5:1 - 6 JUSTIFICATION
A. (1) Justification
by Faith. Exhortation based on 2:15-21
( 2, 3) Circumcision destructive to
A. (4) Justification
by Law makes Christ of no effect.
(5, 6) Circumcision of no avail.
|5:1 - STAND FAST IN THE
LIBERTY [NIV: Stand firm]
The teaching is that Christ died on the Cross to give
us the advantage of having this liberty or freedom. This liberty consists of the
believers freedom from the law.
Under the Law:
|The person has no more liberty than a child in its minority
under a guardian.
|The child has no freedom of action nor right of
|The child must move within a set of rules prescribed by his
guardian, even thought that guardian is a slave.
|The child is not mature enough to act alone.
Here were these Galatian believers, free from the law,
having been placed in the family of God as adult sons, indwelt by the Holy Spirit Who
would enable them to act out in their experience that maturity of Christian life in which
they were placed, now putting on the straight-jacket of the law, and depriving
themselves of the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Galatians, having escaped from the Slavery of Heathenism, were in danger of
becoming entangled in the meshes of the Legalistic Judaism - and after Calvary, a
"turn" to Judaism was counted as a "return" to Heathenism!
|5:3 - HE IS A DEBTOR
[NIV: He is obligated]
Not only would the Galatians lose the aid
of the Holy Spirit in the living of their Christian lives, but they would be assuming the
burden of the entire legalistic system.
The obligation is as the context shows, one which the believer ought not to assume. We,
the believers, are free from the law in three respects:
||free from the Condemnation it imposes upon the one who would
||free from the law as a Means of Justification.
||free from the Obligation to render obedience to its statutes.
The believer in this Age of Grace is obligated to obey
either all of the law or none of it.
WAS A LEGAL LEDGER
It showed our obligations of debt to God
But it was unable to help us pay it.
|5:6 - AVAILETH
[NIV: Has any value]
have power, to exert or wield power." In the case of the one who is joined to Christ
Jesus, the fact that he is circumcised or is not circumcised, has no power for anything in
his life. The thing that is of power to effect a transformation in the life of the
believer is Faith - the faith produced by the Holy Spirit.
5:7 - 6:10
(5:7-10) Exhortation as to Past Failure.
12) Pauls Teaching. Appeal.
(5:13-15) Walking in the Flesh.
||D. (5:16-18) Walking in
(5:19-21) Works of the Flesh.
||D. (5:22-26) Fruit of
Exhortation as to Future Conduct.
Pauls Hearers. Appeal.
|VS. 5:7 -
DID RUN = (etrechete) = The
Greek word here is in the imperfect tense, referring to a continuous action going on in
past time. Here, as in 4:12, Paul breaks off his argument to make an appeal to his readers
on the basis of their past experience. He uses the figure of a Greek runner: "you
were running well."
WELL = (kalos), suggesting the translation: "You were conducting
yourselves bravely, honorably, becomingly."
HINDER = (anakiphen), from (anakopto) = "to beat back, to
cut, make an incision, to hinder." When using the figure of a race, this word
suggests a breaking into the race course, a cutting in on a runner by another runner, thus
slowing up his progress.
The Galatian believers were running the Christian race well - beautifully - but the
Judaizers cut in on them and now were slowing up their progress in their growth in the
Christian life. They had deprived the Galatians of the ministry of the Holy spirit, and
were thrown back by self effort in an attempt to obey a set of legal restrictions, with
the result that their lives had lost the fragrance of the Lord Jesus and the enabling
power for service which the Spirit formerly gave them.
The question Paul asks is rhetorical, not for information. He knew well enough who had
slowed up the Christian growth of the Galatians, and so did they.
|5:8 - NOT FROM HIM THAT CALLETH YOU
This activity of the Judaizers does not come from the One who called them into
salvation - namely, God. This negative statement indicates that the influence which was
turning them away from Grace was actually hostile to God. He definitely expresses this in
the next verse where he speaks of the teachings of the Judaizers as leaven.
5:9 - LEAVEN = a symbol of evil in the Bible.
1. The Jews, before the days of unleavened bread each year, would remove every particle
of leaven from their homes. Leaven, which operates on the principle of fermentation, is an
apt symbol of moral and spiritual corruption. A very small lump readily permeates the
entire bread dough.
2. Jesus used it as a symbol of the false doctrines of the scribes and Pharisees (Matt.
3. In I Cor. 5:6, Paul uses the symbol to describe the immoral conduct of a few in the
church which was endangering the life of the entire church, and which unrebuked, would
spread through-out the local assembly.
