GALATIANS 5

  1. The Gospel of freedom in the Spirit
    1. Living in liberty (v.1-6) STAND FAST in the liberty...don't move from it in any way!!
      1. Acts 15:8-11...The law was considered a yoke of bondage by the Jews. How much will Christ profit us if we live by the law?(v.2)
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      2. (v.3) See also Rom. 2:25; Deut. 27:26. If we try to keep the law, we are debtors to.... _______________________________________________________
        Those who attempt to be justified by the law are_____________from Christ, and have __________________from grace. (v.4)(NKJV) See also Rom. 9:31; 2 Peter 3:17,18. In choosing to live by the law, the Galatians had renounced the way of justification which God has established. None of us is capable of keeping the whole law which is what we must do if we are to be saved by it. If we put our confidence in our own efforts or religeous ritual Christ profits us nothing. Christ alone is our saviour otherwise it was needless for Him to be our sacrifice.
      3. (v.5-6) See also Rom. 8:24-25...It is through the ___________________we wait eagerly for_________________by faith.(NKJV) Summarize verses 5 and 6.
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        Matthew Henry: Without it (faith) nothing else would stand them in any stead. Faith, where it is true, is a working grace: it works by love, love to God and love to our brethren; and faith, us working by love, is all in all in our Christianity. (1 Cor. 13:13)

    2. Following the truth. (v. 7-12)
      1. (study notes from NKJV personal study edition) v. 7..."Hindered originally signified breaking up a road to impede progress...a good figure to show that the false teachers had become an obstacle in the Galatians' spiritual race."
      2. (v. 8)Paul again makes it clear...this persuasion isn't from Him who originally called them...He Whom they originally started with...He Who saved them when they trusted in Him...This is not HIS persuasion. It is a contradiction.
      3. (v. 9) Compare leaven and how it works with how false teaching works among the church.
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        See EX. 12:15,19,20; What is leaven a symbol of?
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      4. (v. 10) (amplified Bible).."[For my part] I have confidence [toward you] in the Lord that you will take no contrary view of the matter but will come to think with me. But he who is unsettling you whoever he is, will have to bear the penalty." Go look again at chapter 1:8-9...How serious an error is it to preach the works of the law for salvation or sanctification?
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        It must be stressed that this is an "opposing gospel."
      5. (v. 11) Paul shows his passion for the truth, against those who would lead them astray.
    3. (v. 13-15) Living in love.
      1. Compare v. 13 with 1 Cor. 8; 1 Cor. 9:1,12,19; and Eph. 5:21...Does liberty mean we have no restraint?________________
        See again v. 6...How are we to live if we have liberty in Christ?________________________________________________
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        What is the danger of another kind of deception if we don't understand what God's liberty is for us?_______________
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      2. (v. 1,15..amplified Bible) "For the whole law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept..You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself." If we treat others as we ourselves want to be treated the law of love will be fulfilled in us. (Gal. 6:2; Matt. 7:12; 22:37-40; Rom. 13:8-10 What will happen to the church if we do not live in love?
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    4. Controlled by the Spirit. (v. 16-26)
      1. (v. 16-18) Along with these verses, read Rom. 6-8:1-17. Describe the battle that we have in the flesh.
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      2. (v. 19-21) Can a true believer practice the works of the flesh listed here? If one "practices" the works of the flesh claiming grace has saved him he lives contrary to the true gospel also. Our liberty is not a license to sin. Read 1 John 1-6; 1 John 3:7-10; Rom. 8:3-8
      3. (v. 22-23) The fruit of the Sprit...Why would Paul say "against such their is no law?
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      4. (v. 24) What have we done if we belong to Christ?_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      5. (v. 25,26) Read also Phil. 2:3-8..A life in the Spirit will bring a genuine humility in our lives. We will not be puffed up and conceited in our own goodness or works because we will truly reaize our own inadequacy and inability to live godly unless the Holy Spirit fills us and enables us to. We will know we are no better than the worst sinner except for the grace of God.

