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BIBLE STUDY on the book of Galatians
Galatians Chapter 5
Application of the allegory (5:1-4)
SANCTIFICATION BY THE SPIRIT
We come now to the deep, practical side, which is sanctification by the Spirit. Sanctification is being set apart for God. Justification is by faith; sanctification is by the Spirit of God. Scripture tells us, however, that the Lord Jesus Christ has been made unto us sanctification . . . that is, God sees us complete in Him. It does not matter how good you become, you will NEVER meet His standard on your own power! You will NEVER be like Christ in this life. Christ is the only One about whom God said, “… This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mat. 3:17).
The body of believers, the church, has been put in Christ. He is the Head of the body; those of us who are believers are His body in the world today . . . and we must represent Him, must tell of Him (Mat.28:19)! The process of sanctification is by the Spirit. In this section we will see the Spirit versus the flesh. Either you are a do-it-yourself “Christian” OR Christ does it through you. His method is doing it through you. In this section we see liberty versus bondage. Any legal system puts you under bondage, and you have to follow it meticulously.
SAVED BY FAITH AND LIVING BY LAW MEANS “FALLING FROM GRACE”
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (KJV)
Paul tells us that NOT only are we saved by faith rather than by law, but law is NOT to be the rule of life for the believer. We are NOT to live by law. The Law is NOT to be the rule for Christian living. We have been saved by grace . . . and we are to continue to live by grace.
God's grace imparts the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit which enables us to live on a much higher plane than the Law demanded. When we trust Christ as Saviour by faith, we receive salvation, justification and sanctification. We do NOT need to seek anything more! When we come to Christ, we get everything we need! We have been blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (Eph.1:3). IF you do not believe this, and think that you have to go to the Law for something . . . you have NOT believed Him, you have NOT trusted Him! We have liberty in Christ. He does NOT put us under some legal system. We do NOT use the Ten Commandments as a law of life. We are NOT under the Ten Commandments . . . they were for the Jews! We are under Jesus’ Commandments! Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 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. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)
TRUE believers are to do ALL they can to please Him. My conduct is to please Jesus . . . not to please you . . . only Jesus! That is the liberty that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Since Christ has set us free; make sure that you stay free. Do NOT get tangled up again in slavery to the law.
Galatians 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (KJV)
Circumcision was the symbol, a badge of the Law. A badge testifies that you belong to a certain organization. It might be better if some “Christians” would wear a badge, because that is about the only way you could tell that some people are Christians. Here, Paul says that if you put on the badge of the Law, which is circumcision, then faith in Christ does not profit you anything. What Paul is saying is: If you trust Christ . . . but try to add something, try to make it better . . . you are NOT saved. If you go so far as to be circumcised, which is only the symbol or badge of the Law, or if you go through some other experience, some ridiculous ritual and rest your salvation on that, “Christ shall profit you nothing.” YOU cannot decide what you must do to save your soul! God has already done that, long, long ago (Eph.1:3-5). All that you will do is anger God and call Him a “liar” (1 John 5:10). Unless you trust Christ, and Christ alone for your salvation, you are doomed to the pits of Hell (John 8:24; 3:15-18,36; Mat.25:46). Paul makes it very clear when he says, “if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” If you trust ANYTHING other than Christ, you are NOT a Christian. Christ paid it ALL! All that you have to do is believe and accept it in FAITH!
Galatians 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (KJV)
You CANNOT pick and choose just what you want out of the Law. You CANNOT leave out the many penalties. IF you are determined to go the way of the Law , you must take it all or nothing. You MUST obey ALL the Law or be cursed (Gal.3:10; Deut.27:26). Also read Deut.11:28; 27:126; 28:14-47; 29:20,27; 30:7.
I am so glad that I am not under the Law. I have liberty in Christ! I admit that I have a problem of always pleasing Him, but He is the One I am trying to please . . . NOT some legal system. Circumcision was a symbol of the Law. NO amount of work, rituals, discipline or moral behavior can save us. If a person counts on finding favor with God by being circumcised (or baptized), he would also have to obey ALL the rest of God’s Law completely. To try to save ourselves by keeping God’s laws only separates us from Him, because we belittle and condemn the only Way (Christ) that He made possible for our salvation.
Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (KJV)
If anyone has been saved by trusting Christ, then they decide to go down to the low level of trying to live by the Law, or letting the Law “help” in salvation . . . they have fallen from grace.
WHAT does “falling from grace” really mean? Falling from grace Is NOT losing eternal life. Paul is talking to TRUE Christians here.
All those who think that falling from grace means the loss of eternal salvation are wrong! Let’s establish that it cannot be the loss of salvation. Paul taught that it was impossible for Christians to lose their salvation. See: Rom 8:38-39; Eph.1:13-14; 4:30; Col.2:13-14; 1 Thes.5:10; 2 Tim.2:13. Paul does NOT contradict himself. We cannot lose our status as God’s children. Once saved, always saved!
Since Scripture will NOT contradict itself, Paul did NOT mean that Christians can lose their salvation. Because Paul did not address the subject of eternal security in Galatians, we do not find explicit statements of eternal security in the book. BUT . . . nonetheless, we don't find the opposite either. Paul kept calling his readers "brethren" right up to the last verse of the epistle. Nowhere did he say anything like: "You once were Christians, but no longer are," or, "If you seek to be justified by the law, you will lose eternal life." Falling from grace is losing the experience of God’s amazing grace. . . . http://www.hisservants.org/OSAS_1_eternal_security_h_s.htm
SO . . . what did Paul mean? The word translated you have fallen (ekpipto) means to fall (as in withered flowers that fall to the ground). In this context it is used figuratively and refers to the loss of one's grip on grace as a principle to live by. The believers in the churches of Galatia were heavily influenced by legalistic teachers called Judaizers. They were saying that while salvation began by faith in Christ, no one could obtain final salvation without obeying the Law of Moses. Christians lose their grip on grace whenever they fall prey to the teachings of legalism. If a Christian leaves a church that teaches the Gospel of Christ and the grace of God, and joins one which does not (multiple cults today), he will quickly lose his grip on grace if he accepts the teaching of the new church. That's why Paul told the Galatians to run, not walk, away from the Judaizers (1:8-9). They were NOT to listen to them. You are NOT to listen the them today!
Believers cease to experience God's grace ANY time they make ANY attempt to be justified by the works or rituals that they do. Believers constantly fall prey to legalistic cults and denominations. Many believers today have been taught something which may SEEM harmless to them; that some work or ritual is needed to assure their salvation. BUT, once a believer accepts that teaching, he has fallen from grace, for he no longer looks to Christ alone for his assurance.
God's grace is wonderful. To experience it is absolutely one of God's grandest blessings! Losing one's grip on grace is terrible. Please my friend, do NOT fall from grace. So many of today’s ‘modern, seeker friendly’ churches and cults have some sort of work or ritual that they add to faith in Christ. BEWARE!!! If a church does not preach Christ and Christ alone, STAY away! If any church tries to tell you that you must be baptized, or circumcised go through some weird ritual, it of the devil! The preacher is a greedy, soft-spoken, deceiving wolf in sheep’s clothing! BEWARE!!! . . . Check out everyone by the BIBLE! . . . http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_f_d%20_baptismal_regeneration.htm . . . http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_1_false_teachers.1.htm . . . http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_cults_rich_preachers.1.htm
Sanctification by the Spirit, cont’d. . . . (Gal.5:5-15)
Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (KJV)
“The hope of righteousness” . . . is the only prophetic reference in this entire letter. This is very unusual, because in all Paul’s letters he has something to say about the Rapture or about Christ’s Second Coming to Earth to establish His Kingdom. But here in Galatians he only says: “the hope of righteousness by faith,” and that HOPE is the Lord Jesus Christ . . . He and He alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12)! The only hope is the blessed hope (Tit.2:13), and Christ alone is made unto us righteousness (1 Cor.1:30). Christ alone is our hope of eternal life (Tit.1:2; 3:7). . . . http://www.hisservants.org/rapture,_second_coming_h_s.htm
Paul’s emphasis in Galatians is on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Christian life. To the Galatians Paul writes simply, “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” I think Paul’s reason for saying this here is that believers will NOT, can NOT reach perfection in this life on Earth. A great imperfection today is to think you have reached perfection. All those who think they are perfect, are NOT . . . they are imperfect just like the rest of us . . . they simply will NOT admit it!
Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (KJV)
When we place our faith in Christ Jesus to save us, it makes NO difference whatsoever to God the Father if we are circumcised or not circumcised. It makes NO difference whether we are Jew or Gentile, or red, yellow, black or white! (Gal.3:26-29). What is important to God is for us to show our faith in love. James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (KJV)
Works do NOT save us! NO way! But, AFTER we are saved by faith in Christ, works we do prove that we are saved! No legal law, device or ritual will ever produce a Christian life. The formula . . . and there is just one, is simple: “faith which worketh by love.” That is the way we are to live the Christian life. FAITH . . . not the Law! Faith works in us by love, and that love will be produced by the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23) .
Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? (KJV)
Paul told them that they had been really doing well. Why did you stop obeying the Truth? How did the false teachers persuade you against the Truth? “The Truth” is the Gospel, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (John 14:6).
Galatians 5:8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. (KJV)
Paul says that it certainly was NOT God Who persuaded them to go back to the law, for He is the One who called you to freedom. It did NOT come from Christ but from a different source . . . false teachers!!! . . . BEWARE my friend! . . . http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_1_false_teachers.1.htm
Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (KJV)
In Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, leaven is always used as a symbol of evil. In Mat.13:33, when the woman hid leaven in three measures of meal, the leaven was NOT the Gospel as so many misinterpret. It may well be the kind of a “another gospel” (damnable heresy, 2 Pet.2:1) that is rampant in the world today. The Lord Jesus warned His disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees (Mat. 16:6). I think we need to be warned today of the leaven of legalism. Legalism teaches that when Christ died on the cross for you and me over 1900 years ago, He did not pay the full penalty of our sins, and that we have to go through a ritual of baptism or pursue speaking in tongues of some other THING to get the benefit of salvation. My friend, that is utter hogwash! We received it ALL when we accepted Christ. Christ is the One who paid the FULL penalty for our salvation. . . . http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_f_d%20_baptismal_regeneration.htm . . . http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_charismatics_tongues.1.htm
Galatians 5:10 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. (KJV)
Paul believed that the Galatians would eventually reject the teaching of the Judaizers. He told them, “I have confidence in you.” He felt that they had been seduced and misled through thoughtlessness, and now he would try to set them right again. He was
trusting the Lord to bring them back to believing the Truth once again.
Paul also tells them that God will judge that false teacher, whoever it is, who has been troubling and confusing them. There is SO much of this going on today. False teachers seem to be pouring out of every crack and crevice teaching damnable heresies. My friend, every last one of them shall be judged accordingly! Count on it! But, the worst part is that those who believe these wolves shall also be judged. BEWARE! FAITH in Christ, NOT works of the Law! There is SO much leaven today!
Galatians 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. (KJV)
Adding something to the Gospel makes it acceptable to uncountable millions! The Gospel, in itself, is NOT acceptable to the natural man (unbelievers). That is why so many of these modern, well liked preachers are filling these mega churches! Preaching the TRUE Gospel really does antagonize some people, so they make it palatable by adding something. In reality, the cross of Christ is a great offense to all that man prides himself in. It offends his morality because it tells him his work cannot justify him. It offends his philosophy because its appeal is to unseen faith and not to reason. It offends his culture because its Truths are revealed to babes (Lu.10:21), never to the worldly wise! It offends his sense of social class because God chooses the poor and humble. It offends his will because it demands unconditional surrender. It offends his pride because it reveals the exceeding sinfulness of the human heart. It offends the person because it tells him/her that they must be born again (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8).
Galatians 5:12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you. (KJV)
Paul said “I wish these Judaizers would go away and leave you alone.” I feel the same way about false teachers today. I hate them for the damage they do to souls.
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (KJV)
There are three ways of trying to live the Christian life . . . two of them will NOT work. One is a life of legalism, which Paul has been discussing. The other is the life of license, which Paul discussed in Romans 6. After we are saved by grace, can we live in sin? Paul’s answer is, “God forbid.” You CANNOT live in sin and be a Christian. If you persist in living in sin, you are NOT a Christian!
