Galatians 5

 

 

v. 1 – Standing Fast in Christian Liberty

 

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free”

 

Jesus Christ’s emancipating work in His death, burial and resurrection,

(ch. 3:13) effected our perfect reconciliation with God and cuts all roots of

desire to strive, either to  make or keep ourselves, acceptable with God by

obedience to a Law of  positive ordinances.  A desire to Judaize cannot

coexist with true faith in our crucified Redeemer!

 

In CHRIST our FREEDOM is COMPLETE

 

“and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

 

The condition of a slave is described by the word “yoke,” (I Timothy 6:1)

 [Ὅσοι εἰσὶν ὑπὸ ζυγὸν δοῦλοι – Hosoi eisin hupo zugon douloi – as many

as are slaves under yoke.  “As many as are bond-servants under

the yoke.” And it was probably with this particular shade of meaning that

St. Peter used the term at the conference at Jerusalem respecting the ceremonial

Law (Acts 15:10) - “a yoke which neither we nor our fathers had strength

enough to bear” -  referring to it, we may suppose, as slavery, not merely because

obedience to it was difficult, but as being observed from a legalistic anxiety to

approve one’s self thereby to the Divine acceptance or to escape the Divine

displeasure.  The bondage consisted in the number, complexity, and variety

of its rites and ceremonies, associated with days, and weeks, and months, and

years; in the burdensome repetition of sacrifices; in the expensiveness of the old

ritual; in the time and labor consumed in purifications and washings; and

in the place which every trivial or important transaction of life, such as

marriage, burial, plowing, sowing, reaping, held in the religious economy

of a theocratic people. The Gentiles in Galatia had had experience of the

degrading yoke of heathen bondage. Were they to be “entangled again”

with a yoke, even that of Judaism

 

This view of the passage explains how the apostle was able to

use the word “again” of these Galatian converts. They had been once under

the yoke of an “evil conscience;” but Christ had come to them also, who were

“afar off” in Gentile guiltiness, preaching peace, as He had come to them that

were “nigh” in the Israelite covenant (Ephesians 2:17). But if they

could not have “peace” and “access to the Father” save through conformity

with Mosaic ceremonialism, then their “freedom” was forfeited; they sank

back again into their former state of bondage. But see also the note on v. 9.

This exhortation to “stand fast” presupposes that they had not yet lapsed,

but were only in danger of it (compare the μετατίθεσθε  - metatithesthe –

ye are being transferred; removed – quickly carried away)  ch. 1:6).

 

v. 2 - A solemn and emphatic warning.

 

“Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall

profit you nothing.”

 

The apostle assumes a severer and a more authoritative tone — “I Paul” —

and shows that there is something worse than folly in turning aside to the

Law, for it is to take an absolutely destructive course. It is absolutely

impossible to reconcile circumcision with Christ. “If ye be circumcised,

Christ shall profit you nothing.”

 

  • This Does not Condemn Circumcision in Itself.  For it was a Divine

       appointment, not only a national rite to distinguish Jews from Gentiles,

      but “a seal of the righteousness of faith” (Romans 4:11). Nor does it

      condemn circumcision as a past act on the part of a Jew born under the

      ancient economy, nor as a mere prudential act as giving a more ready

      access to the Jews, for the apostle himself circumcised Timothy

      (Acts 16:3) (nor as an act of modern day personal hygienic act –

      CY-2009)

 

  • The Condemnation Comes When Circumcision is Regarded as

      Necessary for Salvation

 

ü      This position involves the rejection of Christ, as if He had not

      wrought out a complete salvation. Those who support it imply

      that they have entered upon another mode of justification.

 

“Christ shall profit you nothing.” - the hour in which their distrust in Christ

eventuated in the overt act of having themselves circumcised (or any other

ritual – CY – 2009) for the purpose of gaining righteousness thereby, would

decisively cut them off from Christ. Their circumcision would be for them the

sacrament of excision from Christ. We may compare with this the awful

passage referring to the consequences accruing to Jewish Christians from their

relapsing to Judaism, in Hebrews 10:26-31. It is difficult to overestimate the

importance of this passage, in determining the relation between trust in Christ’s

atonement and participation in the benefits of that atonement. It is at his extreme

peril that a Christian allows himself in misgivings as to whether Christ’s

mediation is all-sufficient for the securing of his peace with God and his

part in God’s kingdom. It is by reliance upon Christ’s work that his

salvation through Christ is secured; by distrust in it his salvation is brought

into peril; by definite unbelief his salvation is forfeited. This is in perfect

accordance with the apostolic doctrine in general; but rarely is it so

strongly and incisively asserted as it is here.

 

v. 3 - The Obligations Involved in Circumcision. The Judaizing teachers did

not teach the full extent of the obligation involved in circumcision.

 

“For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor

to do the whole Law”

 

  • Paul Reveals the Obligations. They are “debtors to do the whole Law.”

      Circumcision was not a mere badge of Judaism, as baptism is of Christianity,

      but it involved a profession of obedience to the whole Jewish Law. It was

      not competent to select a few precepts for obedience; for the circumcised

      was a debtor to do “the whole Law.” The false teachers did not observe it   

      themselves (Galatians 6:13), yet it was their duty, on their own principles, to            

      observe it unremittingly, completely, and without external help, in every      

department of it.

 

  • The Danger of this Obligation. Circumcision could only profit on one

      supposition. It verily profiteth if thou keep the (whole) Law”

      (Romans 2:25).  But, in case of failure, it had no power to save from the

            curse. Circumcision in that case becomes uncircumcision - that is, it will

            not save you from being treated as a transgressor or treated as if you had

            never been circumcised.

 

 

To every man that is circumcised (παντὶ ἀνθρώπῳ περιτεμνομένῳ - panti anthropo

peritemnomeno - to every man that is having himself circumcised. St. Paul’s statements

elsewhere, and his own proceeding in circumcising Timothy, as well as the

present context, make it certain that, however absolute and universal his

affirmation at first sight seems to be, it is nevertheless meant to be taken as

made with reference to certain understood conditions. Thus: “I protest to

any one of you Gentiles, who, being already baptized into Christ, has

himself circumcised with the view of winning righteousness and favour

with God, by obeying this one prescription of the Law — that,” etc. The

conjunction δὲ is most probably the δὲ of transition (metabatic),

introducing a fresh particular merely; and in this instance, as often, it needs

not to be represented in translation at all. Certainly “for” is not its

meaning. Possibly, as De Wette supposes, it points back, as an adversative,

to the words, “Christ shall profit you nothing,” as if it were “but on the

contrary.” That he is a debtor to do the whole Law (ὅτι ὀφειλέτης ἐστὶν ὅλον

τὸν νόμον ποιῆσαιhoti opheiletaes estin holon ton nomon poiaesai - that he is

under obligation (Greek, is a debtor) to do the whole Law. By having himself

circumcised, he adopts the token of the Lord’s covenant (Genesis 17:11, 13) made

with those who were His people after the flesh; he enrolls himself with them to share

with them their obligations. And to them the Lord had given the Law of

Mount Sinai to be their appointed pedagogue till the Christ should come.

“By being circumcised” (he means) “you of your own accord put yourself

back afresh under this pedagogue, and just his bidding you must do. And

for what? All the ordinances and ceremonies he puts you upon observing

will leave you as far off as ever from remission of sins and justification with

God! And this self-surrender to the pedagogue God has not asked for at

your hands; while what He does require, that you withhold, even faith in

Him whom he hath sent:  (“This is the work of God, that ye believe on

Him whom He hath sent” – (John 6:29) -nay, not merely withhold your belief,

but by open act and deed testify your disbelief in Him.” Under all that the

apostle is here writing there appears to lie the principle, which, however, he has

not distinctly stated, but which we see to be true, that circumcision was the

peculiar badge of Israel after the flesh,” appertaining to them alone and

not to be “meddled with” by any who did not mean to become naturalized as

fellow-citizens with them. (For the use of ὀφειλέτης ἰστίν – opheiletaes istin –

debtors we are, compare Romans 1:14, 8:12) The noun more commonly points to

a debt incurred, or guiltiness; but here it simply denotes obligation.

 

v. 4 – “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are

            justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

 

The Logic of the Judaistic Position - Christ profits only those united to

Him, and a soul departed from Him is undone for ever. This would be the

exact risk of such Galatians as, following Judaistic guidance, sought to be

“justified by the Law.” Consider:

 

  • Their Doctrine Involved Separation from Christ - “Christ is become

      of no effect unto you;” rather, “you are done away from Christ.”

      Representing circumcision as the bond of connection with the

            Law, the apostle declares circumcision to be a de jure separation from

            Christ, in whom all legal engagements were fully met. Justification by          

            grace and justification by Law are mutually exclusive. If we can be saved

            in any other way than by Christ, we do not need him, and the adoption

            of that other way is a renunciation of Him. To be “without Christ” is the

            most miserable as well as the most fatal position in life.

 

  • Their Doctrine Involved a Departure from Salvation by Grace - 

      Ye are fallen from grace.” The clause has no bearing upon the doctrine

      of the perseverance of saints, for the grace here spoken of is not personal

      religion, but the system of salvation by grace. Law and grace are opposites;

      that is, the dispensation of Law and the dispensation of grace. The justified

      person in the one case tries to work out salvation by his own obedience;

      in the other he simply receives it. The apostle declares the mode of

      justification by personal obedience as involving the rejection of the mode

      of justification by Christ.

 

“Whosoever of you are justified by the Law” - (οἵτινες ἐν νόμῳ δικαιοῦσθε –

hoitines en nomo dikaiousthe – whosoever in law are being justified;

such of you as go about to be justified by the Law. “By the Law;” literally, in the

 Law; seek to find in the Law the means of justification (Galatians 3:11). The

present tense is the present of design or endeavorr; the result in this case

being, in fact, UNATTAINABLE (Galatians 3:10,21).

 

v. 5 – “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by

            faith.”

 

The Blessings Involved in the True Doctrine of Grace.  “For we through the

Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”  The apostle means that we

are enabled by faith, in the power of the Spirit, to wait for the hope that is lodged in

the heart of the righteousness that “is of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

 

  • The Righteousness to which Faith and Hope Alike Cling -  They have,

      in fact, no fulcrum, or point of support, apart from this righteousness,

      which is itself independent of all our graces, and therefore in no way

      affected by our varying frames or feelings. The Judaistic heart would cling

      to a righteousness by works, because it seemed to think it could understand a           

      bargain between God and man, but it saw no absolute security in mere grace.

      Yet “it is of faith, that it might be of grace; to the end the promise may be            

      sure TO ALL” (Romans 4:16).

 

  • The Hope that is Wrapped up in this Righteousness -  We “wait for the

      hope of righteousness;” that is, not the hope of being righteous or attaining

      righteousness, but the hope that belongs to the righteousness already described.

      In possession of this righteousness, what may you not hope for? All the

      blessings of the new and better covenant which Christ sealed with His

      precious blood; all things necessary to our present well-being and our

      future blessedness.

 

  • Faith Enables Us to Wait for this Hope -  It is itself “the substance of

      things hoped for.” (Hebrews 11:1) The hope leans upon the faith, Hope is

            the eldest-born daughter of faith (Romans 5:1-3). Apart from faith there

            can be no hope. The necessity of faith is evident. The believer finds that

            when he becomes righteous by faith he becomes a stranger and a pilgrim

            on earth, his path through the wilderness one of tears and toils and

            conflict, and he is disappointed to find that difficulties with the world

            arise from the moment his difficulties with God are ended. IT IS A

            GREAT PERPLEXITY!  He forgets, however, that he has to walk by

            faith, not by sight. Faith is not fruition. It is not heaven. It is, after all,

            “but the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

            (Hebrews 11:1)

 

  • The Holy Spirit Enables Us to Wait for the Hope of Righteousness.