SUMMARY OF CH. 5

In Christ we have a liberty...that is we are not under the Jewish law. We are to stand fast in that liberty and not be moved from it back into living under the law...which is a yoke of bondage that we cannot ever live by. We will always break it. If we try to live by any of the law, we are a debtor to keep the whole law, which we cannot...therefore our condemnation. If we try to live by the law we are estranging ourselves, or allienating ourselves from Christ. We no longer are under His grace but have fallen from it. We have been called to liberty, but liberty in Christ does not mean we do as we please. It means in love through faith we serve Christ and one another. The law of love will fulfill every other law. If we are living truly in love and in the Spirit we will have the fruit of the Spirit evident in our lives, we will have crucified the flesh and not be walking in and practicing sin, we will be growing in this grace daily, and we will not have a spirit of pride in our own accomplishments but a sense of humility and gratitude for Christ and what He is able to do in us.

Darby's synopsis on ch. 5

Gal 5:1-26 - It is in this liberty, the liberty of Christ, alluding to the free woman and Jerusalem above, that they were to stand fast, and not put themselves again under the yoke of the law. If they took that ground they made themselves responsible to keep it personally and wholly, and Christ was of no effect to them. They could not rest upon the work of Christ for righteousness, and then hold themselves responsible to fulfil righteousness themselves according to the law. The two things contradict each other. Hence too it would be no longer grace on which they stood. They forsook grace, in order to satisfy the requirements of the law. This is not the Christian's position.

Here is the Christian's position. He does not seek for righteousness before God as a man who does not possess it; he is the righteousness of God in Christ, and Christ Himself is the measure of that righteousness. The Holy Ghost dwells in him. Faith rests in this righteousness, even as God rests in it, and this faith is sustained by the Holy Ghost, who turns the heart that is established in that righteousness towards the glory that is its recompense — a recompense which Christ enjoys already, so that we know what that righteousness deserves. Christ is in the glory due to righteousness, to the work which He accomplished. We know this righteousness in virtue of that which He has wrought, because God has owned His work and set Him at His right hand on high. The glory in which He is is His just reward, and the proof of that righteousness. The Spirit reveals the glory, and seals to us that righteousness on which faith builds. It is thus that the apostle expresses it: "We, through the Spirit, wait for the hope [the hoped-for glory] of righteousness by faith." To us it is faith, for we have not yet the thing hoped for — the glory due to that righteousness which is ours. Christ possesses it, so that we know what we hope for. It is by the Spirit that we know it, and that we have the assurance of the righteousness which gives us the title to possess it. It is not righteousness we wait for, but, by the Spirit in faith, the hope that belongs to it. It is by faith; for in Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working by love. There must be a moral reality.

The apostle's heart is oppressed at the thought of what they were rejecting, and the mischief this doctrine was doing. It overflows. In the midst of his argument he interrupts himself. "Ye did run well: who has hindered you from obeying the truth?" To be so easily persuaded of this Judaising doctrine, which was but a fatal error, was not the work of Him who had called them. It was not thus that through grace they had become Christians. A little leaven corrupted the whole.

Nevertheless the apostle regains his confidence by looking higher. By resting on the grace which is in Christ towards His own, he can re-assure himself with regard to the Galatians. He stood in doubt when he thought of them; he had confidence when he thought of Christ, that they would surely not be otherwise minded. Thus delivered from the evil by grace, as in the moral case of the Corinthians, he was ready to punish all disobedience, when all that knew how to obey had been brought fully back to obedience; so here also, every heart that was susceptible of the influence of the truth would be brought back to the power of the truth of Christ; and those who, active in evil, troubled them by false doctrine, those whose will was engaged in propagating error, should bear their burden. It is very beautiful to see the apostle's uneasiness, when he thinks of men — the fruit moreover of his love for them — and the confidence which he regains as soon as he lifts up his heart to the Lord. But his abrupt style, his broken and unconnected words, shew how deeply his heart was engaged. The error that separated the soul from Christ was to him more terrible than the said fruits of practical separation. We do not find the same marks of agitation in the epistle to the Corinthians; here the foundation of everything was in question. In the case of the Galatians the glory of Christ the Saviour was at stake, the only thing that could bring a soul into connection with God; and on the other hand it was a systematic work of Satan to overthrow the gospel of Christ as needed for the salvation of men.

