Galatians 5

1. Christ has set us free, so stand strong and do not let yourselves be caught again in the chains of slavery!

The Judaizers were saying that Paul's teaching of freedom from the Law would cause people to think that they could do anything they want to. They were thinking that the Law was given to control people.

The Pharisees were following the suggestions of the devil to bring demonic attacks on the minds of the people.

They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. Matthew 23:4

Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? Acts 15:10

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

2 – 3

Pay attention, this is me, Paul speaking to you! If you listen to the Judaizers, and get circumcised then Christ will be of no help to you! I will say this seriously again to everyone of you: every man who agrees to be circumcised is a slave to obey every part of the Law!

This kind of talk still goes on today in the church. One group says that you cannot smoke cigarettes or do something else, and still be a Christian. The other group says,
"You are teaching legalism! I can do anything I want to as long as I believe in Jesus!"

The Bible teaches us to be balanced. Yes, you can eat honey but do not eat too much (Proverbs 25:16).

Yes, you can eat meat or you can be a vegetarian, just do not push it on someone else (Romans 14:21).

Loving other Christians is like being married, you have to decide to give each other some personal freedoms or you will live in constant arguing. A marriage where one person controls the other by their “house rules” is like a Pharisee who lives with no love in his heart but keeps the Law very carefully.

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. James 2:10

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. Hebrews 6:1

4 – 5

If you try to be made clear before God by the Law, you cut yourself off from the power of Christ. You have fallen away from grace. For it is by faith, in the Spirit, that we expect to be made clear before God.

Many people believe that we cannot fall from grace. They will say that when Paul talks about this he means that the Galatians were in danger of failing to live in God's grace.

The balance of Scripture shows us that rejecting Jesus Christ causes a man to fail to live in God's grace. If the Galatians expected to be saved by keeping the Law, they would be rejecting Jesus.

There are many ideas about what the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit means. The dictionary says that blasphemy is speaking against God, but the truth is that blasphemy is rejecting the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks to the hearts of men to bring them to Christ. When someone rejects the Holy Spirit -he is rejecting Jesus. This sin will not be forgiven because such a one is choosing hell for himself.

Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Matthew 12:31

How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of g race? Hebrews 10:29

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt. Hebrews 6:4-6

6. In Jesus there is no help in being circumcised or in not being circumcised. It is through faith which shows itself in love.

Love is the way you live out [complete] the law. Romans 13:10

Genuine love is faith that works. See James 2:18.

The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God's law. But if you don't obey God's law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. Romans 2:25

7 – 8

You were running very well, who cut you off in the race and stopped you from following the truth? This kind of teaching does not come from the One who is calling you.

You would never come to believe what some church groups believe by reading the Bible. You would only get their ideas from listening to their false teachings. Go to the Bible only for teaching and you will never go wrong.

9 - 10

A little bit of leaven fills the whole lump of dough. I have confidence in the Lord that you will not allow this leaven to spread in your mind and that the one who is making trouble for you shall be judged. No matter who he is!

How did the Judaizers bring their teachings into the churches of Galatia? They did it, through the inspiration of the devil, by just planting little seeds of doubts about Paul's teaching.

If an airplane is only 1% off course it will miss the airport. To put it another way, would you drink a glass of water which has only one drop of poison in it?

Jesus said to them, “Watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 16:6

11 – 12

Since the Judaizers say that I am still teaching that you must be circumcised, then why do they continue to fight against me? If I did teach this, then the whole stumbling block of the cross would disappear! I wish the ones who are making trouble for you would just cut themselves off!

Martin Luther said that the cross was the centerpiece of the Christian faith. Reminding ourselves that our old life was put to death on the cross is a good way to think about what to do with our new life.

13. You have been called to freedom, my brothers. Be careful that this freedom does not open the door for your flesh, but keep serving each other in love.

See the notes on verses 2 and 3.