 

ü      He strengthens faith. As it was the Spirit who first imparted faith,

      in the act of regeneration, so it is the Spirit who sustains it in

      exercise through all the stages of Christian destiny.

 

ü      He gives a glorious view of the hopes wrapped up in the

      righteousness.

 

ü      He acts upon our power of waiting as being the Spirit of prayer

                        (Romans 8:26).

 

“For we through the Spirit”  - the personal Spirit of God, referred to as inspiring

and prompting the action of the believer’s mind. The presence of this Spirit has been

already described as the distinguishing blessing of believers in Christ (Galatians

3:2-5,14; 4:6); while presently after (vs. 18, πνεύματι – pneumati – the Spirit:

22-25) the apostle dwells on the work of the same Divine Agent in regulating the

Christian’s habits of feeling and action (the dative as in vs. 16,18; Romans 8:13).

He is here referred to as evincing the Divine sanction which attaches to the

particular action of faith and hope now to be described (comp. Romans 8:15-17;

Ephesians 1:13)

 

It is by virtue of our faith that we look forward to hereafter receiving the

hope of righteousness.  This, of course, includes our being justified by

faith!

 

The inheritance spoken of in ch. 3:18,22, comes not from the Law but

to those who are justified by faith.  Paul is not speaking of justification

as a blessing to be received at the Day of Final Decision, to which he

evidently here refers, but as a blessing received at once by those who

believe in Christ as the fruit even here of their faith!  In Philippians 3:9

Paul aspires to be in that Final Judgment found in possession  of a

righteousness which he had received in this life through the faith which he

had in this life exercised.  Judaism did not think itself already possessed of

righteousness, but with an ever-unappeased conscience was always still

striving after it; whereas it is the privilege and glory of faith that it can

enjoy the assurance of being even now justified and at peace with, “at one”

with, God. Most certainly, what the apostle here calls “hope” is not the

sentiment which we so often thus name when we intend thereby an

imperfectly assured expectation of some probably coming good. In the

apostle’s vocabulary it denotes a confident anticipation unclouded by doubt

(Romans 8:23-25; Hebrews 11:1). In fine, this is what the apostle means:

We Christians, as led by the Spirit of adoption, do rest in the confident

anticipation of receiving the inheritance which is the future award of the

righteous, on the ground of our faith in the Lord Jesus, an entirely assured,

steadfast expectation, persistent to the end.

 

v. 6 – “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor

            uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”

 

The essential principle of Bible Christianity.  After condemning circumcision

Paul qualifies his statement to the extent of making it neither better nor worse

than uncircumcision. But then he reduces them both to the one level of

religious ineptness. Consider:

 

  • Christianity Consists not in Distinctions Like Those Which Separate

      Jew and Gentile - “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth

      anything, nor uncircumcision.” A man is not saved because he is

      circumcised, nor lost because he is not. Circumcision does not introduce

      a man into union with Christ, and the mere absence of it does not lead to

      a deeper fellowship with the Savior.  Divine approval cannot be gained

      or secured by outward rites – ONLY MISCHIEF SHALL RESULT

      FROM TRYING IT.

 

  • The True Power of Christianity Lies in Faith Working by Love!

 

ü      Faith is fundamental in Christian life, at least on man’s side, as

                        regeneration is fundamental on God’s side. This fact is not

                        inconsistent with the fact that Christ Himself is the only Foundation,

                        for He is the Foundation absolutely, whether we believe in him or not;

                        “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful:  He cannot deny                                               

                        Himself” (II Timothy 2:13) but faith is the foundation which we lay

                        when we are enabled through the Divine Spirit to place ourselves

                        on the true Foundation laid in Zion.

 

ü      It is not a mere historical faith, nor a speculative belief in doctrines,

                        which may be allied with a cold and unloving heart; for “it worketh

                        by love.” It is not, therefore, a “dead faith.”

 

ü      It is justifying faith, for it is the instrument of our justification; and it is

                        perfect in itself so far as it apprehends the righteousness of Christ which

                        is that faith is not a work and has no merit, and by its very relation

                        to justification protests against the merit of all human works.

                        When we realize Christ’s love to us, it awakens in our souls a sentiment

                        of grateful affection to our Redeemer, which is so strong and influential

                        as thenceforward to sway and regulate the whole of our lives. “For the

                        love of Christ constraineth us” (II Corinthians 5:14)  If “the Son

                        makes us free, then are we free indeed;” and this is how He makes us                                

                        free - He imparts to us the gift of love to Himself; and that makes                                         

                        obedience to be no longer a constrained service, but a very instinct of                                 

                        our nature.

 

 

ü      It is  an operative faith; for “it worketh by love.” It is a mighty power.

      “It overcomes the world.” (I John 5:4) -  Love is the channel in

                        which faith flows forth to bless the world.

 

Ø      All who are united to Christ by faith become partakers of His Spirit,

      one of whose fruits is love (v.22); and this love is the principle of all

      obedience (Romans 13:10).

 

Ø      Love is faith’s metal, for into the mould of love does faith

      pour love itself.

 

Ø      Love flourishes exactly as faith flourishes. The faith and the

      love will increase or diminish together according to our

      trust in the Lord or our doubting Him.

 

Ø      Though faith worketh by love, the love reacts upon faith

      and adds to its power. Love leads to admiration, for it sees

      Christ’s love, faithfulness, and power; and faith says at 

      “I can trust Him more than ever.” Love forbids unbelief.

      Was there ever true love in man or woman that it

                                    did not forbid distrust? The want of mutual confidence in

                                    the marriage relation is the death of love.

 

Ø      Faith and love are the great allied principles of Christian life.

      A Puritan divine says, “Faith and love are the two arms and the         

      two eyes without which Christ can neither be seen nor embraced.”    

      Another says, “Faith and love are the two conduits lain from the       

      Christian soul to the Fountain of living waters, fetching in from        

      thence a daily supply of such grace as will certainly end in a

      fulness of glory.”

 

 

vs. 7-12 - In these verses the language is remarkably curt and disjointed. Their

style seems to betoken, either the mind of the writer musing in painful

embarrassment, uncertain how best to grapple with the case before him through

imperfect knowledge of the circumstances (“Who did hinder you?” ) In v.13

he at length takes up a line of thought which he is able to follow on with fulness and fluency

 

v. 7 - “Ye did run well” – “To run” is a favorite figure with St. Paul, drawn from

the foot-races of the Isthmian Games or other public games common throughout the Roman

empire, and applied above (Galatians 2:2) to his own course of

apostolic service, but here, as in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 4:17; and

Philippians 3:14, in a wider reference to the course of general

Christian obedience. In vs. 5-6 the apostle has indicated the proper

character of a Christian believer’s life, as one which is animated by a faith

energizing through love, and by the anticipation of attaining hereafter the

awards to be rendered to the justified.

 

“who did hinder you?”The apostle bewails the change that had taken place.

They had been so full of joy and of love in believing (ch. 4:14-15). But now

an incipient relinquishment of their hope in Christ had left them cheerless, and,

in consequence, ready to look abroad in quest of other grounds of assured

confidence; while also the thence ensuing conflicts of controversy and faction

had marred their once happy mutual concord (v.15)

 

“that ye should not obey the truth?” - “The truth” directly cites

the gospel; that is, the gospel which proclaims righteousness as theirs who

believe in Christ apart from works of the ceremonial law; (comp.ch. 3:5)

The verb πείθεσθαι – peithesthai - to persuade, to win over, to listen to and obey,

frequently rendered in the Authorized Version by “obey,” as Romans 2:8 and

Hebrews 13:17, properly means to lend a compliant ear to advice or persuasion;

“to hearken,” as Acts 5:36-37, 40; 23:21; 27:11. The apostle means that they

were turning their ears away from the truth to listen to pernicious counsels

or teaching. The verb is in the present tense with reference to the continued

attention which they ought to be now giving to the gospel.

 

v. 8 – “This persuasion cometh not of Him that calleth you.”  (ἡ πεισμονὴ οὐκ ἐκ

τοῦ καλοῦντος ὑμᾶςhae peismonae ouk ek tou kalountos humas – this persuasion,

or the mind to hearken to this doctrine, is not from Him that calleth you.  It was not

men’s persuasion (πεισμονὴ ἀνθρωπίνη – peismonae anthropinae), but the power

of God, which persuaded the souls of these who believe.” By “Him that calleth you”

is plainly meant God (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 5:24)  That persuasibleness of the

Galatians was not from God; at the best it was from the world (compare Colossians 2:20);

but was it not, rather, from Satan, whose emissaries those false teachers

were? (compare II Corinthians 11:14-15) The apostle makes this assertion

categorically, knowing it to be true. The gospel which he had brought to them

had been sealed by the gifts of the Spirit accompanying its reception; while

the doctrine they were now in danger of listening to was another thing

altogether (Galatians 1:6) a thing with an “ANATHEMA” upon it!

 

v. 9 – “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” (μικρὰ ζύμη ὅλον τὸ φύραμα ζυμοῖ -

mikra zumae holon to phurama zumoi -  a little leaven leaveneth the whole kneading.

This proverb is cited again in precisely the same words in 1 Corinthians 5:6,

with the words prefixed, “know ye not that.” In both passages the leaven is

an element of evil, and so also in Matthew 16:11; but our Lord applied

it also to an element of good, which was to penetrate (apparently) the

whole mass of humanity (Matthew 13:33).  What has the apostle

precisely in his view as the leaven in the present instance? In 1

Corinthians 5:6 it is unchastity, which, if once tolerated in a Church,

especially amid so licentious a population as that of Corinth, would be but

too likely to impregnate balefully the sentiment of the whole community.

(This is what has happened in the United States with a culture of immorality

that has spread to perversion – from general sex to HOMOSEXUALITY –

CY – 2009)  And here likewise, as there, the leaven does not appear to denote,

as some have supposed, the individuals in whom some noxious element was

conspicuous, but that noxious element itself; namely, to judge from the

coloring of the immediate context, the “readiness to hearken” to “another

gospel,” which was promising comfort and sense of acceptance, more or

less, in the practice of at least some of the outward ordinances of Judaism.

This leaven had already begun to work, embodying itself in the observance,

pedantically and ostentatiously, of the days and feasts of the Jewish

calendar (Galatians 4:10). Now, a movement of mind manifesting itself

in some form of external religionism, when once it begins to show itself in

a Christian community, has a great tendency to spread. For always, in

every Church, there are unstable souls, too often not a few, never able to

come to the knowledge of the truth; which have never truly discerned

Christ’s all-sufficiency for their spiritual needs, or have lost any superficial

persuasion of it once enjoyed; and which, consciously unsatisfied with what

they as yet possess, and nevertheless only toying with spiritual things, are

ready to adopt almost any novelty of religious behaviour offering itself for

their acceptance. The particular form in which the external religionism of

seekers after another gospel clothes itself varies according to varying tastes

or circumstances. Among the Galatian Christians such persons were now

beginning to feel attracted by that venerable kind of outward piety

exhibited by devout or professedly devout Jews; but in their own practice

committing the fatal blunder of mistaking the external shows of saintliness

for the reality of saintliness, and but too willing to make the former serve in

lieu of the latter. The danger of the leaven spreading was, in the present

case, increased by the instability of character and the quick impulsiveness

belonging to the Celtic temperament. The true antidote to this “leaven” is

in every age the same; namely, that which the apostle in this Epistle strives

to administer — the gospel of the righteousness and Spirit of Christ

crucified.

 

v. 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.”  How grievous was this offender’s guilt has been strongly

declared by the “anathema” of ch. 1:7-9.

