“Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.” (Gal. 5:2)
The verb look has the strong use of “pay attention here,” This is important, Paul is saying and he follows it with his name. This is Paul speaking and perhaps he is using his role as apostle or more than likely he is using his role as teacher and friend. The Galatians knew Paul and they knew his work among them. They had felt his concern and his love as he had preached the gospel to them when he was there. He wants them to remember that time. He especially wishes them to remember how he cared for them.
The Judaizers have been preaching circumcision to the Galatians. No doubt to the extent that they were claiming no circumcision then no salvation. To be the chosen people, the people of God, and the people of Abraham’s covenant the Gentiles had to practice circumcision. They had to go back under the old law to be pleasing to God.
This theory and practice were the exact opposite of the truth. The very second the Galatians returned or turned to the law they removed themselves from the saving grace of Jesus. What He had done on the cross was to no advantage to those who remained under the law. Paul has and is making it plain that it is the law that saves or it is Jesus that saves but it cannot be both.
The Judaizers were trying to convince the Galatian Christians that both the law and grace were required for salvation. Paul is arguing no, not at all. One or the other but not both. Since the law didn’t work, to begin with, and grace did work, why try both at the same time. Paul teaches that you can’t have both, you must choose. Law or Christ.
Task for Today: Don’t accept anything but Jesus. No Jesus plus _____. The minute you rely on something other than Jesus for your salvation you lose the Jesus advantage. You simply cannot create righteousness out of “good works” so don’t try.