Paul here describes the gospel message. He states that these facts were true.
- Christ has set believers free. They are not to go back under slavery to the law of the Old Testament.
- The false teachers were trying to get the Galatian believers to observe the law as a mean of getting right with God and staying right with Him.
- Paul reminds his readers in 5:1 that there are free already in Christ, and have to stand in that freedom by rejecting the false teachers. Later he tells them to live in that freedom 5:13.
- His readers have the freedom to choose to walk by the Spirit or to live by the dictates of their old flesh nature, 5:16-26.
A. THE CONTRAST BETWEEN GOD’S WAY AND HUMAN’S WAY. 5:1-6
GOD’S WAY OF FAITH. SPIRIT
HUMAN WAY OF WORKS. FLESH
FREEDOM. (1) For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore,
SLAVERY. And do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
(2) Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision,
(3) I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that
(5) For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.
(6) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
B. THE PROBLEMS BROUGHT IN BY THE FALSE TEACHERS . 5:7-9
- They had a negative effect on the believers in Galatia, (7) You were running well.
- They were a hindrance to believers obeying the truth. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
- The pressure they put on believers was not from God. (8) This persuasion is not from him who calls you.
- Their evil influence could spread. (9) A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
C. PAUL’S CONFIDENCE AND WISH. 5:10-12
- He trusted God to protect them. (10) I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is.
- (11) His critics accused him of having the same message. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. But the fact they persecuted him showed he didn’t.
- He wanted His readers to be free of the influence of false teachers. (12) I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
D. CHRISTIAN FREEDOM TO LOVE OTHERS AND TO LIVE FOR GOD. 5:13-19
HOW FREEDOM BEHAVES. In a loving way! (13) For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (14) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” (15) But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
THE CHOICE IN CHRISTIAN LIVING. To walk (live) by the flesh or to live by the Spirit.
The advantages of walking by the Spirit.
- Victory over the flesh nature. (16) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
- The Spirit helps believers in their victory over their flesh nature. (17) For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
- Allows one to walk in freedom. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (19) Now the works of the flesh are evident:
E. THE WORKS OF THE FLESH. THE OLD NATURE. HUMANS APART FROM GOD. UNREGENERATE. NOT BORN AGAIN. 5:19-21
|IN THE SEXUAL SPHERE. Sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality. As Jesus said, sin is in the thought life as well.|
|IN THE RELIGIOUS SPHERE. (20) idolatry. Sorcery. Worshipping other gods and dabbling with the powers of darkness.|
|IN THE SOCIAL SPHERE. …… enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, (drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.) Anti-social behaviours which were inappropriate and unnecessary for believers.|
|IN THE DRINKING SPHERE. Drunkenness, orgies and things like these.|
THE CONCLUSION: I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Continual living in this way is an indication they have not been born of the Holy Spirit of God. Such ongoing behaviour shows they are not in the kingdom of God.) (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is
F. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. 5:22-23. (The outward evidence of the life of God within the believer).
love, joy, peace. Jesus spoke of the disciples sharing His love, joy and peace.
Patience, kindness. The attitudes one should and can adopt to others by the grace of God.
goodness, faithfulness (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. The inner qualities made available to believers by the Holy Spirit in the grace of God.
G. A FINAL REMINDER OF WHO THEY WERE IN CHRIST. 5:24-26
Through their faith-union with Christ they were dead to the old. (Cf., Gal 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ …. .) 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
They were now alive to God. The Spirit gave them life. Now He could guide them to walk in God’s way. (25) If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
They were brothers and sisters in Christ in the same family of God. (26) Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
- (They had all received the Holy Spirit to enable them to come equally into God’s family. There was no room for pride. It was all from God’s grace.
- They had all received the Holy Spirit to enable them to live in love for one another. They could love with God’s love, Romans 5:5. When love is flowing, provocation ceases.
- They had all received the Holy Spirit. There was no need to envy others in the family who had also received the same gift.
Blog 093. Jim Holbeck. Posted Monday 17th September 2012