 

Paul is optimistic that the Galatians will recover. The swerve toward ritualism

was in its mere beginning. Therefore he assumes a hopeful tone in dealing with

the Galatians as a Church. “He fears the worst, but hopes the best.”

 

  • The Ground of His Hopeful Confidence.  “In the Lord.” It

            is good to be of a hopeful temperament, and good to have good men to

            think well of our state, as their judgment will be according to truth and

            charity, The ground of the apostle’s confidence was not:

 

ü      that there would be any change in the temper or arts of the seducers;

                        for they always wax worse and worse, deceiving and being

                        deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13)

 

ü      nor in the force of his own argumentative expostulations, nor in a

      mere return of that affection for him which was once so ardent and so         

      self-sacrificing; but

 

ü      “in the Lord” Himself, who had power to recover them out of their

                        error. “Paul may plant, and Apollos water; but it is God who

                        giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7),  It is He, and HE ONLY,

                        who can make the Galatians “like-minded” with the apostle, by blessing                               

                        his reproofs, his arguments, and his tender urgencies of appeal.

 

  • The Unsettling Tendency of False Teachers. The Greek word is very

      expressive — “he who excites tumults among you,” or who “disturbs you.”          

      Perhaps the apostle had in view a particular teacher who was specially

      dangerous. Such teachers:

 

ü      shake old principles from their firm foundations;

ü      shake the hearts of men by unsettling doubts and distracting conflicts;

ü      and shake the stability of Churches, often scattering the flock as sheep

                        without a shepherd.

 

  • THERE IS A JUDGMENT FOR RELIGIOUS SEDUCERS. He

            shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.”

 

ü      It will be a just judgment. It will be according to his works.

      His end will be, as the apostle implies, a sure condemnation.

 

ü      The judgment will not be averted by the high opinion seducers entertain

                        of themselves, nor by their high position in the Church, nor by the high

                        esteem in which they may be held by man.  (Polls)

 

 

v. 11 – “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer

persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased.”

 

Paul is saying that if he not preached CHRIST and CHRIST ONLY for

salvation, but had preached Christ and circumcision for salvation,

he would not have been persecuted.  Christ’s death on the cross

ran counter to the prejudices and expectations of the Jewish people for

the Messiah. 

 

The stumbling-block of the cross is that which makes the cross a stumbling-block.

In 1 Corinthians 1:23 Christ crucified” is designated as “to the Jews a

stumbling-block;” while to Gentiles it simply seemed “foolishness.” “Then”

follows up an argument ex absurdo, as in 1 Corinthians 15:14,18. The

apostle means that the cross would not be to Jews the stumbling-block that

it was if it had been preached in conjunction with the obligatoriness of

circumcision together with the observance of the ceremonial law, upon

those who believed in Christ. If, then, he had preached Christ crucified

thus, he could not have been so offensive to the Jews. But it was all

otherwise. It has been supposed that the notion of a crucified Messiah was

offensive to Jewish feeling, merely because it ran counter to their

conception of the Christ as a secular king and conqueror. St. Paul’s words

show that this was not the case. That preconception of the Jews no doubt

made it difficult to them to believe in the Jesus whose worldly career had

been closed by an early violent death; even as before our Lord’s passion it

had made it difficult to the apostles to believe that He was thus to die. But

after the question whether the Christ was predestined to be a suffering

Christ (Acts 26:23) had been discussed, and it had been shown from

the Old Testament that the Messiah was to suffer before He should reign it

had yet to be determined in what relation the particular form of Jesus’

death stood with respect to the Mosaic Law.  Gentiles would naturally think

of the cross chiefly, indeed solely, as a sign of extremest ignominy; they

thought scorn of the Christians who looked for life from “this Master of

theirs, who was crucified” (Lucian). But to Jews, with the habits of feeling

to which they had been trained in the school of Moses’ Law, the cross was

more than a sign of extremest ignominy — to them it was a sign also of

extremest pollutedness. Now, to the Apostle Paul it had been given to see,

with more distinctness than the general body of believers at Jerusalem

appear to have seen it, the inference to which the finger of Divine

providence pointed in the particular form of death which, in the counsels of

God, had been selected for the Christ to suffer (John 18:32)  The cross

annihilated the obligatoriness upon God’s people of the Law of Moses.

And, by teaching this, this apostle revived against himself the animosity

which had flamed forth so fiercely upon St. Stephen, who was charged

with saying that “Jesus the Nazarene was to change the customs which

Moses had delivered unto them.”  (Acts 6:13-15)

 

The cross was a stumbling-block to the Jews, because their

Savior was presented to them in circumstances of humiliation, as a

crucified Man. But it was doubly so when it appeared as the very means of

atonement, so that a Jew, by simply believing in Christ, might, without

legal observances, be saved. The cross is still an offence to more than Jews

or Greeks, for it humbles the pride of man, it dethrones all priesthoods, and

makes the sinner directly dependent for salvation upon the Lord Himself. It

humbles man’s pride; yet, “whosoever believeth in him shall not be

ashamed.” (Romans 10:11) The gospel is throughout the religion of a

crucified Savior and of a ruined sinner; not a mere system of morals, nor a

mere revelation of truth, but a scheme of REMEDIAL MERCY. We cannot alter

it or shape it in accordance with the false philosophizings of the world. “Blessed

is the man whosoever shall not be offended in me.”  (Luke 7:23)

 

v. 12 – “I would they were even cut off which trouble you.”

 

The apostle had been so profoundly stirred by the false accusations of the

Judaizers and their fanatical zeal for circumcision, which was, after all, a

mere “glorying in the flesh,” that he throws out a wish that those who were

trying to unhinge Galatian Christianity would themselves exemplify this

“glorying” to the extent that was so familiar among the worshippers of

Cybele at Pessinus, one of the towns of Galatia. That the worship of Cybele

at Pessinus, one of the principal cities of Galatia, was deformed by the practice

of such self-mutilation on the part of some of its devotees, was a matter of

universal notoriety, and we may confidently assume that the apostle, when in

the neighbourhood, heard frequent mention of those apocopi as they were called,

and thus was led now to allude to it as he seems to do in this malediction. For it is

a malediction, but in severity falls far short of the anathema which has been

previously pronounced. (ch.1:8-9)  (Cybele’s most estatic followers were males

who ritually castrated themselves, after which they were given women’s

clothing and assumed female identities, who were were referred to by one 3rd

Century commentator, Callimachus, in the feminine as Gallai, but to whom other

contemporary commentators in ancient Greece and Rome referred to as Gallos, or

Galli –[excerpt from Wikipedia])  His readers would have no difficulty in

understanding the allusion. If circumcision was good, the priests of Cybele had something

better to offer. It was a piece of contemptuous sarcasm, which exhibits

the passionate feeling of the apostle caused by their unceasing efforts to

undermine the gospel for the sake of a mere mark in the flesh. 

 

The selection of this particular verb, ἀναστατοῦντες ὑμᾶς – anastatountes humas[translated

“trouble you” in v. 12 [from (ἀναστατόω anastatoo - from a derivative of (ἀνἰστημι

 anistaemi - in the sense of removal; properly to drive out of home, i.e. (by implication)

to disturb (literal or figurative): —trouble, turn upside down, make an uproar.) goes far

beyond the ταράσσων –tarasson -before used and translated “troubleth you”

in v. 10, and which the word “unsettle” adopted here by the Revisers, does not,

as commonly used, completely represent, the apostle’s intense feeling of the

ruinous consequences of the proposed Judaizing reaction. It shows that he adds

the words etiologically (to show the cause) that is, to justify his strong words,

Ὄφελον καὶ ἀποκόψονται – Ophelon kai apokopsontai - I wish they were cut off

or cut away from you.  The energy of both expressions suggests the feeling that

probably the apostle would not have written as he has here done except for

his burning resentment on behalf of Christ’s people threatened with so

great a hurt. In (1 Corinthians  6:4-5) indignant feeling carries him away beyond

himself to an utterance which in the next verse he virtually retracts,

remarking, “I say it to move you to shame.” Perhaps we have here

something of the same kind.

 

 

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."  For, brethren, ye have been

called unto liberty (ὑμεῖς γὰρ ἐπ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἐκλήθητε ἀδελφοί - humeis gar ep eleutheria

eklaethaete adelphoi - for ye, brethren, were called unto (Greek, for) freedom. The "for"

points back to the closing words of the preceding verse, which implied a settled state

of well-being from which those troublers were driving his readers; that happy state

(the apostle says) was the very glory and essence of their "calling." This, of course,

was that condition of free men described at the end of the foregoing chapter, and

summarized in the first verse of this chapter. This is again, even more briefly,

recapitulated in the first clause of the present verse. As the summary in the

first verse supplied a starting-point for the warnings against the Judaizers

which have taken up the foregoing twelve verses, so this new summary

furnishes the starting-point for exhortations designed to guard the evangelical

doctrine against antinomian perversion, by insisting upon the moral behavior

required of those who enjoy the freedom which Christ gives. These exhortations

occupy the remainder of this chapter and a part of the next. "Ye," being what ye

are, believers baptized into Christ. The verb "were called" expresses a complete

idea, meaning of itself without any adjunct, "called by God to be people of His own"

(compare "calleth," v. 8, and the passages there cited). The words, "unto," or "for,

freedom," supply an adjunct notion; as in Ephesians 4:4, the clause, "in one hope

of your calling," does to the same verb. So again I Thessalonians 4:7," For God

called us, not unto [or, 'for' ] uncleanness, but in sanctification."  The preposition

ἐπί, both in the passage last cited and in the present verse, denotes the condition

or understanding upon which God had called them: they were "called" upon the

understanding that they should be in a state of liberty. So Ephesians 2:10,

"Created in Christ Jesus unto ['Greek,' for] good works." God calls us in

Christ to be free in these three respects:

(1) free from condemnation and conscience of guiltiness;
(2) free from pupil-age to a ceremonial institute of positive, carnal ordinances,

      and from bondage to a letter-Law;
(3) free, as consciously His children, knit to Him by His adopting Spirit, which

      makes us partakers of His nature.

 

Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh (μόνον μὴ τὴν ἐλευθερίαν εἰς

ἀφορμὴν τῆς σαρκός  - monon mae taen eleutherian eis aphormaen taes sarkos -

only, no freedom which shall be an occasion to the flesh! or, only, make not your

freedom into an occasion for the flesh. The noun ἐλευθερίαν (freedom), being in the

accusative, cannot be taken as simply a resumption of the ἐλευθερίᾳ immediately

before. In his eagerness to at once bar the antinomian's abuse of the gospel, the

apostle omits the verb which should account for this accusative; and the result is

a sentence which may be taken as grouping with various passages in classical

Greek authors, being in fact quite a natural way of speaking in any language;

such as in:

 

  • Demosthenes, ' Philippians,' 1. p. 45, "No ten thousand mercenaries for me!

(μή μοι μυριόυς... ξένους);"

  • Sophocles, ' Ant.,' 573, "No more loiterings! but...

(μὴ τριβὰς ἔτ ἀλλά...);

  • "Aristophanes, ' Ach.,' 326, "No false pretences for me, but... (μή μοι

πρόφασιν ἀλλά...)."

 

In such cases it simply weakens the vivacity of the style, if we supply any verb.

