Galatians Chapter 5

(Romans 11:6 [KJV])
And if by grace, then [is it] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if [it be] of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

(Galatians 5:1 [KJV])
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

  • To stand fast means to stay where you are and plant those, feet firmly attached!
  • Now that Paul has established how they got saved (Christ set them free, not themselves), how some have then walked away in apostasy, he gives them the "therefore"
  • Think about this.....what fool is suddenly sprung from slavery to willfully sin, under legalism, under the law, to be free to NOT live under that, and then returns back to it?
    1. One who does not understand the Gospel fully, but may be saved
    2. One who is not saved
    3. One who is self-righteous
    4. One who has a fear of man over a fear of God
    5. One who is saved, but unthankful that Jesus saved them

(Luke 9:62 [KJV])
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

(Galatians 5:2,3 [KJV])
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

  • Paul is saying you can only pick one: Salvation by grace through faith alone in the LORD Jesus Christ.....or everything, anything else, which is lumped into one thing: works religion
  • He said that there was not something else that is the gospel, not another Gospel in chapter one

(Galatians 5:4 [KJV])
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

  • The Blood, the death, burial, resurrection power has no effect as a gift if you leave it there
  • It also has no effect if you do not let it flow through you, but rather around you
  • The "justified by the law" here simply means before men, not before God. This is the reason they "keep it", for outward appearance
  • This is where we get the phrase, "He fell from grace"

(Galatians 5:5 [KJV])
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

  • We have righteousness by faith (context), so the waiting here is being patient, abiding, expecting a future life with the Savior
  • Without the Spirit of God, we have nothing to wait for, as lost people, we would not wait for hell!
  • With the Spirit of God, via the Spirit of God, we have a guarantee, so we wait for our final redemption from this life, leaving it via the rapture or death

WAIT, v.i. [The sense is to stop, or to continue.]
  1. To stay or rest in expectation; to stop or remain stationary, till the arrival of some person or event. Thus we say, I went to the place of meeting, and there waited an hour for the moderator or chairman. I will go to the hotel, and there wait till you come. We will wait for the mail.
  2. To stay proceedings, or suspend any business, in expectation of some person, event, or the arrival of some hour. The court was obliged to wait for a witness.
  3. To rest in expectation and patience.
    ` All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Job 14.
  4. To stay; not to depart.
    Haste, my dear father, tis no time to wait.
  5. To stay; to continue by reason of hindrance.
  6. To lie in ambush, as an enemy.
    Such ambush waited to intercept thy way.
    To wait on or upon, to attend, as a servant; to perform menial services for; as, to wait on a gentleman; to wait on the table.

WAIT, v.t.
To wait on,
  1. To attend; to go to see; to visit on business or for ceremony. Tell the gentleman I will wait on him at ten o'clock.
  2. To pay servile or submissive attendance.
  3. To follow, as a consequence; as the ruin that waits on such a supine temper. [Instead of this, we use await.]
  4. To look watchfully.
    It is a point of cunning to wait on him with whom you speak, with your eye.[Unusual.]
  5. To attend to; to perform.
    Aaron and his sons shall wait on their priests office. Num 3, 8. Rom 12.
  6. To be ready to serve; to obey. Psa 25. Prov 20.
    To wait at, to attend in service; to perform service at. 1 Cor 9.
    To wait for, to watch, as an enemy. Job 15.
WAIT, v.t.
  1. To stay for; to rest or remain stationary in expectation of the arrival of.
    And with these words, in camps they still abide, and wait with longing eyes their promised guide. [Elliptical for wait for.]
  2. To attend; to accompany with submission or respect.
    He chose a thousand horse, the flowr of all his warlike troops, to wait the funeral. [This use is not justifiable, but by poetical license.]
  3. To attend as a consequence of something.
    Such doom waits luxury--[Not in use. In this sense we use attend or attend on.]

(Galatians 5:6 [KJV])
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

  • Strictly speaking about our salvation here
  • It does nothing for us to follow a law that was not given to save us
  • Think now about how many times Paul teaches this lesson on this false doctrine of "works salvation"
  • It is by faith through love, GOD'S love.....because God loved and loves us

(Romans 5:5 [KJV])
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

(1 John 4:19 [KJV])
We love him, because he first loved us.

