Galatians 5 (ESV)
Christ Has Set Us Free
1For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
This is the will of God for you: your freedom. Uncompromising, unrelenting, indomitable freedom. For this Christ died. For this he rose. For this he sent his Spirit. There is nothing he wills with more intensity under the glory of his own name than this: your freedom.
HERE Chris Armfield sings “For Freedom,” a song he based on this verse.
2Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.
“Tongue cannot express, nor heart conceive what a terrible thing it is to make Christ worthless.”
3I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
Paul is explaining that if someone chooses circumcision as a way to please God, then he is under contract, so to speak, to continue in the law. It shows he distrusts grace, and trusts rather in his own ability to keep the law. Then Christ does no good for him, since he must first trust Christ.
5For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
See how carefully, how logically, how powerfully Paul has set out his argument? I bet he was the captain of his high school debate team! He says: What does not matter? Circumcision (law). What does matter? Faith working through love (gospel). He could not make it any clearer!
7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
“‘Circumcision’ stands for a religion of human achievement, of what man can do by his own good works; ‘Christ’ stands for a religion of divine achievement, of what God has done through the finished work of Christ. ‘Circumcision” means law, works, and bondage; ‘Christ’ means grace, faith and freedom. Every person must choose.”
13For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
“If you want to know how you ought to love your neighbor, ask yourself how much you love yourself. If you were to get into trouble or danger, you would be glad to have the love and help of all men. You do not need any book of instructions to teach you how to love your neighbor. All you have to do is to look into your own heart, and it will tell you how you ought to love your neighbor as yourself.”
Walk by the Spirit
16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.
How easily we rush through these sins, thinking perhaps that most of them don’t apply to us — but I have found it a good exercise to go through the list slowly, searching my heart and mind, confessing how many of them DO apply to me. Thank you, Lord, that You are willing to forgive me and renew me!
I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
HERE is a fun and funny song to help you remember the fruits of the Spirit! Thank you, Brian Dunn!
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Regardless of who you are, the Spirit works from the same model, Jesus Christ, to produce Christ’s character in you. The Spirit looks to Christ in order to find the blueprint for your character. The Spirit will help you experience and practice the same love that Jesus had when He laid down His life for His friends. The same joy He experienced will now fill you. The identical peace that guarded the heart of Jesus, even as He was being beaten and mocked, will be the peace that the Spirit works to instill in you. The patience Jesus had for His most unteachable disciple will be the patience that the Spirit now develops in you. The kindness Jesus showed toward children and sinners will soften your heart toward others. There will be a goodness about you that is only explainable by the presence of the Spirit of God. The Spirit will build the same faithfulness into you that led Jesus to be entirely obedient to His Father. Christ’s gentleness will be displayed in you. The Spirit will teach you self-control so that you will have strength to do what is right and to resist temptation.
24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.