The alternative rendering supplies δῶτε, which is in fact found in two uncial

manuscripts, F, G, or ἀποχρήσησθε, proposed by OEcumenius. In the former way

of construing we have in thought to supply a second τὴν after ἐλευθερίαν, as in

I Corinthians 10:18, Βλέπετε τὸν Ἰσραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα - blepete ton Israel kata

sarka -behold Israel after the flesh, II Corinthians 7:7; Colossians 1:8; Ephesians

2:15. The preposition εἰς is used as Romans 11:9; I Corinthians 14:22, etc. The

sense of the noun ἀφορμή (occasion; incentive), starting-point, is well illustrated

by its use, in the military language of Greece, for a "basis of operations" (compare

Romans 7:8, 11; II Corinthians 5:12; I Timothy 5:14). Reflection at once shows us

that a "freedom" which allows a man to obey the behests of his lower nature is

only by a false use of the term capable of being grouped with that freedom

wherewith Christ makes us free. It adopts out of the latter the single element

of emancipation from ceremonial law and letter-Law, and lets go altogether

the concomitant notions of spiritual emancipation which are of its very essence.

Such an emancipation hands its victim clean over to THE THRALDOM OF

SIN (John 8:34; II Peter 2:18-19). St. Peter, in his First Epistle, addressed to a

large group of Churches founded by St. Paul, including those of Galatia, has a

number of passages which apparently take up sentiments and even expressions

found in St. Paul's writings (see 1 Peter 5:12), as it were, ratifying them; and

possibly he has an eye to the present verse when he writes (1 Peter 2:16),

"as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as

bond-servants of God." "The flesh" is not to have its own way, but is to

OWN THE MASTERY OF THE SPIRIT! But by love serve one another

(ἀλλὰ διὰ τῆς ἀγάπης δουλεύετε ἀλλήλοις - alla dia taes agapaes douleuete

allaelois - but through love be in bondage to one another; i.e. let love make

you bondservants to one another). The verb δουλεύω - douleuo also means

"do acts of bond-service,' as Ephesians 6:7 and I Timothy 6:2. This sense is

included in the "being in bondage ' here spoken of. In the present posture of

affairs in these Churches, the apostle sees occasion for selecting just here

one particular branch of Christian goodness to enforce upon their observance.

Presently after (vs. 16-20 he enlarges the field of view; though even there still

giving much prominence to the vices of malignity and to the benignant virtues.

Just now he has his eye especially on the evils of contentiousness (v. 15),

and upon love as their corrective. We may suppose such evils were now especially

rife amongst the Galatians, whose natural character, commonly described as

quarrelsome, was apparently evincing itself in connection with the disputes which

the teaching and yet more the outward action of the Judaizers were giving rise to.

In fact, a loving temper of mind, along with other benefits, is recommended also by

this, that it guards Churches from corrupting innovations in doctrine and Church

practice; checking our self-will and our obtrusive vanity, it leads us to avoid giving

uneasiness to others by thrusting upon them new notions or new modes of conduct,

and makes it our ambition to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The pattern set by our Lord (John 13:15), both in washing his disciples' feet and

indeed in His whole incarnate life (Philippians 2:7), was grandly imitated by the

apostle himself (I Corinthians 9:19-22), who in outward things habitually sacrificed

the pride of independence and self-assertion, and the pride of apparent self-

consistency, in his devotion to THE SPIRITUAL WELFARE OF MEN, He here

preaches just what he himself practiced.

 

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty

for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

 

The Meaning of Christian liberty. The false teachers deserve this severity of

treatment, for they would deprive you of your liberty:

 

  • The Christian Calling is to Liberty.  Paul had already counselled them to

      “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free” (v.1)

      a liberty which lifted them out of legal bondage, and, above all, destroyed

      the yoke of ancient ceremonialism as a means of Salvation!

 

  • The Unchangeable Distinction Between Liberty and Licentiousness. 

      “Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh.” This counsel was

      specially needed for a Celtic people emerging out of the old immoral

      paganism, It shows:

 

ü      That duty is not destroyed by liberty. Their escape from legal

      bondage did not involve the annihilation of all moral restraints

      or the abrogation of the moral Law. In fact, the gospel brings

      believers under a weightier obligation to duty than the Law

      possibly can do, for it brings upon the believer the mighty

      constraint of Divine love (2 Corinthians 5:14). They were no

      longer justified by the Law, but the Law was still a rule

                        of life.  It is still very necessary to emphasize the obligations

                        of Christian people under the gospel, for gross immoralities

                        have been committed by men with an extravagant view of

                        gospel liberty. Christ came to call sinners to repentance, not to

                        licentiousness; to take his yoke upon them, and yield their

                        members instruments of righteousness unto holiness.

 

ü      Christian people ought to use their liberty wisely.     Perhaps a too

                        free use of our Christian liberty has often become an occasion of

                        sin.  Therefore in matters of duty we ought to do too much rather

                        than too little, but in matters of indifference we should

                        rather take too little of our liberty than too much.

 

  • The Only Bondage for Christians is Mutual Love. “But by love serve

      one another.” “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another:  for

      he that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law” – (Romans 13:8)  There is

      an antithetic force in the original, which is not so obvious in the translation:

      If you must have bondage, let it be the bondage of mutual love. Love is to be

      the means by which the mutual bondage is to be manifested.

 

ü      This bondage is not degrading. Though they were servants of each

                        other, they were not masters of each other. “All ye are brethren.”

                        Christ Himself is our example in this service: “I am among you as

                        He that serveth.”  (Luke 22:27)  This one fact lifts this duty to an                                     

                        incomparable height of dignity and impressiveness.

 

ü      It is this which will keep your liberty from degenerating into

                        licentiousness. Their love for one another, grounded in their love

                        for God, would set them upon all opportune ways of benefiting

                        each other. The counsel of the apostle seems to suggest the existence

                        in Galatia of factious quarrels and unchristian isolations.

 

“only use not liberty as an occasion to the flesh” – (we live in a society that

is obsessed with “individual freedoms” and especially “freedom of expression

and not attached to any shape or form of morality – the following statement

would greatly benefit those of this persuasion – CY – 2009)  Reflection at once

shows us that a freedom which allows a man to obey the behests of his lower

nature is only by a false use of the term capable of being grouped with that

freedom wherewith Christ makes us free.  These “free-thinkers” opt out

of the Kingdom of God???? and find in such emancipation that they

are victims turned over to the THRALDOM of SIN!

 

St. Peter, in his First Epistle, addressed to a large group of Churches

founded by St. Paul, including those of Galatia, has a number of passages

which apparently take up sentiments and even expressions found in St.

Paul’s writings (1 Peter 5:12), as it were, ratifying them; and possibly he has

an eye to the present verse when he writes (1 Peter 2:16), “as free, and not

using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bond-servants of God.”

“The flesh” is not to have its own way, but is to own the mastery of the Spirit.

 

14 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy

neighbor as thyself."  ( γὰρ πᾶς νόμος ἐν ἑνὶ λόγῳ πεπλήρωται [Receptus,

πληροῦται - plaeroutai], ἐν, τῷ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν [Receptus,

ἑαυτόν - heauton] Ho gar nomos en eni logo peplaerotai en, to Agapaeseis ton

plaesion sou hos seauton - for the whole Law hath in one word been fulfilled,

even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Thus is very briefly enunciated

what in the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 13:8-10), written a short while after,

the apostle more fully develops thus: "Owe no man anything, save to love one

another: for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled (πεπλήρωκε - peplaeroke -

has fulfilled) the Law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill,

Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment,

it is summed up (ἀνακεφαλαιοῦται - anakephalaioutai - it is being summed up) in

this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to

his neighbor: love therefore is the fulfillment (πλήρωμα - plaeroma - fulfilling;

compliment) of the Law." This passage of the Romans may be regarded as a

lengthened paraphrase of the one now before us. From the comparison of the two,

several things are made clear. We see from it what is meant by the πεπλήρωται,

"hath been fulfilled." Some have been disposed to regard it as equivalent to

ἀνακεφαλαιοῦται, "it is summed up." Not to urge that it is very doubtful whether

the verb admits of this sense, it is enough to observe that in the parallel passage

the verb πληροῦν, both in πεπλήρωκε (hath fulfilled), and the verbal πλήρωμα

(fulfillment), means to fulfill in actual obedience; and that the perfect tense of

the πεπλήρωται of this passage reappears in the πεπλήρωκε of the other. The

sentence in Romans, "He that loveth his neighbour (τὸν ἕτερον - ton heteron -

one another) hath fulfilled the Law," that is, as the context shows, "the whole Law,"

makes it clear that, by the words before us, "the whole Law hath been fulfilled in one

word," is meant that the whole Law hath been fulfilled in the fulfilling of the one

word, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." The whole Law is regarded as

couched in that "one word." In the larger passage the Law, so far as it is explained,

is represented as regulating our behavior to our neighbors, for the apostle cites

exclusively commandments of the "second table;" in addition to which, we

observe that the immediately preceding context (vs. 1-7) is taken up with the

discussion of duties to our fellow-men, sliding into what follows through the

words, "Owe no man anything, save to love one another." This suggests the

inference that when the apostle says, "He that loveth hath fulfilled the Law;"

and at the close of the paragraph, "Love is the fulfillment of the Law," he has

in view that part only of the Law which enforces the duties appertaining to

human relationships, and not the whole Law as enforcing, together with these,

the duties we owe to God; for "love," he says, "is the fulfillment of the Law,

because it worketh no evil to his neighbor." And this might seem further to

justify the like inference with reference to the passage before us; and here

also the immediate context (v. 13) points only to relations between man and

man, making no reference to our relations towards God. And this inference we

seem warranted in accepting. Only, we have to bear in mind that the apostle has

already taken account of our spiritual relations to God, in stating (v. 6) that in

Christ Jesus the all-important and only thing is faith working through love.

For the faith which he means is plainly the principle which unites the soul to

Christ Jesus, and in Him to God as our reconciled Father, through the

vitalizing and actuating power of the Spirit of adoption. And precisely the same

consideration presents itself with respect to the parallel passage in the Romans;

for there, too, the apostle has been previously engaged in building up the gospel

doctrine of Christ's redeeming us from the control of a condemning Law,

which is also mere "letter," and can give no spiritual life; and of His handing

us over to the law of the Spirit of life, whereby the requirement of the Law is

fulfilled in them who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4).

The apostle takes it for granted that it is with these views in their minds that his

readers will receive what he here writes. Further, account is to be taken of the

spiritual sense in which the apostle uses the terms "law" and "love." Under the

term "law" he no longer intends the Law of Moses, either as a ceremonial institute

or as a letter-Law regulating moral behavior; but that higher and spiritual law, of

which the precepts of the letter-Law are only incomplete hints or adumbrations -

the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2). Likewise, by the

term "love" he designates a very different thing from that principle of kindness,

good nature, benevolence, which an Aristotle or Cicero, an Epictetus or Plutarch,

could conceive and describe, and in their own practice exemplify; with St. Paul,

as with St. John, it is a fruit of the Spirit, an emanation of Christ's life in the soul,

organically and vitally ramifying out of filial love to God. They that were in the flesh

could not please God. In order that we may fulfill the Law, the prime and indispensable

requisite is that THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST BE DWELLING IN US AND LEADING
US!

 

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love

thy neighbor as thyself.”

 

The Spirit of the Law.  “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”

 

  • The Law Finds Its Fulfillment in Love. It follows, therefore, that the

      Law must still be in force, because its essential commandment, love,

      remains for perpetual fulfilment. Love was always, even in Old Testament

      times, the fulfilment of the Law. The sum of the Decalogue is love of God

      and fellowman (Matthew 22:37-40). The apostle says, “He that loveth

      another hath fulfilled the Law” (Romans 13:8-9); Believers are exhorted,

      in the passage quoted, to love one another on the ground of its being a        requirement

      of the Law.

 

  • How Loving Our Neighbor Fulfills the Law.  It is the want of love

      that leads men to commit murder, adultery, theft, false witness. If we rightly

      loved our neighbour, these sins would be impossible. But we cannot rightly

      love our neighbour till we have loved God. “He that loveth not his brother         

      whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (I

      John 4:20) “This is the love of God, that (i]na) we may keep His

            commandments.” There is a necessary connection between love to God

            and love to our neighbor (1 Corinthians 8:1-3).