(Galatians 5:7 [KJV])
Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

  • This keeping the law means obeying a lie
  • The truth is the Gospel he gave them, that saved them
  • They sprinted out of the blocks, forgetting that life is a marathon, not a 100 yard dash

(Galatians 5:8 [KJV])
This persuasion [cometh] not of him that calleth you.

  • Whoever they allowed to deceive them was not from God, so who then sent them?

(Galatians 5:9 [KJV])
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

  • We know that it takes a teeny, tiny bit of leaven sprinkled in to make dough rise to make a whole large loaf of bread, risen to now be many times bigger than the amount of water and flour, and certainly way more than the amount of leaven!
  • We know it takes one person to divide the body, one heretick to spread a false gospel (which Paul said is not a gospel anyways)
  • The entire congregation can be affected, no matter how many there are (the whole lump), by any false teacher


1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour

(Galatians 5:10 [KJV])
I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

  • Paul discipled them and, when as person is properly discipled, they can willingly, actively, consciously return to the LORD by seeking Him through prayer and reading His Word.
  • As for the deliberate, unrepentant false teacher.....well, they also have a dark, hot, lonely future-in the flames, forever
  • The book of Jude tells us all about their ethos (group character) and their future


(Jude 1:3-7 [KJV])
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction..

(Jude 1:10-13 [KJV])
...But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds [they are] without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

(Galatians 5:11 [KJV])
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

  • Paul, Peter, James, John, etc. would have and could have easily avoided all of the persecution(s) from the leadership of the synagogues if they had just changed their tune back to works salvation, which Jesus Christ saved them out of
  • They were all persecuted, most imprisoned, martyred because they taught Jesus alone and believing in Him as the way to Heaven, not dead works of dead men
  • The Cross was and is the opposite of the world's religions.


(Colossians 2:11 [KJV])
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

(Romans 2:29 [KJV])
But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.

(Jeremiah 4:4 [KJV])
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench [it], because of the evil of your doings.

(Deuteronomy 10:16 [KJV])
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

(Deuteronomy 30:6 [KJV])
And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

(Galatians 5:12 [KJV])
I would they were even cut off which trouble you.

  • Strong words here. Paul wants them to either die or be removed far away somehow, either voluntarily or involuntarily!
  • This is what "cut off" means in most of God's Word-death, by any means, as judgment from God.

(Galatians 5:13 [KJV])
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

  • This is what the entire "Lose your salvation" crowd privately interprets and takes out of context to make their weak "case"
  • He is simply not even implying that here in this ep[istle, nor in any other, not even close
  • He is saying watch your behavior, make no provision for the flesh, make no excuses for willfully sinning
  • Serve one another in love, not "serve yourself, by forsaking others"

(Romans 13:14 [KJV])
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

(Hebrews 10:26,27 [KJV])
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.


(Galatians 5:14 [KJV])
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

  • If all people would simply follow all of the Ten Commandments alone, in the world, literally all of our problems would disappear overnight
  • This is what will happen in a large way, but not all people, in the Millennial Kingdom
  • Loving God would be a prerequisite, something the world doesn't do, nor wants to do.


(Leviticus 19:18 [KJV])
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.

(Matthew 5:43-48 [KJV])
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

(Matthew 19:19 [KJV])
Honour thy father and [thy] mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

(Matthew 22:36-38 [KJV])
Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

(Mark 12:29-31 [KJV])
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

(Romans 13:8 [KJV])
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

(James 2:8-10 [KJV])
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.

(Galatians 5:15 [KJV])
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

  • Infighting is never good, as the enemy and enemies use this as an occasion to deride, divide and conquer ministries.
  • This is not biblical correction he is speaking of here, but rather examples such 2 Corinthians 12:20 below and other places.