Here, interrupting himself, he adds, "And I, if I preach circumcision, why am I persecuted?" It will in fact be seen that the Jews were habitually the instigators of the persecution which the apostle suffered from the Gentiles. The spirit of Judaism, as has been the case in all ages, the religious spirit of the natural man, has been Satan's great instrument in his opposition to the gospel. If Christ would put His sanction on the flesh, the world would come to terms and be as religious as you please, and would value itself upon its devotion. But in that case it would not be the true Christ. Christ came, a witness that the natural man is lost, wicked, and without hope, dead in his trespasses and sins; that redemption is necessary, and a new man. He came in grace, but it was because man was incapable of being restored; and consequently all must be pure grace and emanate from God. If Christ would have to do with the old man, all would be well; but, I repeat, He would no longer be Christ. The world then, the old man, does not endure Him. But there is a conscience, there is a felt need of religion, there is the prestige of an ancient religion held from one's fathers; true perhaps in its original foundations, although perverted. Thus the prince of the world will use carnal religion to excite the flesh, the ready enemy, when once awakened, of the spiritual religion which pronounces sentence upon it.

It is only to add something to Christ. But what? If it is not Christ and the new man, it is the old man, it is sinful man; and, instead of a needed and accomplished redemption, and an entirely new life from above, you have a testimony that agreement between the two is possible; that grace is not necessary, except at most as a little help; that man is not already lost and dead in his trespasses and sins, that the flesh is not essentially and absolutely evil. Thus the name of Christ is made subservient to the flesh, which willingly adorns itself with the credit of His name, in order to destroy the gospel from its very foundations. Only preach circumcision, accept the religion of the flesh, and all difficulty will cease; the world will accept your gospel, but it will not be the gospel of Christ. The cross in itself (that is, the total ruin of man — man proved to be the enemy of God), and perfect finished redemption by grace, will always be a stumbling-block to one who desires to maintain some credit for the flesh. "Would to God," says the apostle — for he sees the whole gospel falling into ruin before this device, and souls destroyed — "would to God that they who trouble you were cut off!" What have we seen since then? Where is the holy indignation of the apostle?

He then touches on the point of the practical consequences of this doctrine, and explains how the doctrine of perfect grace was connected, without the law, with a walk worthy of the people of God. Ye have then been called, he says, unto liberty: only use not your liberty for an occasion to the flesh — which the flesh would readily do. God gave the law to convince of sin; the flesh would use it to work out righteousness. He acts in grace, that we may be above sin and outside its dominion: the flesh would use grace as an occasion to sin without restraint. The Christian, truly free from the yoke of sin, as well as from its condemnation (for Christ risen is his life as well as his righteousness, and the Spirit is the power and guide of his walk towards glory, and according to Christ), instead of serving his lusts, seeks to serve others, as free to do it in love. Thus the law itself is fulfilled, without our being under its yoke: for the whole practical law is summed up in this word: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

If, yielding to the flesh, and attacking those who were not circumcised, they devoured one another, they were to take heed that they were not consumed one of another. But the apostle would give something more positive. "This I say then," he continues, after the interruption of his subject, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." It is not by putting oneself under the law that one has power against sin. It is the Spirit (given in virtue of the ascension of Christ our righteousness, to the right hand of God) who is the Christian's strength. Now the two powers, the flesh and the Spirit, are antagonistic. The flesh strives to hinder us when we would walk according to the Spirit, and the Spirit resists the working of the flesh to prevent it from accomplishing its will. [5] But if we are led of the Spirit, we are not under the law. Holiness, true holiness, is accomplished without the law, even as righteousness is not founded on it. 'Nor is there any difficulty in judging between what is of the flesh and what is of the Spirit; the apostle enumerates the sad fruits of the former, adding the sure testimony that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. The fruits of the Spirit are equally evident in their character, and assuredly against such things there was no law. If we walk according to the Spirit, the law will find nothing to condemn in us. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh and its lusts. This is what they are, inasmuch as they are Christians; it is that which distinguishes them. If these Galatians really lived, it was in the Spirit: let them then walk in the Spirit.

Note #5 It is not "so that ye cannot," but "in order that ye might not."


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