YES!!! A TRUE Christian may stumble and fall into sin, but he WILL crawl out of that hole! He will get out of it. The Prodigal Son found himself in the pig pen, but he did NOT stay there! He will NOT, he can NOT make his home there! That pig pen will NOT be his forwarding address. He will leave it because the Holy Spirit within all TRUE believers (Rom.8:9) and will NOT let him rest (1 John 3:6-10). The Christian life is NOT the life of legalism nor is it the life of license. It is SO sad how many believe this damnable heresy ! . . . http://www.hisservants.org/a_1_a_license_to_sin.htm
The third and only right way of living the Christian life is the life of liberty, and in the remainder of this chapter Paul will talk to us about living by liberty. The Gospel of grace frees us from doing wrong and allows us to do right. Grace does NOT set us free to sin, but it sets us free from sin. Believers should earnestly desire to please God, not because he must please Him like a slave, but because he is a son and he WANTS to please his Father. He does what God wants, not because he fears but because he wants to. Now Paul is going to reduce it to a simple statement, then he will amplify what he means.
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (KJV)
This is the Law is reduced to the lowest common denominator. This is the acid test for those who think they are living by the Law. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” The “one word” is LOVE. Jesus says so! (Mat.22:36-40).
Galatians 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. (KJV)
If Christians would help one another, and rejoice with one another, they would squabble less. Some so-called Christians seem to want to devour one another! It seems to me that the Spirit of love has departed from them and was replaced by an evil spirit, who seeks their destruction. How wonderful it would be, if Christians, instead of biting and devouring one another because of different opinions, would set themselves against sin, starting with themselves. When we are not motivated by love, we are critical of others. We should look for good in them but instead, see only their faults. I am guilty. Are you? Have you talked behind someone’s back? Have you focused on others’ shortcomings instead of their strengths? Let us love others as we love ourselves. Treat them as you would want to be treated. If we lived by this “Law” the world would be a better place.
SAVED BY FAITH AND WALKING IN THE SPIRIT PRODUCES FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Sanctification is through the Spirit, not the law . . . (5:16-26)
Paul contrasts what it is to live in the desires of the flesh with walking in the Spirit. As we enter this important section, the theme is sanctification by the Spirit. We CANNOT live the Christian life in our own power, but Christ can live it in us by His Spirit. What wonderful liberty, blessings and privileges TRUE Christians have!
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (KJV)
A TRUE Christian’s deep desire is to have the Christ-like characteristics listed in Gal.5:22-23. It is only then that we know that the Holy Spirit is leading us. We must be careful not to confuse our imagined feelings with the Spirit’s leading.
Walk in the Spirit . . . being led by the Holy Spirit involves the desire to hear, the desire to do God’s will, not our own, the willing desire to obey God’s Word, and the wisdom to discern between our feelings and His promptings. Live each day controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit. Then the words of Christ will be in your mind, the love of Christ will be behind your actions, and the power of Christ will help you control your selfish desires.
Lust of the flesh . . . refers to the desires of the flesh, many of which are really NOT immoral. There are many things which in themselves are NOT evil, but they can take the place of spiritual things IF we let them. If anything takes you away from that which is spiritual, then it is wrong.
Galatians 5:17 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. (KJV)
Paul describes the two forces battling within us . . . the Holy Spirit and our old sinful nature. Paul is not saying that these forces are equal. The Holy Spirit is definitely much stronger (1 Jn.4:4). BUT . . . any time that we rely on our own wisdom, we can make wrong choices. The only way to freedom from our evil desires is through the empowering of the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:9; Eph. 4:23-24; Col. 3:3-8). A believer is given a new nature. Our Lord told Nicodemus: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).
still have that old nature of the flesh. And Paul knew this all too well. Do NOT believe those who tell you that you get rid of that old nature when you are born again. That is a tragic mistake. John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). We have two natures . . . the old and the new. Even Godly Paul struggled with this (Rom.7:14-25). He himself experienced the discord of the two natures. The flesh wars against the Spirit, and the Spirit wars against the flesh. The old nature rebels against the new nature. We all have a nature that is prone to wander, prone to leave God and His goodness. There are people who say, “I can’t tell whether I am walking in the Spirit or not.” Don’t kid yourself! You know. Paul spells it out so you cannot miss it. The Holy Spirit of God brings us to a higher plane.
Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. (KJV)
When a person is led by the Spirit, we are NOT under the Law. Now Paul makes it quite clear what the works of the flesh are.