(2 Corinthians 12:20 [KJV])
For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and [that] I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest [there be] debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

(Galatians 5:16-17 [KJV])
[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

  • It is one or the other, never never be both-EVER
  • The Holy Spirit wants us to follow Christ, not our flesh
  • We cannot do whatever we want, without consequences

(Galatians 5:18 [KJV])
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

  • Since "love God and love thy neighbor" is to be Christlike and, since Christ fulfilled the Law, we are not under that law
  • The unsaved world is, having become a law unto themselves (Romans 2:14)

(Romans 2:14 [KJV])
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

(Galatians 5:19-21 [KJV])
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


  • ADULTERY: Cheating during marriage
  • FORNICATION: Sex outside of marriage
  • UNCLEANNESS: Foulness; dirtiness; filthiness want of ritual or ceremonial purity moral impurity; defilement by sin; sinfulness,lewdness; incontinence.
  • LASCIVIOUSNESS: Wanton lust, looseness; irregular indulgence of animal desires; wantonness; lustfulness, tendency to excite lust, and promote irregular indulgences.
  • IDOLATRY: Putting anything or anyone at all before the One True God
  • WITCHCRAFT: Sorcery, shamanism, pharmaceuticals, drugs, spells, incantations, chantings, black magic, magic potions, enchantments; intercourse with the devil. Any attempts to alter the natural world we live in by any means
  • HATRED: Wanton, unwarranted hate, aversion, intense dislike, perhaps due to envy, jealousy, often accompanied with malevolence or malignity. Extreme hatred is abhorrence or detestation.
  • VARIANCE: In law, an alteration of something formerly laid in a writ; or a difference between a declaration and a writ, or the deed on which it is grounded. Any alteration or change of condition. Difference that produces dispute or controversy; disagreement; dissension; discord. A mere variance may become a war. Without a spirit of condescension, there will be an everlasting variance. At variance, in disagreement; in a state of difference or want of agreement. In a state of dissension or controversy; in a state of enmity.
  • EMULATIONS: Webster's defines this as The act of attempting to equal or excel in qualities or actions; rivalry; desire of superiority, attended with effort to attain to it; generally in a good sense, or an attempt to equal or excel others in that which is praise-worthy, without the desire of depressing others. Rom 11. In a bad sense, a striving to equal or do more than others to obtain carnal favors or honors. Val.5. An ardor kindled by the praise-worthy examples of others, inciting to imitate them, or to equal or excel them. Contest; contention; strife; competition; rivalry accompanied with a desire of depressing another.
  • WRATH: Violent anger; vehement exasperation; indignation or the effects of such anger. The just punishment of an offense or crime. Gods wrath, in Scripture, is his holy and just indignation against sin. Rom 1.
  • STRIFE: Arguing, Exertion or contention for superiority; contest of emulation, either by intellectual or physical efforts. Strife may be carried on between students or between mechanics. Thus God's contended, noble strife, who most should ease the wants of life. Contention in anger or enmity; contest; struggle for victory; quarrel or war. Opposition; contrariety; contrast. The agitation produced by different qualities; as the strife of acid and alkali. [Little used.]
  • SEDITIONS: Sedition may be a setting or rushing together.] A factious commotion of the people, a tumultuous assembly of men rising in opposition to law or the administration of justice, and in disturbance of the public peace. Sedition is a rising or commotion of less extent than an insurrection, and both are less than rebellion; but some kinds of sedition, in Great Britain, amount to high treason. In general, sedition is a local or limited insurrection in opposition to civil authority, as mutiny is to military.
  • HERESIES: A fundamental error in religion, or an error of opinion respecting some fundamental doctrine of religion. The Scriptures being the standard of faith, any opinion that is repugnant to its doctrines, is heresy; but as men differ in the interpretation of Scripture, an opinion deemed heretical by one body of Christians may be deemed orthodox by another. In Scripture and primitive usage,heresy meant merely sect, party, or the doctrines of a sect, as we now use denomination or persuasion, implying no reproach. Heresy, in law, is an offense against Christianity, consisting in a denial of some of its essential doctrines, publicly avowed and obstinately maintained. An untenable or unsound opinion or doctrine in politics.
  • ENVYINGS: As previously noted
  • MURDERS: Well, no definition or explanation needed here
  • DRUNKENNESS: Same here. Alcoholic strong drink, liquor, for the purpose of getting drunk
  • REVELLING: Feast with loose and clamorous merriment; to carouse; to act the bacchanalian. To move playfully or without regularity. ::::::::(me) Basically, drunken, gluttonous feasts, "partying"
  • The lost, dying, God hating and God rejecting world does this, regularly, daily. It says they will be lost-FOREVER-unless they believe and repent, like we did.

