CLAIM: Paul says that believers can be severed from Christ. Does this mean that Christians can lose their salvation?
RESPONSE: It is clear that these are believers (v.1; 7-10). However, this doesn’t refer to losing salvation. These believers did not break the law; they kept the law (i.e. circumcision). The sin of Galatians 5 is going back under law –not breaking it. It would be way out of bounds to use this passage to threaten Christians, who are in sin. Instead, this refers to sanctification and spiritual growth. In a sense, Paul is saying that the power cord on their spiritual life will be unplugged, if they fall under law. There are a number of reasons to adopt this view.
First, this is the context (v.7-26). Paul isn’t addressing justification in this section of Galatians. He is addressing sanctification.
Second, this is the language. Paul says that Christ will be of “no benefit” (v.2). The Greek for “severed” is katargeō, which means “to render idle, inactive, inoperative, to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency, to deprive of force, influence, power.”
Third, this is the argument of the letter. Throughout Galatians, Paul vehemently argues that law and faith are incompatible paths for spiritual growth (see also Gal. 3:3).