Galatians 5:19-21 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. (KJV)
The things Paul lists are like a brood of vipers! Sensual sins, religious sins, social sins, personal sins. Adultery, fornication (prostitution), uncleanness is impurity, pornography; lasciviousness is filthy lewdness, brutality, sadism (abounding in our day). Idolatry, worship of idols (this includes money and everything that
takes the place of God). Witchcraft includes drugs, (drugs are used in all heathen religions). Hatred (enmity). Variance is contentions, quarrels. Emulations is rivalry, jealousy. Wrath is a hot temper, fierceness, indignation. Strife is factions, group of dissidents, cliques (little circles in a church hurt the cause of Christ). Seditions is divisions. Heresies here is disunion, parties, sects. Envyings is jealousy, spite, envy. Murder starts with hatred (1 John 3:15). Drunkenness is intoxication by booze or drugs. Revelings is rioting, wantonness.
Paul concludes this list of the works of the flesh by “and such like,” meaning there are many more he could have mentioned. “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” indicates continuous action.
IF you do any of these things STOP IT! Again, I bring up the Prodigal Son. He went so low he got down in the pig pen, BUT . . . he did NOT stay there. The only ones that stay in a pig pen are pigs. If a son gets there, he will NOT be happy until he gets out. If a person says they are a Christian, and continues to live in sin, continues to practice sin (1 Jn.2:1), you are in a VERY dangerous situation. It means you are not a child of God.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (KJV)
The Lord Jesus talked about the fruit of the Spirit in John 15. He said that without Him we could do nothing. That is SO true! Fruit is what Jesus wants in our lives. He wants us to bear much fruit. This fruit is produced by the Lord Jesus using the Spirit of God in our lives. He wants to live His life through us. NO believer can live the Christian life himself. Our old nature CANNOT produce the fruit of the Spirit.
Paul says that we have NO power to produce the fruit of the Spirit. “… to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom.7:18). Living a Christian life is NOT a do-it-yourself project! The fruit is produced by our yielding, our submitting to the Holy Spirit who indwells us. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.” LOVE is primary. LOVE is the leader of this awesome group of graces (1 Cor. 13:1-13). From LOVE stems all other fruits. The Holy Spirit produces these character traits that are found in Christ. We CANNOT obtain them by trying to get them in our own power. If we want the fruit of the Spirit to grow in us, we must join our lives to Jesus (John 15:4-5). The fruit of the Spirit are exact opposites to the lust of the flesh.
Love vs hate. Peace vs variance. Joy vs strife. Longsuffering (patience) vs quick temper, wrath. Gentleness vs fierce, cruel. Goodness vs evil, immoral. Faith vs doubt, distrust. Meekness vs proud, arrogant. Temperance (self control) vs no restraint.
Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (KJV)
When we accept Christ as Saviour, we need to be willing to turn from our sins and nail our sinful nature to the cross. This does not mean that evil desires will stay away. They will NOT! Satan will see to that. We still have the capacity to sin, to give in to temptation, but we have been set free from sin’s power over us. With each new day, we must turn over our sinful tendencies to God’s control, crucify them daily and draw on the Spirit’s power to help us overcome them (Gal.2:20; 6:14; Rom.6:13; Col.3:3).
Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (KJV)
We need to lean on the Spirit of God. Yielding to Him is an act of the will. Do NOT ever quench the Spirit (1 Thes.5:19). Let Him work in your life! Start each day by saying, “Lord, help me live today in a way that pleases You.”
Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (KJV)
“Provoking one another” is challenging or irritating one another. We should not challenge or envy one another. We should learn to be content in the situation (state) we are in (Phil.4:11; Heb.13:5). Don’t go out of your way to get honor and glory. That belongs to GOD! Conceit shows lack of following the Holy Spirit’s leading. Those who look to God for approval will not need to envy others. Because we are God’s sons and daughters, we have His Holy Spirit as the loving guarantee of His approval (Rom.8:9). Consider that the Christian life is not like a daily ascension to the mountain top with some great overpowering experience of soaring to the heights. Instead it is a daily walk with the Lord. It is depending upon the Holy Spirit for wisdom, faith and strength. Not all days will be ‘good’ days. You shall have some ‘bad’ days at times. Always remember, He will never leave you, never forsake you (Heb.13:5). He may not take your trouble away, but He will walk with you through it. Trust Him!
Book of Galatians
Ch.1 . Ch.2 . Ch.3 . Ch.4 . Ch.5 . Ch.6