Grace Life Study

Galatians 5

 

1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

  • "Therefore" - What is it there for? At the end end of chapter 4, Paul was talking about how we are rightful heirs of all of God’s promises by faith. Now, we can stand fast in that liberty knowing that Christ has made us free!
  • In Christ, we are no longer under the yoke of bondage, but under grace we are under Jesus’ yoke. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
  • The Message Bible translates Matthew 11:28-30 say, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.”
  • A yoke of bondage will burn you out over time, but Jesus’ yoke will cause you to live freely and lightly!

 

2  Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

  • Paul was circumcised. He’s not saying that these things are necessarily bad, he’s just reminding them that they should not trust in any external action for justification. 
  • Whether it’s circumcision, water baptism, or any other religious act, trusting in anything other than Christ will cause you to miss out on all the benefits of being His heir; it’s all about Jesus!

 

3  And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

  • Again, as in Galatians 5:2, circumcision in itself is not bad; trusting in any outward action for salvation will profit you nothing.
  • If you are trusting in the Law for justification, you must fulfill the entire Law. James 2:10 says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”
  • The Law is more than the ten Commandments; it contains 613 laws. The laws include not wearing clothes that consist of mixed linens, not eating meat, and not getting a haircut. So, if you want to live by the Law, you must live by all of it.

 

4  You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

  • “Fallen from grace” “does not mean that grace was taken from them, or that they had lost their salvation, but they have turned their backs on it. 
  • Grace (God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense) is unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor. Grace is not earned, it’s a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). The moment you trust in yourself for your salvation, you have “fallen from grace.”
  • Salvation isn’t limited to going to heaven when you die. All the benefits of salvation can start the moment you are born again. God has already given you everything you need for life and godliness, but if you don’t believe it, you won’t experience it.

 

5  For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

  • When we are born again, we become the righteousness of God in Christ. It’s not something we have to work for, we are justified by faith alone! People have a problem understanding this because they don’t feel righteous, but this change happened in our spirits at salvation. We still have a soul and a body that the benefits of salvation need to be worked into. 
  • In Greek, the word “hope” is elpis and it means a “positive expectation.” Paul is saying, “We through the spirit eagerly wait in expectation of righteousness by faith.”
  • We can expect all the promises of God in our lives when we put our trust in His righteousness that was places on the inside of us the moment we were born again. 

 

6  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

  • Faith works by love means faith becomes effective by love. You will experience the benefits of your faith when you walk in the love of God. 
  • Paul has spent over 5 chapters of this letter talking about how we are not justified by works, but many people have even made a work out of love! They believe they have to love others to make their faith effective, but that’s not what this verse is saying. The love of God will make your faith effective. Understanding that you are saved by grace through faith, not of your works, will make your faith effective.

 

7  You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

  • The Galatians started off well. They allowed Paul’s teaching of the gospel to transform their lives, but then they allowed someone to hinder their progress; They lost focus on the prize.
  • I once saw a video of some marathon runners. Thee car that was leading them to the home stretch turned off the road to allow the winners to cross the finish line. The man in the lead lost focus of the goal, and followed the car down the side street and ended up losing the race. Taking your focus off the prize (Jesus) will cause major disappointments in your life. 

 

8  This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

  • God isn’t the one who led them down this path. 
  • A little leaven leavens the whole bunch. Mixing law and grace will ruin everything and it causes you to fall from grace, and Christ has died in vain.
  • In modern terms, I could say that I made some brownies and mixed just a little bit of manure into each one. Would you still eat it? I hope not! Mixing a little law with grace is just as disgusting.

 

10  I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

  • Paul has confidence that they will correct their ways of thinking.
  • The worst sin of all is self-righteousness. God is long-suffering to all manner of sin, but those who maintain their own holiness as sufficient fall under judgment because of their own choices, not God’s.

 

11  And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

  • The Passion Translation translates Galatians 5:11-12 as, “Dear friends, why do you think the religious system persecutes me? Is it because I preach the message of being circumcised and keeping all the laws of Judaism? Not at all! Is there no longer any offense over the cross? To tell you the truth, I am so disgusted with all your agitators, who are obsessed with cutting—I wish they would go even further and cut off their legalistic influence from your lives!”
  • If Paul was still preaching circumcision, like he had been accused of, the persecution would have stopped. He’s showing them how the things those people are saying are hypocritical. 
  • Paul just wishes those people would leave and stop influencing the Galatian churches.

 

13  For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

  • Understanding the freedom that grace provides will not cause you to sin more, it will cause you to serve one another. Understanding the love that God has for you will cause you to see the world the way God sees it.

 

14  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

  • Paul is telling them that they aren’t even following the law that they want to live by. The entire law can be summed up in loving one another as they love themselves (John 13:34), but all that is happening in the Galatian church is division. 
  • 1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” We can’t love God, other people, or even ourselves until we truly understand the love that God has for us. Once we understand that, it will be shown in how we treat others.

 

16  I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.You have a choice, you can walk in the spirit or lust after the flesh.

  • The New Living Translation say, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”
  • God has given you the power to overcome the sins in your life, but most people continue to struggle in these areas. Addiction, lack, sickness, and anything else sin brought into this world can only be overcome by walking in the spirit. Many people will try to get through their problems with discipline and hard work, but walking in the spirit will cause these things to leave your life effortlessly. 
  • Hebrews 4:10 tells us to “enter into His rest.” The only thing we need to discipline ourselves in is to enter into His rest, or walk in the spirit. His burden is light; if you are struggling in an area of your life, enter into His rest and the sin will take care of itself. 
  • You can either walk in the spirit or the flesh, not both. James 1:8 says that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. If you have an unstable life, it’s probably because you are trying to balance a life in the spirit with a life in the flesh.

 

19  Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

  • This is a list of what you can expect from a life in the flesh rather than the spirit.
  • “Those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The word “inherit” in greek is klēronomeō and it means “to partake of.” Practicing these thing will cause you to not partake of the kingdom of God and all of it’s benefits. 
  • In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus says, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” 
  • You already possess the Kingdom of God inside of you! If you practice the lust of the flesh, you are still saved, you just won’t partake of all the power that is already on the inside of you.
  • When you practice something, it means you are trying to get better at it. Everyone has times where they lust after the flesh and fall into something in the list in Galatians 5:19-21, but after salvation, a change happens in your spirit. Even when you still do the things that your flesh desires, you will not find your fulfillment in those things anymore, and will not practice these things in the same way they used to.

 

22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

  • I used to think the Fruit of the Spirit was the standard that every christian should live by, but fruit grows effortlessly. 
  • A banana tree doesn’t have to strive to produce bananas; it is rooted and grounded as a banana tree and will effortlessly grow bananas. When you walk in the spirit, and are rooted and grounded in the love of God, these are the things that will be produced in your life. 
  • If you are struggling with depression, walk in the spirit and it will leave. If you cant control your emotions and desires, walk in the spirit and self-control will manifest. 
  • This isn’t the standard of the christian life, this is the expectation that we can have in a relationship with God.

 

24  And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

  • You are a brand new creation in Christ; your old man has passed away and you have a brand new spirit on the inside of you (2 Corinthians 5:17). When you walk in the flesh, you are resurrecting a person who died the moment you were born again. 
  • There is a separation here between living in the spirit and walking in the spirit. When you were born again, you are now living in a new spirit, but you have a choice on whether or not you want to walk in that new life you have been given.

 

26  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

  • God’s first priority for us is to have healthy relationships. When we walk in the spirit, we be able to see others the way that God sees them.

 

 

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