(Galatians 5:22-23 [KJV])
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

  • Longsuffering: Suffering, enduring for a long time
  • Most of these words and their meanings are known to us
  • MEE'KNESS, n. Softness of temper; mildness; gentleness; forbearance under injuries and provocations. 1. In an evangelical sense, humility; resignation; submission to the divine will, without murmuring or peevishness; opposed to pride, arrogance and refractoriness. Gal 5. Meekness is a grace which Jesus alone inculcated, and which no ancient philosopher seems to have understood or recommended.
  • TEMPERANCE: TEM'PERANCE, n. [L. temperantia, from tempero.] Moderation; particularly, habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; restrained or moderate indulgence; as temperance in eating and drinking; temperance in the indulgence of joy or mirth. Temperance in eating and drinking is opposed to gluttony and drunkenness, and in other indulgences, to excess. Patience; calmness; sedateness; moderation of passion.
  • Not only is there no law against being good and following God and His Holy Will, it is the opposite of the previous sins, and it means one cannot rightly blame one of doing wrong when they are loving, are joyous, are peaceful, they suffer long, are gentle, are good, have faith, are meek and tempered
  • In fact, the world cannot say much against us (they always do say something anyways) and, one day, will be silent before God for falsely accusing us of evil for not being like them

(Galatians 5:24 [KJV])
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

  • The sins and attributes, characteristics listed in the previous verses are in our flesh from the Fall
  • Notice how two, affections and lust, also from the Fall, are mentioned here
  • This affection spoken of here is an unnatural affection

(Romans 1:26 [KJV])
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

(Galatians 5:25 [KJV])
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

  • If you live and dwell in Chicago, you cannot walk in Florida
  • If you live in the Holy Spirit of Christ, you can walk in that same Spirit
  • This is an invitation

(Galatians 5:26 [KJV])
Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

  • The world loves vain glory, vanity, meaningless fame, temporary outside beauty in people
  • Worldliness provokes those who walk in it to rail against those who walk with the LORD
  • Worldliness provokes envy against those who walk in it to rail against those who walk with the LORD
  • Contentions always rise when we have those walking with the LORD with those who walk away from God (apostates)

(1 Timothy 6:3 [KJV])
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;


In the latter part of this chapter the apostle comes to exhort these Christians to serious practical godliness, as the best antidote against the snares of the false teachers. Two things especially he presses upon them:--

