Religious law to a Christian is like whole wheat bread to a Celiac. It seems like such a good, spiritually healthy habit, but it's not! It's actually the opposite...it kills!
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 (ESV) - "Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."The Galatians, who had not been under the law...EVER...were listening to a little bit of "gluten" teaching, and it was affecting their entire perspective. In Galatians 5, Paul reminds the Galatians that they had heard and believed truth. He wants to know who's been telling them something different. Even it is just a little bit of "circumcision" talk, it's "leavening the whole lump (verse 9)." The gospel can contain no part of the law. In fact, in Galatians 5:2, Paul points out that it's either Christ or the law. And we all know that we desperately need Christ, because we've all failed the letter of the law already, so our efforts now are in vain and have the same end...death.
My friend's health has made a 180* turn since he got rid of the gluten that was killing him. Let's take a 180* from the law or anything that resembles law - rules, legalism, checklists of religious behavior - so that we might have LIFE!
I know you probably only had a wheat toast with peanut butter and cup of coffee's time to read this, but if you have a lunch break today, listen to this message by Dr. Andrew Farley. While I had the "gluten-free" thought on my own a month ago, I was so excited to hear him take the same concept and teach through Galatians 5. He gives much more background on the Galatians than I could give in a short article. Enjoy...you will not regret this spiritual meal!!