You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
It is somewhat ironic that Paul says one can fall from grace by trying to be right with God through rule-keeping. But the fact is, to ever be justified by keeping God’s rules would require one to keep all the rules perfectly, all the time!
However, everyone sins. Nobody is perfect. That’s why grace is needed in the first place!
In truth, if people could live perfectly sinless lives, they would have no need of the grace of God. They could earn their right standing before God through their own perfection!
Paul wants the Christians in Galatia to see the stark choice before them. They cannot choose part Grace and part Law. It is all one way or the other!
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.
How good one is or how bad is not the test when it comes to being accepted by God. Only one Person has ever been good enough to stand before God. His name is Jesus.
It is only by faith in Him that people can be right with God!
Of course, Paul is not saying behavior isn’t important. That it doesn’t matter how imperfectly we live! Students of Jesus are in the process of becoming more like their Teacher.
As we become more like Jesus our lives naturally change for the better and we become more pleasing to God. So Paul writes:
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.