5:1-4 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made
us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold,
I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you
nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he
is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto
you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Christ has made us
free from the law of sin and death: Rom. 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit
of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and
death." We are no longer under the condemnation of the law or the
bondage of the law. We will also be delivered from the corruption of our
flesh nature through the covenant promise of Christ. Further, we are no
longer under the bondage of worship and service under the law covenant,
because Christ has fulfilled it for us. We may now worship God in Spirit
and in truth. We are free from the condemnation of heart that we had
before we came to the knowledge of the truth and now realize that Jesus
has saved us from our sins. With the freedom that we have because of
what Christ has done for us and to us and the knowledge of salvation
that he has given us and the faith that he has delivered to us, we
should stand fast and not go back under the bondage of legalism and law
worship. Anyone who tries to get right with God through their own
efforts or according to some legalistic system is in bondage to legalism
and is not free to the knowledge of the truth. The Lord said, "Ye shall
know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
"Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall
profit you nothing." If circumcision could make us free from the
bondage, corruption, and condemnation of sin, then what purpose did
Christ's coming and sacrificial atonement serve. If I could do something
to make myself right with God, then there was no reason for Christ to
come and redeem me. If my efforts are required to make me free from sin,
then Christ is of no profit to me. However, of course, Christ is our
salvation and we can do nothing to make ourselves free from sin.
Circumcision cannot make us free from sin nor assist in making us free
I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to
do the whole law." The law required perfection. To keep one part of the
law, but fail to keep another part of the law rendered us guilty of the
whole law: James 2:8 "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the
scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But
if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the
law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet
offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not
commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery,
yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." Therefore,
if we seek righteousness through keeping the law, then we must keep the
whole law perfectly. We cannot just add circumcision and leave off the
rest of the law, but if we are circumcised, then we are debtor to keep
the whole law, if we desire to obtain righteousness through the works of
However, it is impossible for us to obtain righteousness through the
keeping of the law. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of
God. There is none righteous, not not one.
"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified
by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Anyone who thinks that he is
justified by the keeping of the law, has no place for Christ, even if
they use the name in their attempts at worship. They believe that
eternal salvation is dependent on what they do and not totally dependent
on Christ. Christ has become of no effect unto them. They are fallen
from grace. That does not mean that they are fallen from being embraced
by the grace of God, but it means that they have fallen from a belief in
salvation by grace. The vast majority of Christ professing people have
through their ignorance gone under a "grace, but" doctrine and therefore
are fallen from a belief in salvation by grace alone. They are under the
bondage of a religious works system.
5:5, 6 "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness
by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing,
nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
hope of righteousness is the hope of the resurrection of our bodies to
be conformed to the image of Christ and to be housed in the glory world.
This hope is set forth for us in Rom. 8:23 "And not only they, but
ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we
ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the
redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is
seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But
if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."
have this hope through covenant promise from God: Tit. 1:2 "In hope of
eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world
we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." This
verse implies that we have the Spirit and we do because of the new or
spiritual birth. Further, it implies that we are waiting for something,
which we are. We are waiting for the hope of righteousness in the
resurrection. As we have already noted, this hope is a result of God's
covenant promise. By faith, that was imparted unto us in the new birth,
we wait for this hope of righteousness. Our faith is not the cause of
our obtaining the resurrection, but is the means by which we embrace the
covenant promise of God. By faith that was given to us in the new birth,
we wait for the hope of righteousness.
in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor
uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." The word, "availeth,"
comes from a Greek word, "ischuo," and means "can do." So in Jesus
Christ neither circumcision can do anything, nor uncircumcision. This
teaches us that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any availing
properties in the worship and service of Jesus Christ. What does avail
in the worship and service of Jesus Christ is faith. This is the faith
that is the fruit of the Spirit and of which we have as a result of
being born of the Spirit. In the worship and service of God, we should
walk by faith. This faith manifests itself by love. We have this love
because of the new birth. Love also is a fruit of the Spirit.
5:7-12 "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey
the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9 A
little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 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. 11 And I,
brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution?
then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12 I would they were even cut
off which trouble you."
are several points that we can make from the above passage of scripture:
The Galatian brethren at one time believed and held to the truth of
salvation by grace alone.
2. The Galatian brethren had been persuaded to turn from the truth to
believe that circumcision was necessary to be saved from sin.
3. This persuasion by false brethren was not of God who had called them
to spiritual life. The men who were doing the persuading were false
teachers and not under the leadership of God.