      I. That they should not strive with one another, but love one another. He tells them (v. 13) that they had been called unto liberty, and he would have them to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free; but yet he would have them be very careful that they did not use this liberty as an occasion to the flesh--that they did not thence take occasion to indulge themselves in any corrupt affections and practices, and particularly such as might create distance and disaffection, and be the ground of quarrels and contentions among them: but, on the contrary, he would have them by love to serve one another, to maintain that mutual love and affection which, notwithstanding any minor differences there might be among them, would dispose them to all those offices of respect and kindness to each other which the Christian religion obliged them to. Note, 1. The liberty we enjoy as Christians is not a licentious liberty: though Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, yet he has not freed us from the obligation of it; the gospel is a doctrine according to godliness (1 Tim. vi. 3), and is so far from giving the least countenance to sin that it lays us under the strongest obligations to avoid and subdue it. 2. Though we ought to stand fast in our Christian liberty, yet we should not insist upon it to the breach of Christian charity; we should not use it as an occasion of strife and contention with our fellow Christians, who may be differently minded from us, but should always maintain such a temper towards each other as may dispose us by love to serve one another. To this the apostle endeavours to persuade these Christians, and there are two considerations which he sets before them for this purpose:-- (1.) That all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, v. 14. Love is the sum of the whole law; as love to God comprises the duties of the first table, so love to our neighbour those of the second. The apostle takes notice of the latter here, because he is speaking of their behaviour towards one another; and, when he makes use of this as an argument to persuade them to mutual love, he intimates both that this would be a good evidence of their sincerity in religion and also the most likely means of rooting out those dissensions and divisions that were among them. It will appear that we are the disciples of Christ indeed when we have love one to another (John xiii. 35); and, where this temper is kept up, if it do not wholly extinguish those unhappy discords that are among Christians, yet at least it will so far accommodate them that the fatal consequences of them will be prevented. (2.) The sad and dangerous tendency of a contrary behaviour (v. 15): But, says he, if instead of serving one another in love, and therein fulfilling the law of God, you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another. If, instead of acting like men and Christians, they would behave themselves more like brute beasts, in tearing and rending one another, they could expect nothing as the consequence of it, but that they would be consumed one of another; and therefore they had the greatest reason not to indulge themselves in such quarrels and animosities. Note, Mutual strifes among brethren, if persisted in, are likely to prove a common ruin; those that devour one another are in a fair way to be consumed one of another. Christian churches cannot be ruined but by their own hands; but if Christians, who should be helps to one another and a joy one to another, be as brute beasts, biting and devouring each other, what can be expected but that the God of love should deny his grace to them, and the Spirit of love should depart from them, and that the evil spirit, who seeks the destruction of them all, should prevail?