The verb ( zumoi) is in the present tense - "A little leaven is
leavening the whole" - indicating that the process of doctrinal fermentation was
going on, but that it had not yet corrupted the entire church structure. It had made but a
Paul was more alarmed over its
than over the extent to which it had already permeated the churches.
|5:11 - THE OFFENSE OF THE CROSS
||Why was the Cross an offense to the Jew?
||If I yet preach circumcision, then is the
offense of the cross ceased.
In other words, if circumcision is preached as one of
the prerequisites of salvation, the the cross of Christ would cease to be an offense. The
offensiveness of the Cross to the Jew lay in the teaching that believers in the Lord,
whether Jew or gentile, are free from the Mosaic Law. It was offensive to the Jew
therefore, because it set aside the entire Mosaic economy, and offered salvation by Grace
through Faith alone, without the added factor of Works in an effort to merit the salvation
offered. The Cross did, in fact, fulfill the promise God made to Abraham so that the need
for the sign of that promise was no longer necessary.
|Promise to Abraham
sign of that promise: Cut away the Flesh)
|Cross of Christ
||(Death of the man - Flesh cut
off: Promise fulfilled)
|5:12 - CUT OFF
The word here referring to bodily mutilation. Paul expresses the wish that the
Judaizers would not stop with circumcision, but would go on to total castration.
The town of Pessinus was the home of the worship of Cybele in honor of whom bodily
mutilation was practiced. The priests of Cybele castrated themselves. This was a
recognized form of heathen self-devotion to the god and would not be shunned in ordinary
conversation. This explains the freedom with which Paul speaks of it to his Galatian
In Philippians 3:2, he speaks of the Judaizers as the "concision," or,
"those who mutilate themselves."
The whole expression shows that circumcision had become a purely physical act without
religious significance, and performed as a religious rite, it became a bodily mutilation
not different in character to the mutilations of the heathen religions. By glorying in the
flesh, the Galatians would be returning to the bondage of their former heathenism.
Clark offers this interpretation of verse 12: "Let those who are unsettling the
Church of Christ in your district be excommunicated; this is my wish, that they should no
longer have any place among you."
|5:13 - YE HAVE BEEN CALLED
The sentence, "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty," is
|Reaching back to all that has preceded it -
|Summing up the whole preceding argument for Christian
|Looking ahead to what follows -
in that it introduces a wholly new aspect of the matter of Christian
liberty - the danger of abusing it.
To The Jew - To those who have been accustomed to regard the law as the only
controlling factor that stands in the way of self-indulgence and a free rein in sin -
To The Gentile - To those who have not been accustomed to a high standard of ethics -
The teaching of Christian liberty might easily mean that there is nothing to stand in
the way of the unrestrained indulgence of ones own impulses.
Verse 13 goes on to say: "...only NOT
liberty for an occasion to the flesh ..."
WE ARE TO STAND FAST IN LIBERTY
BUT DONT ABUSE IT
Jesus taught, in Matthew 5, that our righteousness should exceed that of the scribes
and Pharisees. They were scrupulous in their observance of the law. Jesus said, however:
"Ye have heard it said, Thou shalt not ...
BUT I SAY ... "
NOW WE MUST DEAL WITH MOTIVES!
The only way our righteousness will exceed that of the Pharisees is if we partake (by
Faith) of the righteousness of Christ. He is the only One Who was able to satisfy both the
Letter and the Spirit of the law.
= not human affection which is swayed by changes of emotions, mood or circumstances.
|This is Divine love -
||love that is above the realm of human emotion -
||love that is constant regardless of circumstances -
||love that is beyond the merit of the one loved.
This love is produced in the heart of the yielded believer by the
Holy spirit; the love with which the believer would love his fellow-believers.
The chief essence of this love is Self-Sacrifice
for the benefit of the one who is loved.
SERVE - (douloo)
= quite literally, "slave".
The word Paul used when he spoke of the slavery that is imposed by the
law upon the one who is under law.
The Galatian believers were rescued from the slavery which legalism imposed, and
brought into a new servitude - that of a loving, glad, and willing service to God and man
which annihilates self and subordinates all selfish desires to love.
|This is the antidote against
using their liberty from the law as a pretext for sinning.
|This is the secret of victory
over the totally depraved nature that would attempt to induce the believer to use liberty
as a pretext to sin.
