FOLLOW THE SPIRIT
Galatians 5:16-28 July 5 2009
The apostle concludes this chapter with a caution against pride and envy . He had before been exhorting these Christians by love to serve one another and had put them in mind of what would be the consequence if, instead of that, they did bite and devour one another. Now, as a means of engaging them to the one and preserving them from the other of these, he here cautions them against being desirous of vain-glory, or giving way to an undue affectation of the esteem and applause of men, because this, if it were indulged, would certainly lead them to provoke one another and to envy one another. As far as this temper prevails among Christians, they will be ready to slight and despise those whom they look upon as inferior to them, and to be put out of humour if they are denied that respect which they think is their due from them, and they will also be apt to envy those by whom their reputation is in any danger of being lessened: and thus a foundation is laid for those quarrels and contentions which, as they are inconsistent with that love which Christians ought to maintain towards each other, so they are greatly prejudicial to the honour and interest of religion itself. This therefore the apostle would have us by all means to watch against.
1. That It Is Our Duty And Interest, In This Struggle,
To Side With The Better Part (Gal.5:16-18)
Gal. 5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 5:17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
Present tense —“go on living” (used of habitual conduct). Living by the promptings and power of the Spirit is the key to conquering sinful desires (Gal.5: 25; Romans 8:2-4). In conflict with each other . (Romans 7:15-23; 1Peter 2:11). Led by the Spirit . (Romans 8:14). Not under the Law . Not under the bondage of trying to please God by minute observance of the law for salvation or sanctification ( Romans 6:14).
2. To Walk In The Spirit And Not Fulfill The Lusts Of
The Flesh (Gal. 5:19-24)
Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 5:20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions5:21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 5:23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Gal.5:19-21) For other lists of vices (1Co 6:9-10; Eph 5:5; Rev 22:15). (Gal.5:22-23) For other lists of virtues (2Co 6:6; Eph 4:2; 5:9; Col 3:12-15). Christian character is produced by the Holy Spirit, not by the mere moral discipline of trying to live by law. Paul makes it clear that justification by faith does not result in libertinism. The indwelling Holy Spirit produces Christian virtues in the believer’s life. (Gal.5:22) Fruit of the Spirit . Compare the singular “fruit” with the plural “acts” (Gal. 5:19). No Law . (1Tim 1:9). Crucified the sinful nature . (Gal. 2:20; 6:14).
3. The apostle concludes this chapter with a caution
against pride and envy (Gal. 5:25-26)
Gal. 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Keep in step with . Or “walk in line with,” a different Greek verb from “live by” (or “walk by”) in (Gal.5:16).
If it be our care to act under the guidance and power of the blessed Spirit, though we may not be freed from the stirrings and oppositions of the corrupt nature which remains in us, it shall not have dominion over us. Believers are engaged in a conflict, in which they earnestly desire that grace may obtain full and speedy victory. And those who desire thus to give themselves up to be led by the Holy Spirit, are not under the law as a covenant of works, nor exposed to its awful curse. Their hatred of sin, and desires after holiness, show that they have a part in the salvation of the gospel. The works of the flesh are many and manifest. And these sins will shut men out of heaven. Yet what numbers, calling themselves Christians, live in these, and say they hope for heaven! The fruits of the Spirit, or of the renewed nature, which we are to do, are named. And as the apostle had chiefly named works of the flesh, not only hurtful to men themselves, but tending to make them so to one another, so here he chiefly notices the fruits of the Spirit, which tend to make Christians agreeable one to another, as well as to make them happy. The fruits of the Spirit plainly show, that such are led by the Spirit. By describing the works of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit, we are told what to avoid and oppose, and what we are to cherish and cultivate; and this is the sincere care and endeavour of all real Christians. Sin does not now reign in their mortal bodies, so that they obey it, (Romans 6:12), for they seek to destroy it. Christ never will own those who yield themselves up to be the servants of sin. And it is not enough that we cease to do evil, but we must learn to do well. Our conversation will always be answerable to the principle which guides and governs us, (Romans 8:5). We must set ourselves in earnest to mortify the deeds of the body, and to walk in newness of life. Not being desirous of vain-glory, or unduly wishing for the esteem and applause of men, not provoking or envying one another, but seeking to bring forth more abundantly those good fruits, which are, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.