 

In v. 22 love is a fruit of the Spirit, an emanation of Christ’s life in the soul,

organically and vitally ramifying out of  filial love to God!

 

15 “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one

of another.”  (εἰ δὲ ἀλλήλους δάκνετε καὶ κατεσθίετε βλέπετε μὴ ὑπὸ ἀλλήλων

ἀναλωθῆτε – ei de allaelous daknete kai katesthiete blepete mae hupo allaelon –

but if ye be biting and eating up one another, take heed that ye be not one of another

utterly destroyed. "Biting" and "eating up" are images drawn from carnivorous

animals furiously fighting with each other. The verb κατεσθίεν – katesthien - eat up),

which in II Corinthians 11:20 and Matthew 23:14 is applied to the eating up of a

neighbor's goods, is here employed in its more literal sense, in order to furnish a figure

describing that intense desire to vex and damage an antagonist, which but too often

disgraces the so-called religious controversialist or partisan. The verb ἀναλίσκω

analisko - utterly destroy, occurs besides only in Luke 9:54 and II Thessalonians 2:8,

of destruction by fire or lightning; so the compound κατανάλισκον katanaliskon –

consuming - Hebrews 12:29. It points to another sphere of hurt than that referred to

in the two foregoing verbs; for while these latter describe the eager endeavor to

sting and "run down" a theological opponent, the former describes the utter laying

waste of the inward life of piety. The orthodox opinion may survive, and perhaps be

even made clearer and more accurate; but the kernel of filial love and joy in God,

and of love towards our brethren, may by the φιλονεικία – philoneikia – love of

strife; contention, the bitter antagonism, of controversy have got to be altogether

eaten out. A Christian disciple who has ceased to love, Christ teaches us, is salt

which has lost its savour - utterly refuse and hopeless of recovery (Mark 9:50).

 

“But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not

consumed one of another.”

 

The Evil Effects of Heresy.

 

  • Heresy Genders Bitter Disputes. The presence of the

            Judaists would naturally cause constant strife, whether they succeeded

            or whether they failed, for the Galatians would take sides, and be thus

            launched into endless debate. The strifes, of which Church history is so full,

            are not due to the truth, but to the efforts of errorists to debase it or to

            destroy it. Believers are bound to “contend earnestly for the faith once

            delivered to the saints.”  (Jude 1:3)

 

  • The Injurious Effect of Dissensions upon the Church.

 

ü      They Put an End to Christian Peace.

 

ü      They Injure the Credit, Character, & Usefulness of Christian

      People.  If Christians appear to bite and devour one another, the

      world will receive an impression of extreme cruelty in the character

      of the followers of the gentle Jesus.

 

ü      They Tend to Scatter and Destroy the Church. “Ye will be

      consumed one of another.” The contest will not end in a victory to

                        either party, but will end in the common extinction of both. The

                        idea is taken from wild beasts which tear their victims to pieces till                         

                        nothing is left. The Gentiles, seeing Christians quarrelling, would be                                   

                        repelled from Christianity, converts would go back to their old

                        heathenism or their old Judaism, and the Christian community might

                        be entirely broken up.

 

“Biting” and “eating up” are images drawn from carnivorous animals furiously

fighting with each other. The verb katesqi>en, (eat up), which in 2 Corinthians

11:20 and Matthew 23:14 is applied to the eating up of a neighbor’s goods, is here

employed in its more literal sense, in order to furnish a figure describing that

intense desire to vex and damage an antagonist, which but too often disgraces

the so-called religious controversialist or partisan. The verb ajnali>skw, (utterly

destroy) occurs besides only in Luke 9:54 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8, of destruction

by fire or lightning; so the compound katana>liskon, “Our God is a consuming

fire” (Hebrews 12:29).  It points to another sphere of hurt than that referred to in the

two foregoing verbs; for while these latter describe the eager endeavour to sting and

“run down” a theological opponent, the former describes the utter laying waste of

the inward life of piety. The kernel of filial love and joy in God, and of love towards

our brethren, may by the filoneiki>a, (quarrelsome, dispute, strife -the bitter antagonism,

of controversy) have got  to be altogether eaten out. A Christian

disciple who has ceased to love, Christ teaches us, is salt which has lost its savor

— utterly refuse and hopeless of recovery (Mark 9:50)

 

In vs.16-20 Paul enlarges the field of view; though even there still giving much

prominence to the vices of malignity and to the benignant virtues. Just now he

has his eye especially on the evils of contentiousness (v.15), and upon love as

their corrective. We may suppose such evils were now especially rife

amongst the Galatians, whose natural character, commonly described as

quarrelsome, was apparently evincing itself in connection with the disputes

which the teaching and yet more the outward action of the Judaizers were

giving rise to. In fact, a loving temper of mind, along with other benefits, is

recommended also by this, that it guards Churches from corrupting

innovations in doctrine and Church practice; checking our self-will and

our obtrusive vanity, it leads us to avoid giving uneasiness to others by

thrusting upon them new notions or new modes of conduct, and makes it

our ambition to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  (Ephesians

4:3)  The pattern set by our Lord (John 13:15), both in washing His disciples’

feet and indeed in His whole incarnate life (Philippians 2:7), was grandly

imitated by the apostle himself (1 Corinthians 9:19-22), who in

outward things habitually sacrificed the pride of independence and self-assertion,

and the pride of apparent self-consistency, in his devotion to the

spiritual welfare of men. Paul here preaches just what he himself practiced.

 

16 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

This I say then (λέγω δέ). Like τοῦτο δὲ λέγω in ch. 3:17, and λέγω δὲ in ch. 4:1, the

phrase, λέγω δέ, here introduces a further illustration of a point already referred to.

It points back to the line of remark commenced in v. 13 in the words, "No freedom

to be an occasion to the flesh! but through love be in bondage one to another."

(Proverbs 9:17 – “Stolen waters are sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the

depths of hell.”  "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten secretly is tasty!"

Contemporary English Version "Stolen water tastes best, and the food you eat

in secret tastes best of all."  - This explains the mind’s role on the pleasures of sex.

It is a defiant and rebellious attitude.  If a person would get as excited about his

or her spouse as they do over someone in a honky tonk or other place of ill-repute,

sex would need no exhilarator.  CY – 2018)   The voluntary bondage of love is one

most important part of the spiritual life; as indulgence in malignant passions is

also a leading branch of the working of the flesh. The mention, therefore, of these

two points in vs. 14-15 naturally leads up to the more general exhortation of the

present passage. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil (or, fulfil not) the lust

of the flesh (Πνεύματι περιπατεῖτε καὶ ἐπιθυμίαν σαρκὸς οὐ μὴ τελέσητε

Pneumati peripateite kai epithumian sasrkos ou mae telesaete - walk by the Spirit,

and ye shall not fulfill the lust (or, desire) of the flesh. The precise meaning of the

several words and statements in this verse, as also in the two which follow it, have

been much disputed. It must suffice here briefly to explain and justify what appears

to the present writer the true view. The word "spirit," it seems most natural to

understand in all three in the same sense. To take it in the first two verses as

meaning that part of our composite being which has the nearest affinity to the

higher moral and spiritual life (whether as in a state of nature or as informed

by the Spirit of God), whilst in v. 18 its import is determined by comparison

with other passages to be the Divine Spirit, appears to be an arbitrary variation

of its sense, which there is no necessity for adopting. The "Spirit" is mentioned

alongside with "the flesh," not because it belongs to the like category of being

a part of our nature, but because he has been graciously sent forth by God to

contravene in us that evil principle which else we should be unable to overcome.

This evil principle is termed "the flesh;" not as being merely sensual corruption,

though vices of that class are mentioned in vs. 19-21 as leading instances of its

working; for we see in vs. 20 and 21 vicious works of the flesh specified, which

are to be referred to malignity (compare I Corinthians 3:3), or to a perversion of

the religious element, rather than to sensuality. It appears, therefore, to denote the

principle of corruption which taints our moral nature in general - that which

in the ninth of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England is deflated under

the heading of "Original or Birth-Sin.' The word "flesh" may be supposed to have

been selected to denote this, because the depravation of our sensuous beings into

sensuality constituted the most prominent and noticeable form in which the general

degradation of our state from its proper nobler life in God manifests itself. The

dative case of Πνεύματι (in the Spirit), marks - either the sphere, element, path, in

which we are to walk, which is intended by the rendering in our Authorized Version,

"in the Spirit," as the dative is used with πορεύεσθαι – poreuesthai – to be walking

(Authorized Version, "walk" ) in Acts 9:31; 14:16, and with περιπατεῖνperipatein –

walk; to be walking in ibid. ch. 21:21; II Corinthians 12:18; or the rule according to

which, together with the enabling power by which, our daily behavior is to be

regulated, so as to be synonymous with the phrase, "walking after (κατὰ - kata –

in accord with) the Spirit," in Romans 8:4. The meaning at all events seems to be,

Let the prompting of the Spirit be your guide, and the grace of the Spirit

your strength, in the course of your life CONTINUALLY!  This is afterwards

expressed as being "led by the Spirit" (v. 18), and as an "orderly walking by

 the Spirit' (v. 25). The exhortation implies two things:

 

  • first, that the Christians addressed, had had the gift of the Holy Spirit

imparted to them (compare ch. 3:2; 4:6, where “our hearts" includes the

persons addressed; I Corinthians 12:13); and,

 

  • next, that this gift would not avail for the actual sanctification of their life

without diligent endeavors after self-improvement on their own part.

 

Compare Philippians 2:12-13, "Work out your own salvation [i.e. by your own

endeavors work out your salvation] with fear and trembling; for it is God which

worketh in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure." The generality

of the form in which the exhortation is couched intimates that they were to endeavor

to live in compliance with the Spirit's promptings in all the branches of spiritual

activity proper to their Christian calling; not only in that of "love" already

adverted (advertised) to, but in those others also which the apostle presently

after counts up in vs. 22-23. It inculcates, therefore, the cultivation of a joyous

spirit of filial love towards God, as well as a high strain of virtuous conduct

towards their fellow-men and in relation to their own selves. In the next clause,

the words, οὐ μὴ τελέσητεou mae telesaete - ye shall not fulfill  are by many

(see margin of our Authorized Version)taken in an imperative sense; as if it were,

WALK BY THE SPIRIT, and by no means fulfill the desire of the flesh. It is,

however, with much force objected to this view that, although the future with

οὐ (not) is often used for an imperative, as οὐ κλοψεις οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις – ou klopseis

ouk epiorkaeseis – do not steal; do not forswear, oathing, perjuring etc.),

there is no instance adduced of οὐ μὴ (not no) being used in the New Testament in

this sense. We are led, therefore, to adopt the other view, that the passage belongs

to that form of sentence in which an imperative clause is followed by a clause

denoting the result which will ensue in case the direction before given has been

complied with; as e.g. "Come unto me... and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) 

In place of the simple οὐ τελέσετε (not fulfilling), we have the more emphatic form,

οὐ μὴ τελέσητε - of a surety ye will not be fulfilling, etc. By writing thus the apostle

strongly accentuates the statement that walking by the Spirit is absolutely

 incompatible with an indulgence in the inclinations prompted by the flesh.