      II. That they should all strive against sin; and happy would it be for the church if Christians would let all their quarrels be swallowed up of this, even a quarrel against sin--if, instead of biting and devouring one another on account of their different opinions, they would all set themselves against sin in themselves and the places where they live. This is what we are chiefly concerned to fight against, and that which above every thing else we should make it our business to oppose and suppress. To excite Christians hereunto, and to assist them herein, the apostle shows,
      1. That there is in every one a struggle between the flesh and the spirit (v. 17): The flesh (the corrupt and carnal part of us) lusts (strives and struggles with strength and vigour) against the spirit: it opposes all the motions of the Spirit, and resists every thing that is spiritual. On the other hand, the spirit (the renewed part of us) strives against the flesh, and opposes the will and desire of it: and hence it comes to pass that we cannot do the things that we would. As the principle of grace in us will not suffer us to do all the evil which our corrupt nature would prompt us to, so neither can we do all the good that we would, by reason of the oppositions we meet with from that corrupt and carnal principle. Even as in a natural man there is something of this struggle (the convictions of his conscience and the corruption of his own heart strive with one another; his convictions would suppress his corruptions, and his corruptions silence his convictions), so in a renewed man, where there is something of a good principle, there is a struggle between the old nature and the new nature, the remainders of sin and the beginnings of grace; and this Christians must expect will be their exercise as long as they continue in this world.
      2. That it is our duty and interest in this struggle to side with the better part, to side with our convictions against our corruptions and with our graces against our lusts. This the apostle represents as our duty, and directs us to the most effectual means of success in it. If it should be asked, What course must we take that the better interest may get the better? he gives us this one general rule, which, if duly observed, would be the most sovereign remedy against the prevalence of corruption; and that is to walk in the Spirit (v. 16): This I say, then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. By the Spirit here may be meant either the Holy Spirit himself, who condescends to dwell in the hearts of those whom he has renewed and sanctified, to guide and assist them in the way of their duty, or that gracious principle which he implants in the souls of his people and which lusts against the flesh, as that corrupt principle which still remains in them does against it. Accordingly the duty here recommended to us is that we set ourselves to act under the guidance and influence of the blessed Spirit, and agreeably to the motions and tendency of the new nature in us; and, if this be our care in the ordinary course and tenour of our lives, we may depend upon it that, though we may not be freed from the stirrings and oppositions of our corrupt nature, we shall be kept from fulfilling it in the lusts thereof; so that though it remain in us, yet it shall not obtain a dominion over us. Note, The best antidote against the poison of sin is to walk in the Spirit, to be much in conversing with spiritual things, to mind the things of the soul, which is the spiritual part of man, more than those of the body, which is his carnal part, to commit ourselves to the guidance of the word, wherein the Holy Spirit makes known the will of God concerning us, and in the way of our duty to act in a dependence on his aids and influences. And, as this would be the best means of preserving them from fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, so it would be a good evidence that they were Christians indeed; for, says the apostle (v. 18), If you be led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. As if he had said, "You must expect a struggle between flesh and spirit as long as you are in the world, that the flesh will be lusting against the spirit as well as the spirit against the flesh; but if, in the prevailing bent and tenour of your lives, you be led by the Spirit,--if you act under the guidance and government of the Holy Spirit and of that spiritual nature and disposition he has wrought in you,--if you make the word of God your rule and the grace of God your principle,--it will hence appear that you are not under the law, not under the condemning, though you are still under the commanding, power of it; for there is now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; and as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God," Rom. viii. 1-14.
      3. The apostle specifies the works of the flesh, which must be watched against and mortified, and the fruits of the Spirit, which must be cherished and brought forth (v. 19, c.) and by specifying particulars he further illustrates what he is here upon. (1.) He begins with the works of the flesh, which, as they are many, so they are manifest. It is past dispute that the things he here speaks of are the works of the flesh, or the product of corrupt and depraved nature; most of them are condemned by the light of nature itself, and all of them by the light of scripture. The particulars he specifies are of various sorts; some are sins against the seventh commandment, such as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, by which are meant not only the gross acts of these sins, but all such thoughts, and words, and actions, as have a tendency towards the great transgression. Some are sins against the first and second commandments, as idolatry and witchcraft. Others are sins against our neighbour, and contrary to the royal law of brotherly love, such as hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, which too often occasion seditions, heresies, envyings, and sometimes break out into murders, not only of the names and reputation, but even of the very lives, of our fellow-creatures. Others are sins against ourselves, such as drunkenness and revellings; and he concludes the catalogue with an et cetera, and gives fair warning to all to take care of them, as they hope to see the face of God with comfort. Of these and such like, says he, I tell you before, as I have also told you in times past, that those who do such things, how much soever they may flatter themselves with vain hopes, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. These are sins which will undoubtedly shut men out of heaven. The world of spirits can never be comfortable to those who plunge themselves in the filth of the flesh; nor will the righteous and holy God ever admit such into his favour and presence, unless they be first washed and sanctified, and justified in the name of our Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God, 1 Cor. vi. 11. (2.) He specifies the fruits of the Spirit, or the renewed nature, which as Christians we are concerned to bring forth, Gal 5:22; Gal 5:23. And here we may observe that as sin is called the work of the flesh, because the flesh, or corrupt nature, is the principle that moves and excites men to it, so grace is said to be the fruit of the