“But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.” (Galatians 2:4 NASB)
A couple of days ago, we discussed the simplicity in Christ. In this verse, we see more clearly the problem of which Paul was alerting them. There were “false brethren” secretly brought in. This was a planned act of deception. These so-called brethren were not believers, but pretenders. They infiltrated the church with unscrupulous things in mind.
Paul said they were spying on the liberty they had in Christ. “Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6) “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
These false brethren did not like the liberty they saw. They saw people living in grace—freedom from the bondage of the law. However, they couldn’t take grace alone but wanted to bring them back under the bondage of the law.
We hear this same thing today. It’s probably not because false brethren snuck in, but preachers today are taking away the liberty and putting people back under the law. Most I’m sure do this unwittingly. The law kills. The law punishes and condemns. The law is not our friend. Preachers say without the law, the people will do whatever they want. Sin will be rampant.
Actually, the opposite is true. Grace sets us free to love God and removes the pressure of sin and punishment. Therefore, we can live in freedom to do the Word. Our behavior is a product of our fellowship with Jesus. Paul was vehement about these brethren trying to take away the liberty, which is in Christ, and putting them under the thumb of the law. That is not the gospel that Paul preached.