There is probably a twofold doctrinal inference couched under this emphatic

statement; namely:

 

  • Ye will of a surety not fall under the Law's condemnation (compare

Romans 8:1-4); and,

 

But it is pregnant also with a hint of rebuke and of practical direction, not unneeded

by the Galatians (v. 15). The article is wanting before ἐπιθυμίαν (lust), probably

because it is wanting before σαρκός (flesh), as in:

 

  • καταβολῆς κόσμου – katabolaes kosmou – foundation world, Luke 11:50;
  • ἀρχῆς κτίσεως – archaes ktiseos -  beginning creation, Mark 10:6;
  • ἔργων νόμου – ergon nomou – works law, Romans 3:20, etc.;

 

so that ἐπιθυμίαν σαρκὸς (lust flesh) is put for τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν τῆς σαρκός (the

lusts of the flesh). The verb τελέσητε (ye should be fulfilling) is selected in

preference to ποιήσητε (compare Ephesians 2:2, περιεπατήσατε – periepataesate –

ye walked to express the idea that it is impossible for one walking by the Spirit

to carry into full effect any desire of the flesh. For this is the proper force of the

verb τελέσητε (should be finishing), of which the ever-memorable Τετέλεσται –

Tetelestai - "It is finished" (John 19:30), is a typical illustration. This meaning

obtains even in Romans 2:28 and James 2:8. The apostle seems to concede that

the desire of the flesh may be felt by one who is walking by the Spirit; nay,

even in at least an inchoate (not fully formed or developed) degree, given way to;

but this much he affirms, that it will be impossible for such a one to carry it out

into full accomplishment. This qualified representation of the Christian's holiness

is intimated in the next verse more explicitly.

 

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."  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against

the flesh ( γὰρ σὰρξ ἐπιθυμεῖ κατὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος τὸ δὲ Πνεῦμα κατὰ τῆς

σαρκός -  hae gar sarx epithumei kata tou Pneumatos to de Pneuma kata taes

sarkos - for the flesh doth lust (or, hath desires) against the Spirit; but the Spirit

likewise against the flesh.)  The first clause, "for the flesh hath desires against

the Spirit," justifies the mention of "the desire of the flesh" in v. 16, as being an

experience which Christians in general have still to deal with; as if it were,

"For the flesh really is present still, originating within you desires contrary to

those prompted by the Spirit." Then the apostle adds, "but the Spirit likewise

[or, ' hath desires ] against the flesh;" intimating that, although the flesh was

still at work within, prompting desires tending away from holiness, that

nevertheless was no reason for their giving way to such evil inclinations;

for the Spirit was with them as well, originating desires after what was holy

and good; and He would help them against those other inclinations towards evil,

if only they would surrender themselves to His guidance. That this is the proper
way of construing these two passages seems betokened by the δέ. If the apostle

had just here meant to say, "There are two mutually opposing principles at work

within you" for the purpose of justifying by explicit statement the tone of v. 16

which implies this fact, he would have written, ἥ τε γὰρ σὰρξ ἐπιθυμεῖ κατὰ

τοῦ Πνεύματος καὶ τὸ Πςεῦμα κατὰ τῆς σαρκός: or, ἡ μὲν γὰρ σάρξ... τὸ δὲ

Πνεῦμα etc.; "For both hath the flesh desires against the Spirit and the Spirit

against the flesh; or, "for on the one hand the flesh hath desires... and on the

other," etc. But the adversative δὲ standing alone tends to disjoin the two clauses

rather than to conjoin them so closely together as the Authorized Version leads

us to suppose. We need supply no ether verb than ἐπιθυμεῖ (hath desires) with the

words, "but the Spirit;" for this verb is used in a good sense as well as in a bad;

as e.g. Luke 22:15, ἐπιθυμία ἐπίθυμησα - epithumia epithumaesa - with desire did

I desire;" I Peter 1:12, "the angels desire (ἐπιθυμοῦσιν) to look into;"

Philippians 1:23. "the desire (ἐπιθυμίαν) to depart." In fact, the verb properly

implies a simply strong wish, not necessarily an ill-governed one. And these are

contrary the one to the other (ταῦτα γὰρ ἀλλήλοις ἀντίκειτει - tauta gar allaelois -

 [Receptus, ταῦτα δὲ ἀντίκειται ἀλλήλοις - tauta de antikeitai allaelois  - for these

oppose themselves the one to the other]; these yet are opposing one another.

Taking the former two clauses as has been proposed above, we can discern the

force of the "for" introducing this new clause. The apostle having been by two

several turns of thought led to state, first that the flesh prompts desires or action

in opposition to the Spirit, and then, as a distinct sentence, that the Spirit prompts

desires or action in opposition to the flesh, he now conjoins the two several notions

in the affirmation of the mutual antagonistic agency of these two principles; "For

these oppose themselves the one to the other." The verb ἀντίκειμαι (is opposing)

always denotes opposing action, and not mere contrariety of nature; being used

as a participial noun for "adversaries" or "opponents' ' in Luke 13:17; 21:15;

I Corinthians 16:9; Philippians 1:28; I Timothy 5:14; and as a verb in

II Thessalonians 2:4 and I Timothy 1:10, to denote setting one's self in

opposition to. This clause, therefore, describes the continual endeavor of the

flesh and of the Spirit to thwart and defeat each other's action in the hearts of the

persons spoken cf. So that ye cannot do the things that ye would (ἵνα μὴ ἐὰν

θέλητε ταῦτα ποιῆτε - hina mae ha ean thelaete tauta poiaete - to the end that

what things soever ye fain would do, those ye shall not do. This last clause

describes the result aimed at by each of those conflicting principles, namely,

to thwart each of them the volitions prompted by the other. The words remind

us of Romans 7:15, Οὐ γὰρ θέλω τοῦτο πράσσω - Ou gar ho thelo touto prassos -

 For not, what thing I fain would, that do I practice; ibid., 16, Ὁ οὐ θέλω τοῦτο ποιῶ -

Ho ou thelo touto poio -  "What thing I fain would not, that I do;" ibid., 19, Οὐ γὰρ
θέλω ποιῶ ἀγαθόν ἀλλ οὐ θέλω κακόν τοῦτο πράσσω - Ou gar ho thelo poio

agathon all ho ou thelo kakon touto prasso - For not what good thing I fain would,

do I do; but what evil thing I fain would not, that I practice." The comparison of the

indefinite relative, "what things soever ye fain would do ( ἐὰν θέλητε - which ever

ye may be willing)," in the present passage, with the more definite "what thing I fain

would do," or "fain would not do ( θέλω. οὐ θέλω)," in the Romans, points to the

conclusion that by the clause, "what things soever ye fain would do," is meant,

"whichever be the kind of your volitions, whether they be those prompted by the

flesh or those prompted by the Spirit." In comparing the two passages, it is important

to notice that in the seventh chapter of the Romans the apostle is concerned exclusively

with the frustration of our good volitions, which, there, are not ascribed to the

prompting of the Holy Spirit, but to the prompting of our own moral sense quickened

by the voice of the Law's commandment. Such good volitions he represents as

overpowered by the controlling influence ("law" ) of the evil principle, "the flesh;"

a condition of miserable thraldom, out of which, the apostle (ibid., 25), with

triumphant gratitude, alludes to believers in Christ being delivered - "I thank

God through Jesus Christ our Lord" - delivered by the coming in upon the scene

of a new agent, "the Spirit of life:" whereas, in the passage before us, he is describing

the condition of believers in Christ, to whom now has been imparted this new power

for doing what is good. In these, "the mind" (Romans 7:25), powerless before to

overcome the law of sin, is succored by the presence of a mighty Ally, through

whom, he intimates elsewhere, the believer has it within his power to do all things

(Philippians 4:13). Many expositors, including Bishop Lightfoot, take ἵνα (that)

in the present clause us denoting simply the result actually brought about; thus the

Authorized Version, "so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." Whether this

sense, of result actually produced, can be shown ever to attach to ἵνα followed by

the subjunctive, is a question which has been much debated. In I Thessalonians 5:4,

"Ye are not in darkness that (ἵνα) that day should overtake you as a thief," the

particle "that" points to the ordering of Divine providence spoken of in the two

preceding verses, that they who are in darkness should be taken by surprise by

the coming of the day of the Lord. It is certainly possible so to understand the

particle here; the mutually thwarting agency of the flesh and the Spirit may be

understood as latently attributed to Divine providence ordering that thus it should

be. But this view would hardly seem to harmonize, either with the almightiness of

the Divine Agent engaged in the conflict or with the triumphant language of

Romans 8:1-4. In actual experience, it does indeed seem to be but too often almost

a μαχὴ ἰσόρροπος - machae isorropos - a drawn battle; so greatly is the Spirit's

agency dogged and hampered by the weakness of human faith and the inconstancy

of human purpose. But it does not need to be so. In the case of St. Paul himself, as

we may infer from all that he says of his own career subsequent to his conversion,

and in perhaps not a few cases besides, the Spirit has been completely and persistently

triumphant. It therefore appears inconvenient to suppose that the apostle means to

ascribe such a result to the ordering of Divine providence making it inevitable.

Certainly such a construction of the passage is not necessary. We escape from it

altogether by ascribing the notion of purpose latent in this ἵνα, "to the end that,"

to the nisus (a mental or physical effort to attain an end) severally of the two agents.

Taken so, the passage affirms this: Will whatever you may, whether good or evil,

you will be sure to meet with an adverse agency, striving to bar the complete

accomplishment of your desire. There appears to be no good reason for limiting

the application of this statement, as some propose our doing, to the case of

immature Christians, in whom Christ is as yet imperfectly formed (ch. 4:19).

With every Christian, to the very last, the life of holiness can only be a fruit of

conflict; a conflict on the whole, even perhaps persistently, successful; yet a

conflict still, maintained by the help of the Spirit against an evil principle,

which can never, as long as we live, cease to give occasion for care and

watchfulness (see I Corinthians 9:24-27; I Timothy 6:12; II Timothy 4:7).

Why, it may be asked, is the apostle concerned to refer to this conflict here?

Apparently because the Galatians showed by their behavior that they needed to

be stirred up and put upon their guard. They were, as the apostle (I Corinthians 3:3)

told the Corinthian believers they were, "carnal, walking as men." They had

foregone the sense of their adoption; they were worrying one another with

contentions. The flesh was in their case manifestly thwarting and defeating

the desires of the Spirit. Therefore the apostle here reminds them of the conditions

of the Christian life; it is to stimulate them to that earnest endeavor to walk by

the Spirit, WITHOUT WHICH (v. 24) THEY COULD NOT BE CHRIST'S!

 

18 "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."  Εἰ δὲ πνεύματι ἄγεσθε

οὐκ ἐστὲ ὑπὸ νόμον - Ei de pneumatic agesthe ouk este hupo nomon -But if ye are

led by the Spirit, ye are not under the Law. The sense of Πνεύματι as denoting

the Spirit of God is put beyond question by the parallel passage in Romans

(Romans 8:14), "As many as are led by the Spirit of God (Πνεύματι Θεοῦ ἄγονται -

Pneumati Theou agontai - ye are being led of the Spirit), these are sons of God."

The dative case with ἄγομαι (being led) in both passages is illustrated by

II Timothy 3:6, "silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts (ἀγόμενα

ἐπιθομίαις ποικίλαις - agomena epithomiais poikilais - being led to various lusts)."

In all three cases the dative must be the dative of the agent, there being in (ibid.)

a slight personification. This use of the dative is not in prose writers a common

construction with passive verbs, though not altogether unknown (Winer, ' Gram.

