What does Paul mean, “…be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage?” To understand Paul’s meaning we must look at a few words. First, the word liberty is essentially freedom as opposed to slavery or bondage. The word yoke gives us the picture of a beast of burden under a heavy oppression, which forces it to pull the plow and labor for its master.
With this picture in mind, let us turn our attention on the word entangled, which in the Greek means to hold a grudge or to hold a position, which is contrary to another party. The Gospel of Jesus Christ sets people free from the false belief that they are good enough to merit heaven, and they must earn favor with God by “good” works righteousness.
To be entangled again is to return to the teaching that we can merit heaven as opposed to the truth that God in Christ sets men free by FORGIVING them. Such entanglement turns men into beasts of burden under the heavy yoke of a lie that they are good enough to please God by their own good merits.
Those who strive for some goodness in themselves, by circumcision, water baptism, holy communion, good deeds, prayers, etc., are not living from gratitude for sins already forgiven, but seeking favor with God because of pride.
What does it mean to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage? It means to argue with God over who does the saving, as if Christ never went to the cross. Those so entangled turn gratitude into enslaving pride!