Spirit, because it wholly proceeds from the Spirit, as the fruit does from the root: and whereas before the apostle had chiefly specified those works of the flesh which were not only hurtful to men themselves but tended to make them so to one another, so here he chiefly takes notice of those fruits of the Spirit which had a tendency to make Christians agreeable one to another, as well as easy to themselves; and this was very suitable to the caution or exhortation he had before given (v. 13), that they should not use their liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. He particularly recommends to us, love, to God especially, and to one another for his sake,--joy, by which may be understood cheerfulness in conversation with our friends, or rather a constant delight in God,--peace, with God and conscience, or a peaceableness of temper and behaviour towards others,--long-suffering, patience to defer anger, and a contentedness to bear injuries,--gentleness, such a sweetness of temper, and especially towards our inferiors, as disposes us to be affable and courteous, and easy to be entreated when any have wronged us,--goodness (kindness, beneficence), which shows itself in a readiness to do good to all as we have opportunity,--faith, fidelity, justice, and honesty, in what we profess and promise to others,--meekness, wherewith to govern our passions and resentments, so as not to be easily provoked, and, when we are so, to be soon pacified,--and temperance, in meat and drink, and other enjoyments of life, so as not to be excessive and immoderate in the use of them. Concerning these things, or those in whom these fruits of the Spirit are found, the apostle says, There is no law against them, to condemn and punish them. Yea, hence it appears that they are not under the law, but under grace; for these fruits of the Spirit, in whomsoever they are found, plainly show that such are led by the Spirit, and consequently that they are not under the law, as v. 18. And as, by specifying these works of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit, the apostle directs us both what we are to avoid and oppose and what we are to cherish and cultivate, so (v. 24) he informs us that this is the sincere care and endeavour of all real Christians: And those that are Christ's, says he (those who are Christians indeed, not only in show and profession, but in sincerity and truth), have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. As in their baptism they were obliged hereunto (for, being baptized into Christ, they were baptized into his death, Rom. vi. 3), so they are now sincerely employing themselves herein, and, in conformity to their Lord and head, are endeavouring to die unto sin, as he had died for it. They have not yet obtained a complete victory over it; they have still flesh as well as Spirit in them, and that has its affections and lusts, which continue to give them no little disturbance, but as it does not now reign in their mortal bodies, so as that they obey it in the lusts thereof (Rom. vi. 12), so they are seeking the utter ruin and destruction of it, and to put it to the same shameful and ignominious, though lingering death, which our Lord Jesus underwent for our sakes. Note, If we should approve ourselves to be Christ's, such as are united to him and interested in him, we must make it our constant care and business to crucify the flesh with its corrupt affections and lusts. Christ will never own those as his who yield themselves the servants of sin. But though the apostle here only mentions the crucifying of the flesh with the affections and lusts, as the care and character of real Christians, yet, no doubt, it is also implied that, on the other hand, we should show forth those fruits of the Spirit which he had just before been specifying; this is no less our duty than that, nor is it less necessary to evidence our sincerity in religion. It is not enough that we cease to do evil, but we must learn to do well. Our Christianity obliges us not only to die unto sin, but to live unto righteousness; not only to oppose the works of the flesh, but to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit too. If therefore we would make it appear that we do indeed belong to Christ, this must be our sincere care and endeavour as well as the other; and that it was the design of the apostle to represent both the one and the other of these as our duty, and as necessary to support our character as Christians, may be gathered from what follows (v. 25), where he adds, If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit; that is, "If we profess to have received the Spirit of Christ, or that we are renewed in the Spirit of Christ, or that we are renewed in the spirit of our minds, and endued with a principle of spiritual life, let us make it appear by the proper fruits of the Spirit in our lives." He had before told us that the Spirit of Christ is a privilege bestowed on all the children of God, ch. iv. 6. "Now," says he, "if we profess to be of this number, and as such to have obtained this privilege, let us show it by a temper and behaviour agreeable hereunto; let us evidence our good principles by good practices." Our conversation will always be answerable to the principle which we are under the guidance and government of: as those that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, so those that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit, Rom. viii. 5. If therefore we would have it appear that we are Christ's, and that we are partakers of his Spirit, it must be by our walking not after the flesh, but after the spirit. We must set ourselves in good earnest both to mortify the deeds of the body, and to walk in newness of life.
      4. The apostle concludes this chapter with a caution against pride and envy, v. 26. He had before been exhorting these Christians by love to serve one another (v. 13), and had put them in mind of what would be the consequence if, instead of that, they did bite and devour one another, v. 15. Now, as a means of engaging them to the one and preserving them from the other of these, he here cautions them against being desirous of vain-glory, or giving way to an undue affectation of the esteem and applause of men, because this, if it were indulged, would certainly lead them to provoke one another and to envy one another. As far as this temper prevails among Christians, they will be ready to slight and despise those whom they look upon as inferior to them, and to be put out of humour if they are denied that respect which they think is their due from them, and they will also be apt to envy those by whom their reputation is in any danger of being lessened: and thus a foundation is laid for those quarrels and contentions which, as they are inconsistent with that love which Christians ought to maintain towards each other, so they are greatly prejudicial to the honour and interest of religion itself. This therefore the apostle would have us by all means to watch against. Note, (1.) The glory which comes from men is vain-glory, which, instead of being desirous of, we should be dead to. (2.) An undue regard to the approbation and applause of men is one great ground of the unhappy strifes and contentions that exist among Christians.

Galatians Chapter 6


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