N.T.,' § 3l, 10). In the present case its harshness is perhaps relieved by the

circumstance that the noun does not represent an agent whose personality is

markedly conspicuous ab extra (from without; outside); but rather an internally

swaying influence, whoso personality is a matter of faith. Hence in II Timothy 3:6

we render, "led away with divers lusts." This shade of sense might be represented

by rendering, "led with the Spirit." In Luke 4:1, "led by the Spirit," we have

ἤγετο ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι - aegento en to Pneumati - was led by the Spirit. In all these

passages the passive, "being led," must, from the nature of the case, include the

voluntary self-subjection of those led. In Romans,"being led by the Spirit" stands

instead of "walking after the Spirit" in v. 4; "being after the Spirit" in v. 5;

"by the Spirit mortifying the deeds of the body" in v. 13. Similarly, here it is

tantamount to the "walking by the Spirit" mentioned above in v. 16. The phrase

cannot be fairly understood of merely having that presence of the Holy Spirit.

which is predicated of the whole "body of Christ," even of those members thereof

whose conduct is plainly not regulated by the sacred influence (compare

I Corinthians 12:13; 6:19); it must be understood as describing the case of such

as recognize His presence and yield themselves to His guidance. (Can you conceive

of the refreshing atmosphere a culture not continually exposed to all things sexual

which ever way you turn?  It was bad enough in Puritan America to resist carnally

mindedness without such temptations and advertisements flashing across a worldly

media or in real time, where bodies are revealed in illy-clad clothing while walking

up and down public streets or aimlessly circulating in shopping malls of the land! 

CY - 2018) The sense of the phrase, "being under the Law," is illustrated by ch. 3:23,

"we were kept in ward under the Law;, ch. 4:4, "made to be under the Law;" ibid., 5,

"to redeem those which were under the Law;" ibid., 21, "ye who would fain be

under the Law;" Romans 6:14-15, "not under the Law, but under grace;"

I Corinthians 9:20, "to those which are under the Law as under the Law, that

I might gain those who are under the Law." These are all the passages in which the

expression occurs. The inference is clear that the apostle designates by it the

condition of such as are subject to the Law of the old covenant, viewed as a whole,

in its ceremonial aspect as well as its moral; his meaning would not be exhausted   

by the paraphrase, "subject to the condemnation of the Law." What he affirms

here is this: If in the course of your lives you are habitually swayed by the inward

motions of the Spirit of God, then you are not subject to the Law of the old covenant.

The connection between the premise and the conclusion has been clearly shown by

the apostle above (ch. 4:5-7), it is this, that the possession of the Spirit of adoption

proves a man to be a "son" - one who has attained his majority and is no longer

subject to a pedagogue. This aphorism of the apostle, that if they were led by the

Spirit they were not under the Law, suggests the inquiry - But how was it with those

Christians who were not led by the Spirit? Would the apostle teach, or would he

allow us to say, that Gentile Christians (for it is to such that he is writing), and

Jewish as well, if not guided by the Spirit, were bound to obey the Law of the

old covenant? With reference to this point we are to consider that the apostle

has elsewhere clearly stated, for example in Romans 11, that the Church of God

forms, in solidarity with Israel of old, ONE "ISRAEL OF GOD as he speaks

in the sixth chapter of this Epistle (v. 16); Gentiles, being "grafted in" upon the

original stock, have thus become branches (σύμφυτοι - sumphutoi) having one

common life and nature therewith; or, in the language of another figure,

"fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the

promise in Christ Jesus," with those who originally were heirs and forming

the body and partners in the promised blessing (Ephesians 3:6). This leads us

to the view that God's Law, the revelation of His will relative to his people's

conduct, given in successive developments:

 

·         patriarchal,

·         Mosaical,

·         prophetical

 

is, with such modifications as have been made by the crucifixion and the priesthood

of Christ, and by the mission and work of the Holy Spirit, God's Law relative to

His people's conduct still. The cross and priestly work of Christ, as we are taught

by this Epistle and the Epistle to the Hebrews, do for all Christians eliminate from

this Law its ceremonial prescriptions altogether; but its moral prescriptions, more

fully perfected by the moral teaching of Jesus and His apostles, are still incumbent

upon them. Those Christians who really give themselves up to the Spirit to be

taught and animated by Him, who are as St. Paul says (ch. 6:1) "spiritual,"

these use this Law (as Calvin phrases it) as a doctrina liberalis; the Law of

the Spirit of life within them leads and enables them to recognize, and so to

speak assimilate, the kindred import of the Law embodied in the letter; which

thus ministers to their instruction and consolation (Romans 15:4; II Timothy 3:16;

I Corinthians 9:10). The letter of the Law is now their helper, no longer their

absolute rigid rule; as a rule it is superseded by the law written in the heart

(II Corinthians 3:6-11; Hebrews 8:8-11). As Chrysostom writes in his note on

the present passage, "They are raised to a height far above the Law's injunction."

 But in the degree in which they are not spiritual, but natural (ψυχικοί - psuchikoi),

I Corinthians 2:14-16; Jude 1:19), in that degree must they use the letter of the Law,

in the New Testament as well as the Old, as the rule of their conduct. We, those who

have been sacramentally brought into covenant with God, cannot be left to ourselves;

either we must be sweetly, persuasively, instinctively, swayed by the Spirit of God

within, or else own the coercing dominion of the written Law. In fact, the same

individual Christian may at different times be subject to alternation between these

two diverse phases of experience, passing over from one to the other of them

according to his fluctuating needs. Christians may, therefore, be broadly divided

into three classes:

 

(1) the spiritual (ch. 6:1; Romans 8:1-4);

(2) those who are as yet in bondage to the letter;

(3) those who are living after the flesh - "carnal" (1 Corinthians 3:3).

 

The above statement of the case commends itself as in accordance with what the

apostle writes in I Timothy 1:8-11, "We know that the Law is good [καλός - kalos:

Romans 7:12] if a man use it lawfully [νομίμως - nomimos - according to the

manner in which God has directed us to use it in His gospel (v. 11)], knowing this

[having his eye upon this], that the Law is not made (οὐ κεῖται - ou keitai - ) for a

righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for,.., according to the gospel

of the glory of the blessed God." In contrast with this Law, coercing impiety and

immorality wherever it is found, whether in the world or in the Church, the apostle

has before in v. 5 declared that its function is superseded in the case of the spiritual

believer: "The end of the commandment [see Alford] is charity, out of a pure

 heart and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned." The perpetual obligation

of the Law given under the old covenant, subject to the qualifications noted above,

appears to be emphatically affirmed by our Lord: "I came not to destroy the Law,

but to fulfill: for verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or

one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the Law, till all things be accomplished"

(Matthew 5:17-18). And the recognition of this principle underlies all His moral

teaching; as, for example, in the sermon on the mount; in His controversies with

the Jewish rabbins; in such passages as Mark 10:19; Matthew 22:37-40.

The moral Law given in the Old Testament is amalgamated with that given in

the New, FORMING ONE WHOLE!

 

(Below I attach Billy Graham’s column in The Kentucky New Era of September 21,

2018 edition which should shed some light upon this verse (18th of Galatians 5)

and warn of the serious problems that are developing in our culture and society

which are characteristic of both CARNAL CHRISTIANS and THE SECULAR

OR NATURAL MAN OF THE UNCHURCHED! – CY – 2018)

 

 

 

 

vs. 16-18 – “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust

of the flesh.  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.  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

 

  • The Work of the Spirit in the Believer

 

ü      Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil (or, fulfil not) the

      lust of the flesh (Pneu>mati peripatei~te kai< ejpiqumi>an

                        sarko<v ouj mh< tele>shte); walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not

                         fulfil the lust (or, desire) of the flesh. The “Spirit” is mentioned

                        alongside with “the flesh,” not because it belongs to the like

                        category of being a part of our nature, but because He has been

                        graciously sent forth by God to contravene in us that evil

                        principle which else we should be unable to overcome. This evil                         

                        principle is termed “the flesh;” not as being merely sensual

                        corruption, though vices of that class are mentioned in vs. 19 and 21

                        as leading instances of its working; for we see in vs. 20 and 21

                        vicious works of the flesh specified, which are to be referred to                                     

                        malignity (I Corinthians 3:3), or to a perversion of the religious

                        element, rather than to sensuality. It appears, therefore, to denote

                        the principle of corruption which taints our moral nature in

                        general - that which in the ninth of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the

                        Church of England is defined under the heading of “Original or

                        Birth-Sin.’ The word “flesh” may be supposed to have been selected

                        to denote this, because the depravation of our sensuous beings into                               

                        sensuality constituted the most prominent and noticeable form

                        in which the general degradation of our state from its proper

                        nobler life in God manifests itself.

 

 

ü      “Walk in the Spirit.” Nothing could be more descriptive of the

      natural effect of the spiritual change produced in regeneration.

      The new-born child soon discovers symptoms of activity. The

      language of the passage reminds us:

 

Ø      Of our dependence on the Spirit.  Our life must be in

      harmony with the mind of the Spirit. His will must be our

      constant guide. “Therefore grieve not the Holy Spirit.”

      (Ephesians 4:30) “The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness

      and righteousness and truth.” (Ephesians 5:9)

 

Ø      Walking implies progress. If we walk, we make progress in

      our journey.  Enoch walked with God.” (Genesis 5:24)

 

ü      “Led by the Spirit”  This implies an entire surrender of ourselves to the

                        authority and guidance of the Spirit. The traveller in a strange land

                        must follow his guide. So the believer is led by the Spirit with the

                        Word, which is the chart of his journey through life. The term

                        implies, not an isolated act of the Spirit, but a continuous help

                        provided through all parts of a believer’s life.

 

 

  • Reasons for Dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

 

ü      There wilt be no fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.  The Spirit’s

      guidance will keep us apart from all sinful indulgences, from all   

      earthliness, from all the sins and purposes of the natural man.

      The Spirit and the flesh exclude one another. We shall not trust

      in our own strength, and so we shall be kept; we shall consult His will        

      supremely, and He will deliver us from the perversities and delusions

      of our own will

.

ü      The warfare between the flesh and the Spirit demands extreme

      care on our part to be always yielded to the Holy Spirit.  (my

      main sin in life is “not allowing the Holy Spirit to control me” –

      if I did, I would not have as much trouble with sins of the flesh,

      pride, vanity, an unforgiving spirit and selfishness.  Add to this

      not allowing the Holy Spirit to control and you discover the major

      culprit.  By allowing the Holy Spirit to control me, I would not have

      so much trouble with the flesh, pride, vanity, an unforgiving spirit

      and selfishness – CY – 2009)

 

 

  • The Conflict Between the Spirit and the Flesh is Inevitable.

 

ü      Indwelling sin is the calamity of all the people of God.  For the

      flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh”

       (hJ ga<r sa<rx ejpiqumei~ kata< tou~ Pneu>matov to< de< Pneu~ma kata<

      th~v sarko>v); for the flesh doth lust (or, hath desires) against the

      Spirit; but the Spirit likewise against the flesh. The first clause,

                        “for the flesh hath desires against the Spirit,” justifies the mention

                        of “the desire of the flesh” in v.16, as being an experience which                                      

                        Christians in general have still to deal with; as if it were, For the

                        flesh really is present still, originating within you desires contrary to

                        those prompted by the Spirit.” Then the apostle adds, but the Spirit                                  

                        likewise [or, ‘ hath desires’] against the flesh;” intimating that,

                        although the flesh was still at work within, prompting desires tending                                

                        away from holiness, that nevertheless was no reason for their giving

                        way to such evil inclinations; for the Spirit was with them as well,                                      

                        originating desires after what was holy and good; and He would help

                        them against those other inclinations towards evil, if only they would                                

                        surrender themselves to his guidance.  Two powers are at work within

                        one and the same person. If there were no such strife, with the                                           

                        irreconcilable antagonism involved in it, there could be no grace.

