Galatians 5.14-26

A single command sums up the entire law:
Love neighbor with love for self, his burdens bear;
But if among yourselves you bite and claw,
By one another you’ll be consumed — beware!

Live by the Spirit, not the flesh’s desire,
For these to the holy God are ever opposed;
Be led by him, and live both better and higher,
Open to good, to carnal practices closed.

READ: “But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” Gal 6.14.

THINK: Boasting or glorying is to take pride in something or “to make a boast about” something (BGAD). In the sense above, it is to base one’s importance or value upon something. God’s people glory in God himself, Jer 9.23-24; 1 Cor 1.31; 2 Cor 10.17. The world of one’s own accomplishments is dead to them. “Everything has been given by God, so to God alone belong the praise and the glory” (TLNT). Continue reading

What vehicle will take us to God? This is the great question for humanity. In order to be accepted by God, dependence upon works, such as those practiced through the law of Moses, is incapable of winning us his approval.

For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.
Galatians 3.21b NET Continue reading

Yesterday, following our yearly plan, we read Matthew 28. The facts of the resurrection were plainly laid out. We’ve often emphasized that the gospel contains facts to be believed, promises to be received, and commandments to be obeyed. That’s right. These facts are not unrelated, but make up the salvation history of God’s plan of redemption. So when someone changes or challenges the facts, they must not be permitted to get away with it. This is why Paul starts his letter to the Galatians with a double condemnation.

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.
Galatians 1.11 NET Continue reading

To people whose religion had become an exercise in perfectionism and, therefore, a competition with others (which always generates conflicts and fights), Paul shows the exercise of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NET

The law prohibits, but it cannot produce.

The works of the flesh are obvious, but the fruit of the Spirit does not protest in the public square.

The works of the flesh are various, but the fruit of the Spirit is one.

The fruit of the Spirit is produced in the midst of the works of the flesh, not in a vacuum or far from the world. Because of this, there is always a “but.”

The fruit of the Spirit is received from God (love, joy, peace), transforms our treatment of our neighbor (patience, kindness, goodness), and reaches the self (faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).

The fruit of the Spirit serves everyone, all the time.

In a world that judged wisdom as the maximum, to call someone a fool was almost an insult. For Christians to act according to the foolishness of the world, however, was the last straw.

Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?
Galatians 3:3 NET

Behind the verse is the great contrast Spirit/flesh. The Galatian Christians were being led to adopt a greater religiosity, following the teachers who insisted on observing the law of Moses. But Paul describes this religiosity as carnality, based on human effort, bound to fail, falling under the divine curse.

We started in the gospel by faith in Christ. Let us continue in that faith. From faith to faithfulness. For in it is our spiritual inheritance.

We have two options: either we prove to God our own goodness, or we accept his grace through the faithfulness of Christ. Human goodness is a fiction that many adopt.

I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
Galatians 2:21 NLT

The fight that Paul takes on in Galatians is this. People wanted to use Moses’ law as a means to establish their own righteousness. They said they could be right with God through the law. They insisted with the Galatian Christians that the way to get to God was through the law, because they had made it into a system of meritorious works.

Paul categorically denies this possibility. Such a fiction negates the necessity for Christ’s death.

Perhaps few today use Moses’ law for self-righteousness, but many use other systems of merit to declare themselves good and to recommend themselves to God. Because of this, the letter to the Galatians continues to be applicable, even more so today, if that’s possible.

For one of the greatest barriers to the gospel is the thought that one’s own goodness excludes the need for Christ’s purifying blood.