They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. 2 Peter 2:19

14. For the whole Law can be made complete with this one command: love your neighbor in the same way that you want to be treated yourself.

You would not like it if someone were forced to say that they loved you. God does not want this kind of fake love that comes from trying to know Him by keeping his Laws.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 19:19

15. But if you bite and tear each other to pieces like wild animals, be careful that you do not destroy your fellowship completely!

But avoid foolish arguments and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

Reject a man who is always arguing after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man has moral problems and is sinning - and he knows it!. Titus 3:9 – 11

16. What I mean is this: live your whole life in the Spirit and you will not want to do anything in your flesh.

Some groups teach that the filling of the Holy Spirit is a one-time event. How would you know if you are living in the Spirit unless you are tested?

Let us try a quick test and see what happens when somebody offends you. If you isolate yourself from them, or start an argument or tell everybody what they did to you, then you are living in the flesh.

If you give them a soft answer and turn the other cheek and offer it up to God as a sacrifice, then you are living in the Spirit. If you stay in the Word and in prayer and continue to respond with your Spirit instead of your flash, watch what happens. God will make a change in their situation and your situation.

Another way of saying this is, respond with the Spirit and you will not want to respond in the flesh.

17. Because the flesh fights against the Spirit and the Spirit is against the flesh. These things are against each other to remind you not to do the things that you think you want to do.

When your body, soul and spirit are working against you to suggest that you do something that you know you should not do -this is spiritual warfare. There is danger when you put the things of the world first - before Spiritual things.

God wants to protect you from this danger so He may use His rod to take the wrong kind of things out of your life.

Your rod and Your staff - they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

It is good for me that I was disciplined, that I might pay attention to your Law. Psalm 119:71

For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and corrects every son whom He receives. Hebrews 12:6

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Romans 7:18-19

18. But if you follow the leading of the Spirit you will not be living under the Law.

The older brother served his father faithfully (as if he was under the law of his father) but had no love in his heart and even did not respect his father.

He answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command. Luke 15:29

19 - 21

It is easy to see with the works of the flesh are:

Sex without marriage, uncleaness, immoral, sexual suggestions, putting other things before God, witchcraft,, hatred, arguments, being greedy, anger, selfishness, turning people against each other, envy, being drunk, open immorality, and other things like this that I have warned you about when I told you that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

These things could be the names of demons! The world thinks only of what they call the Seven Deadly Sins (Proverbs 6:16-19) but how many of these things are found in the life of some Christians?

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

22 – 23

But the Holy Spirit grows the fruit of love, which has, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, loyalty, endurance, and self-control. There is no law against any of these things.

A machine can create works, but a machine cannot create fruit.

There is only one fruit of the Spirit, which is love. When we walk in the Spirit this one fruit can overcome the list of things that are done in the flesh. The rest of the verse tell us the different ways that love is shown.

Unloving obedience to the law cannot produce this kind of fruit. The Law forbids these things, but the law of love also forbids them.

What shows when someone pushes the wrong button inside of you? What is inside a man's heart comes out of his mouth with his words. Matthew 12:34

24. Those who belong to Jesus have crucified the flesh with and all the things that it loved and wanted.

We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:6

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature tells you to do. For if you live by its commands, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. Romans 8:12-13

25. If the Holy Spirit is the center of your life then let your life be guided by the Spirit.

God is waiting for you to give up on trying to respond to life all by yourself.

Stop wrestling and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

W hoever has entered God's rest has also rested from doing his own works as God did from His. Hebrews 4:10

26. Let us not become proud or always challenging and being jealous of each other.

Especially among men, there is something called the Alpha Male, or the Top Dog. Some men seem to think that life is like a sports competition. Even on the job, they are always trying to climb the ladder.

Jesus said that if anyone wants to be seen as a leader he should become a servant (Mark 10:34). There are no big shots in the church. There are no lower-class people. Let us keep this kind of spirit out of the church.