to do with what I’m talking about.

I’m not telling anyone to get circumcised, keep the Sabbath laws, food laws, or other rites of the Jewish law that governed their Old Covenant.

Sure, there are people and churches who do that, and I think they are misguided. But there’s actually a reason why there is a New Covenant.

Paul is battling the Jewish influence in Galatia to get Gentiles to become Jews in order to be saved.

I am not calling on anyone to observe the Jewish law, nor to keep commands of the Old Covenant between Israel and God.

What I am doing is letting people know that there is a behavior which is consistent with the New Covenant. There are commands in the New Testament. We’re supposed to do them. The Gospel equips us to be able to.

When people read about the law being a yoke of bondage, they assume that being free from the yoke of bondage means they don’t have to listen to anyone.

That is not true. Romans 6 clearly says that since we are no longer servants of sin in Christ, we become servants of righteousness. Servants of God. Servants of Jesus Christ. Present your bodies a living sacrifice, this is your reasonable service.

The yoke of bondage was the Old Testament law that had no spiritual power to help you do it. All it did was condemn and say “Good luck!” Israel was bound to that covenant whether they wanted to be or not.

All people in the New Covenant are there voluntarily. They chose this. They wanted this. They were sick of doing sin all the time. They wanted to be set free so they could do what was right.

The Gospel answers that desire. The Gospel justifies, makes us righteous, so we can be free from sin and become servants of righteousness. Serving sin is bondage; serving God, Christ, and righteousness is true freedom.

It’s truly a beautiful thing.

2 thoughts on “Objections to Real Justification: Yoke of Bondage”

  1. They wanted to be set free so they could do what was right.

    I think that illustrates a big difference between Jesus’s gospel and the popular gospel.

    The latter appeals to people motivated by the desire to escape hell instead of to people who want to do what is right.

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