4. Just one legalistic requirement (leaven) leavens the doctrine of
salvation by grace so that it is no longer salvation by grace alone. The
whole lump is leavened by one legalistic requirement.
5. Paul had confidence that the Lord would lead the brethren out of
their error and back to a knowledge of the truth.
6. Further, Paul believed that God would judge the false teacher, who
had persuaded the brethren to believe a lie, for what he did.
7. Paul pointed out that he suffered persecution from those who hold to
a legalistic works system. If Paul had preached circumcision then he
would logically not suffer persecution from those who hold to a
legalistic works system.
8. Paul desired that the false teachers be cut off from the brethren of
5:13-18 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not
liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take
heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in
the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 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. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the
brethren, ye have been called unto liberty." This is true both with the
effectual call of the Holy Spirit and of the gospel call to repentance
and service. The effectual call delivers us from the law of sin and
death. It imparts a new nature within us that enables us to understand
the things of the Spirit of God and to seek after God. It delivers us
from the bondage of our fleshly sin nature. In this fleshly sin nature,
we are dead in trespasses and sins, unable to seek after God, unable to
understand the things of the Spirit of God, unable to fear God, unable
to do good, and unable to cease from sin. Thus, the effectual call of
the Holy Spirit that causes us to be born of the Spirit of God brings
forth a nature whereby we can cry, "Abba, Father." We can do good, we
can seek God, we can understand the things of the Spirit of God, we can
walk uprightly, and we can worship God in Spirit and in truth.
gospel call to repentance and service delivers the born-again children
of God from false doctrines, from false worship, from many pitfalls in
our daily lives, from the errors of ignorance, from sinful practices,
from personal destruction in our lives, in the lives of our families,
and it leads us unto the true worship and true service of God.
Therefore, the effectual call of the Holy Spirit and the gospel call to
repentance and service give us liberty that we would never have without
use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh." Paul addresses this issue
more fully in the book of Romans. Romans 3:5-8 "But if our
unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is
God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for
then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more
abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a
sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some
affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation
unrighteousness does not commend the righteousness of God. God does take
vengeance on unrighteousness. Further, we should not expect that by
doing evil that good will come. It is dishonoring to the Lord who saved
us from our sins for us to use our liberty for an occasion to the flesh.
While it is true that we are saved by God's grace and that our sins will
not prevent us from the glory world, yet it is also true that God
chastens us for disobedience. We, also, reap what we sow in this life.
If we sow to the flesh, then we shall of the flesh reap corruption. Do
we want to honor God in this life and reap the blessings of obedience in
this life? or do we want to sow to the flesh and reap corruption and
misery in this life?
by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word,
even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Our motivation
to worship and serve God is not out of fleshly fear of what will happen
to us in eternity if we fail to live up to some standard that man has
set, but our motivation to worship and serve God is because of the love
of God manifest towards us. Based on this motivation of God's love, we
are to manifest our love to God by loving our neighbor and serving one
another. Our attention to the law is not to give us salvation from sin
or to show us what we can do to get right with God. We fulfill the
spirit of the law when we love our neighbor as our self. Love is the
fulfilling of the law.
if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one
of another." Biting and devouring one another is a carnal, fleshly
action. It leads to destruction of families, to churches, and to our joy
and peace in this life. If we, as members of the church, bite and devour
one another, then we should fully expect that the fellowship, joy,
peace, comfort, and rest that we have in the gospel would be consumed by
our biting and devouring of one another.
I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the
flesh." All that have been born of the Spirit of God have a two-fold
nature. We have a spiritual nature that cannot sin and we have a fleshly
nature in which dwells no good thing. We are not to attempt to tame or
change the flesh, but we are to mortify the deeds of the flesh. We are
to bring our bodies into subjection. Only by walking (living our life by
the leadership of the Spirit) in the Spirit, can we mortify the deeds of
the flesh and bring our bodies into subjection to the spiritual inner
man. So long as we walk in the Spirit, we are not fulfilling the lust of
the flesh. Once we start walking in the flesh, we are fulfilling the
lust of the flesh.
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." We are admonished to take up our crosses daily.
We have a cross between the Spirit and the flesh. These two natures are
contrary to one another. We will have this warfare until we pass from
this life unto death of the body and the going forth of the soul and the
spirit unto God.
if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." The law condemns
the actions of the flesh. When we walk by the Spirit, we fulfill the
spirit of the law in love. However, we are assured that if we are led of
the Spirit that we are not under the law, but under the grace of God.
The law can no longer condemn us. Christ has fulfilled the law on our