Galatians 5:2

2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you.

Galatians 5:2 Meaning and Commentary

Galatians 5:2

Behold, I Paul say unto you
The apostle proceeds to give some reasons and arguments to enforce the above exhortation and dissuasion: the first of which is introduced with a note of attention, "behold"; what he was about to say being matter of great moment and importance; and also mentions himself by name, as the assertor of it; and that, either because his name was well known to them, and the rather because of his apostolical authority; and to show his full assurance of this matter, and his intrepidity, and that he was no ways ashamed of it, they might, if they pleased, say it to whomsoever they would, that Paul the apostle affirmed,

that if ye be circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing:
he speaks of circumcision, not as when it was an ordinance of God, but as it was now abolished by Christ; and that got as singly performed on some certain accounts for he himself circumcised Timothy for the sake of the Jews; but as done in order to salvation, or as necessary unto it; which was the doctrine the false apostles taught and these Galatians were ready to give into: now circumcision submitted to on this consideration, and with this view rendered Christ unprofitable, made his death to be in vain, his sacrifice of no effect, and his righteousness useless: besides, Christ is a whole Saviour, or none at all; to join anything with him and his righteousness, in the business of justification and salvation, is interpreted by him as a contempt and neglect of him, as laying him aside, and to such persons he is of no profit; and if he is not, what they have, and whatsoever they do, will be of no advantage; wealth and riches, yea, the whole world could it be gained, their works and righteousness, whatever show they make before men, God has declared shall not profit them; and trusting to these renders Christ unprofitable to them. This is directly contrary to the notions of the Jews, who think they shall be saved for their circumcision, and that that will secure them from hell; they say F13 no circumcised person goes down to hell, and that whoever is circumcised shall inherit the land; but there is none shall inherit the land, save a righteous person; but everyone that is circumcised is called a righteous man {n}; so that circumcision is their righteousness, on account of which they expect heaven and happiness.


FOOTNOTES:

F13 Shemot Rabba, sect. 19. fol. 104. 4.
F14 Zohar in Exod. fol. 10. 2.

Galatians 5:2 In-Context

1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you.
3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses.
4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.