NASB - 1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
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The "yoke of slavery" to which Paul is referring is dependence upon obedience to the Mosaic Law (rather than, or in addition to, faith in Christ's death and resurrection) to receive salvation and eternal life. Paul's epistle to the Galatians was prompted by the fact that, after the church there had received the gospel of faith in Christ as the means of salvation, there were some who started telling the Galatian Christians that, although they had expressed faith in Christ, they were not saved unless they also kept the requirements of the Law. Paul wrote the epistle to emphasize that Christians had been freed from the requirements of the Law. For those who placed their faith in Christ, salvation was no longer contingent upon obedience to the Law's requirements (which no one (except Christ) had been, or could be, capable of keeping perfectly), but was a gift of God received apart from their works. This freedom meant that Christians could then perform works that were pleasing to God out of gratitude for the salvation that they had already received, rather than performing them out of necessity in a futile attempt to gain salvation by achieving through their own efforts the absolute holiness that God required. Those who claimed that obedience to the requirements of the Law was necessary in addition to faith were therefore attempting to once more figuratively place (as Paul said) a "yoke of slavery" on Christians, in the same way that a wooden yoke was placed on a team of oxen to control them.
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