5:14 - ALL THE LAW IS FULFILLED IN
This statement becomes intelligible and consistent when we recognize the
|Believers, through their new relation to the
Lord Jesus, are released from the whole law as statutes, and from the obligation to obey
|All which Gods law requires as an
expression of His will is included in love.
|When the believer acts on the principle of love, he is
fulfilling in his actions toward God, his fellow-man, and himself, all that the Mosaic law
would require of him in his position in life if that law were in force.
|5:15 - BITE - DEVOUR - CONSUMED
This was common usage in connection with wild animals in deadly struggle. That
condition was existing in the Galatian churches. Neither the passage itself nor the
context tells us in so many words to what this condition of strife was due, but most
probably it was strife over matters on which the Judaizers were unsettling them. The words
constitute a strong partisan antagonism resulting in the actions that lead to mutual
|5:16 - YE SHALL NOT FULFILL [NIV:
You will not gratify]
The word "not" in this passage is
formed by two Greek negatives (a double negative in Greek does not make a positive
assertion as in English, but actually strengthens the negation). It could be translated:
"Walk in (yield to) the Spirit, and it will be impossible for you to fulfill
the lust of the flesh!"
|Notice the ability of the believer to:
||choose to walk
||as opposed to
The will of the believer has been liberated from the enslavement to sin
and is now free to choose the right and refuse the wrong. The Holy Spirit has been given
as the Agent to counteract the evil nature, but He only does that for the believer when
that believer gives control to the Holy Spirit, and by an act of free will, says a
point-blank positive NO to sin. In other words, there must be a cooperation of the
believer with the Holy Spirit in His work of sanctifying the life.
|Up until 5:13, Paul was dealing with
||"Believing Faith" -
|Now he turns his subject matter to
|The spirit and the flesh mutually exclude one another. It
is promised, not that we should HAVE no evil
lusts, but that we should not FULFIL them. If
the spirit that is in us can be at ease under or around sin, it is not a spirit that comes
from the HOLY Spirit.
5:17 - THE FLESH AND THE
SPIRIT ARE CONTRARY
When the flesh presses hard upon the believer the Holy Spirit is there to oppose the
flesh and give the believer victory over it. Romans, chapter 7, shows the constant battle
between the flesh and the Spirit that goes on within the believer. Before Christ, there
was no choice.
We were slaves to walk only in the realm of the flesh.
|Now we are able to exercise our right to
||to walk in the flesh,
||to walk in the Spirit.
|Vs. 18 - BUT IF YE BE LED OF THE
Paul here presents to them a third way of life,
distinct from that of a person under law, and also from that of a person who, because he
is no longer under the restraining influences of law, thinks that he is now without
restraint of any kind, and continues to yield to the impulses of the evil nature.
|That third way is not a middle road between the two -
That third way is not a compromise between slavery to law or slavery to flesh -
IT IS A HIGHWAY ABOVE THEM
It is a highway of freedom both from statutes and from
the sinful nature.
It is a highway which is a FAITH way - a dependence upon the Spirit.
5:22, 23 - THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
The word "FRUIT" is in
the singular in the Greek - all of the elements of character spoken of in these
verses are a unity, making a well-rounded and complete Christian life.
Leave out any one ingredient, and the fruit is incomplete = not brought to
LOVE - (agape)" = The love that God is (I Jn. 4:16).
|Produced in the heart of the yielded believer by the Holy spirit (Rom.
Its chief ingredient is self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved (John 3:16)
Its constituent elements are listed in I Corinthians 13.
JOY - (chara)
|Used most frequently in the New Testament of joy that has a spiritual
basis, for instance, "joy of the Holy Ghost (I Thess. 1:6). As with
agape, this joy rises above the plain of human emotions, and is constant as God is
- (eirene) = To bind together.
|It has two aspects in Scripture:
||= appropriated by Believing
||= appropriated by Yielding
|Both are provided by the blood of Christ.
|Both are appropriated by the believer through
(makrothumia) = Steadfastness of the soul under provocation.
|It includes the idea of forbearance and patient endurance of wrong
under ill treatment,
without anger or thought of revenge.
GENTLENESS - (chrestotes) = Kindness
|The total opposite of all that is harsh and austere.
A constant kindness which should pervade and penetrate the entire nature.
- (agathosune) = Morality
|That quality that aims at and is ruled by what is good -
The quality of moral worth (Eph. 5:9; II Thess. 1:11; Rom. 15:14).
(pistis) = a word with very deep meaning.
|As to Yielding Faith,
it carries the meaning of that which CAUSES trust and faith - faithfulness and
reliability. We find this on the part of God to always be true - however, He desires to
find this on our part also.
|As to Believing Faith - it is faith, trust, and confidence that
God is Who He says He is, what He says He is, that He can do what He says He can do, that
He wished to do what He says He wishes to do, and that He WILL do what He says He will do.
- (praotes) = Mild and gentleness.
|Not demanding ones rights.
TEMPERANCE- (egkrateia) = Self-control.
|It refers to the mastery of
ones own fleshly desires and impulses.
|This comes by "reckoning
ourselves dead unto sin"
|as in Romans
|and "walking in (or choosing)
|as in Galatians.
1. If only one ingredient of this fruit is missing, then the fruit is not perfect, and
2. We are the field - God is the owner of the field.
3. THE FRUIT IS FOR THE BENEFIT AND ENJOYMENT
OF THE OWNER OF THE FIELD.