                        “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit.”  It uses the senses to

      mar the Spirit’s power. It presents to the eyes what will inflame evil           

      passions; it appeals through the ear to appetite; it finds the tongue

      often too ready to serve its purposes. “The Spirit against the

      flesh.” He is there entrenched within the soul and will not be

                        dislodged. He uses the senses — the eye, the ear, the tongue, the

                        hand, the foot — for the purposes of edification. He conveys thoughts,                             

                        suggests impressions, and imparts motives, which restrain, guide, and                                

                        influence the soul. This verse describes the continual endeavor

                        of the flesh, and of the Spirit, to thwart and defeat each other’s

                        action in the hearts of men!

 

ü      The effects of the conflict.  “So that ye cannot do the things that ye

                        would.” This implies that the believer would be free from temptation,

                        but he cannot; he would uninterruptedly serve God, but he cannot; he                                

                        would be perfect as God is perfect, but he cannot. It is a comfort, after

                        all, to think that on account of the Spirit’s operation a believer will

                        not do all the evil he would.  (Read the seventh chapter of Romans

                        which describes our common lot – in v. 25 Paul admits that the

                        mind is powerless to overcome the law of sin but he is succored

                        by the presence of a mighty Ally (Holy Spirit), through whom

                        he says in Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ

                        which strengtheneth me”!)  With every Christian, to the very last,

                        the life of holiness can only be a fruit of conflict; a conflict on the

                        whole, even perhaps persistently, successful; yet a conflict still,                                          

                        maintained by the help of the Spirit against an evil principle, which

                        can never, as long as we live, cease to give occasion for care and                                        

                        watchfulness (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7).                                

                        Why, it may be asked, is the apostle concerned to refer to this conflict                               

                        here? Apparently because the Galatians showed by their behavior that

                        they needed to be stirred up and put upon their guard. They were, as

                        the apostle (1 Corinthians 3:3) told the Corinthian believers they were,                               

                        “carnal, walking as men.”  The flesh was in their case manifestly                                     

                        thwarting and defeating the desires of the Spirit. Therefore the apostle

                        here reminds them of the conditions of the Christian life; it is to

                        stimulate them to that earnest endeavor to walk by the Spirit,

                        without which (v. 24) they could not be Christ’s.

 

ü      This conflict is not without its spiritual advantages. It humbles the

                        believer, by giving him a better knowledge of his sin; it makes him

                        more watchful; it endears the Savior to him; it commends the riches

                        of Divine grace; it calls into exercise all the graces of the Spirit and

                        all the faculties of his nature. It makes him long all the more for the

                        rest of heaven.

 

  • The Spirit’s guidance exempts us from the Law. “If ye be led by the

            Spirit, ye are not under the Law.” The Galatians were for putting

            themselves again in subjection to Law and forgetting the free rule of the

            Spirit. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (II Corinthians

            3:17)  It was necessary to remind them that they were now “dead to that in          

            which they were held” (Romans 7:4).  It was no longer to them “a Law of

            sin and death.” “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” made them

            free from it.  (Romans 8:2)  How, then, does the Spirit’s guidance set

            them apart from the Law?

 

ü      The Spirit discovers the hopelessness of acceptance with God

      through Law.

           

ü      He enables the believer to acquiesce in the blessed discovery

      that “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every

      one that believeth.” (Romans 10:4)

 

ü      He enables the believer to regard the Law in a new light. It is now

      a rule of life. The believer does not tremble before it, because

      Christ fulfilled it. He delights in it after the inward man. It is to

      him a Law of liberty, now that he is not really under it as a way

      of justification.

 

We, those who have been sacramentally brought into covenant with God, cannot be

left to ourselves; either we must be sweetly, persuasively, instinctively, swayed by

the Spirit of God within, or else own the coercing dominion of the written Law. In

fact, the same individual Christian may at different times be subject to alternation

between these two diverse phases of experience, passing over from one to the other

of them according to his fluctuating needs. Christians may, therefore, be broadly

divided into three classes:

 

  • the spiritual (Galatians 6:1; Romans 8:1-4);
  • those who are as yet in bondage to the letter;
  • those who are living after the flesh — “carnal” (1Corinthians 3:3).

      Even Paul admitted that he was “carnal, sold under sin” (Romans 7:14)

            (So am I.  May my testimony be as was Paul’s  O wretched man

            that I am!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  I

            thank God throught Jesus Christ our Lord!” - CY- 2009)

 

In vs. 16-17 the apostle puts in contrast with each other, “walking by the Spirit”

and “fulfilling the desire of the flesh.” (so hard to control, but at the same time,

SO FATAL TO OUR WELFARE!)   In the three following verses (19-21) he points

out what kind of life the flesh prompts men to pursue, and its fatal consequences; in vs.22-23

the character formed by the Spirit’s influence, and its blessed immunity

from the censure of the Law.

 

19 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication,

uncleanness, lasciviousness,” Now the works of the flesh are manifest (φανερὰ δέ ἐστι

τὰ ἔργα τῆς σαρκός – phanera de esti ta erga taes sarkos – yet apparent are the works

of the flesh). The apostle's purpose is here altogether one of practical exhortation.

Having in v. 13 emphatically warned the Galatians against making their emancipation

from the Mosaic Law an occasion for the flesh, and in v. 16 affirmed the incompatibility

of a spiritual walk with the fulfillment of the desire of the flesh, he now specifies

samples of the vices, whether in outward conduct or in inward feeling, in which the

working of the flesh is apparent, as if cautioning them; adducing just those into which

the Galatian converts would naturally be most in danger of falling. Both in the list

which he gives them of sins, and in that of Christian graces, he is careful to note

those relative to:

 

·         their Church life as well as those bearing upon

·         their personal private life.

 

Instances of enumeration of sins which may be compared with that here given, are

found, with respect to the heathen world, in Romans 1:29-32; with reference to

Christians, Romans 13:13; I Corinthians 6:9-10; II Corinthians 12:20-21;

Ephesians 5:3-5, followed by a brief indication of fruits of the Spirit in v. 9;

Colossians 3:5-9; I Timothy 1:9-10; II Timothy 3:2-4. "Manifest;" namely, to

our moral sense; we at once feel that these are the outcome of an evil nature,

and are incompatible with the influence of the Spirit of God.

 

"Works of the flesh" means works in which the prompting of the flesh is

recognizable. The phrase is equivalent to "the deeds or doings of the body,"

which we are called to "mortify, put to death, by the Spirit" (Romans 8:13).

In Romans 8:5-8; 13:12 and Ephesians 5:11-18 they are styled "works of darkness,"

that is, works belonging properly to a state in which the moral sense has not

been quickened by the Spirit, or in which the light of Christ's presence

has not shone. Which are these (ἅτινά ἐτιhatina eti -  which is; of which sort are).

 Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (πορνεία [Receptus, μοιχεία

πορνεία], ἀκαθαρσία ἀσέλγεια – porneia [Receptus, moicheia porneiaadultery,

fornication {prostitution}] akatharsia aselgeia -  uncleanness, lasciviousness

{wantonness}). This is the first group, consisting of offences against chastity

sins against which the Church has to contend in all ages and in all countries;

but which idolatry, especially such idolatry as that of Cybele in Galatia, has

generally much fostered. The first in our English Bible,

 

  • "adultery," is rejected from the Greek text by the general consent of editors.

But in fact, "fornication" (πορνεία) may be taken as including it (Matthew

5:32), though it may also stand at its side as a distinct species of unchastity.

 

  • "uncleanness" covers a wider range of sensual sin ("all uncleanness,"

Ephesians 4:19); solitary impurity, whether in thought or deed; unnatural lust

(Romans 1:24-28), though it can hardly be taken as meaning this lust alone.

(I cannot imagine what my life would have been like, if when television

was just coming out, if HBO or X-RATED MOVIES OR MODERN

PORNOGRAPHY was available on the scale it is now.  I doubt if

I you would have known who I was, or if I would be approaching my

jubilee year with my wife next week!  Perhaps I would have been dead

by now with the description that Paul uses in Ephesians 2:12:

 

Ø      “without Christ”,

Ø      alienated from the church (commonwealth of Israel).

Ø      a stranger from the covenants of promise,

Ø      having no hope and

Ø      WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD!

 

I remember going to the movies a few times in my youth and enjoying

the classic western shows of that era.  When I came home, you know what

I wanted to do?  I wanted to play cowboys and Indians.  You are willfully

ignorant if you think it does not affect the youth of today!   I wonder what

role Hollywood has played in “millenials” staying away from the Kingdom

of God?  During puberty it is the equivalent of throwing gas on a fire!

How many older people have become entangled by this web of deception

of Satan, thinking they missed out on something during their youth that

they, in a liberal society, can “catch up” on what they missed out on in

their earlier days!  [Reread Billy Graham’s column above!] – CY – 2018)

 

  • “Lasciviousness," or "wantonness," is scarcely an adequate rendering

of ἀσέλγεια (excess; licentiousness; indecency; absence of restraint;

[see Proverbs 29:18 where the word translated “vision” really means

“restraint” and put the proverbial “selah” of the Psalms behind it –

stop and think on it awhile] – CY – 2018) in this connection; it appears

to point to reckless shamelessness in unclean indulgences. (I should

think that there is nothing more unclean that male homosexuality – CY

– 2018)  In classical Greek the adjective ἀσέλγηςaselgaes - describes

a man insolently and wantonly reckless in his treatment of others;

but in the New Testament it generally appears to point more specifically

to unabashed (unashamed nor embarrassed)   open indulgence in impurity.

The noun is connected with "uncleanness" and "fornication” in

II Corinthians 12:21; with "uncleanness' ' in Ephesians 4:19; and

is used of the men of Sodom in II Peter 2:7; compare ibid. v. 18;

I Peter 4:3; Jude 1:4, 7). Only in Mark 7:22 can it from the grouping

be naturally taken in its classical sense. (So I ask you, where is the

emphasis? – CY – 2018)

 

And while we are at it, I highly recommend Spurgeon Sermon Remember Lot’s Wife –

which I have read as a devotion this week – Introduction and points A, B, C, and D,

of which I plan to finish point D tonight – this being September 25, 2018 – CY)

 

 

I also highly recommend putting in your browser:

 

 http://www.arkdiscovery.com

 

Go to the section dealing with Sodom and Gomorrah.  You will get quite

and education!  CY - 2018

 

I must refer the reader to I Corinthians 10:13 and 6:11.

 

“There hath no temptation taken you but such is common to man:  but God

is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but

will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to

bear it!”  (I Corinthians 10:13)

 

“And such were some of you:  but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified,

but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of

our God!”   (I Corinthians 6;11)

 

 

20 "Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions,

heresies,"  Idolatry, witchcraft (εἰδωλολατρεία, φαρμακεία - eidololatreia,

 pharmakeia - idolatry, sorcery; druging; enchantment. These two form A SECOND

GROUP - sins of irreligion; and such as would be likely greatly to beset new converts

from idolatry. We may compare, in respect to the former, the temptations which the

apostle recognizes the danger of in the case of the Corinthians (1 Corinthians chps. 8

and 10.). "Sorcery." The word φαρμακεία, originally denoting the use of drugs

merely, means, sometimes, their use for poisoning; but this sense would not be

very suitable here. But the nouns φαρμακός, φαρμακεύς, and φαρμακεία -

pharmakos, pharmakeus and pharmakeia -  like veneficus and veneficium

in Latin, are also often used with reference to the employment of drugs in charms

and incantations; and thence of the employment of black arts in general - magic,

sorcery, witchcraft; compare Revelation 9:21 (druggers; enchanters); 21:8; 22:15;

where the Authorized Version gives "sorceries," "sorcerers;" and in the Septuagint,

Exodus 7:11, 22; 8:18 (Authorized Version, "magicians" ); Isaiah 47:9, 12

("enchantments with the multitude of thy sorceries"). See also μαγεύων μαγείας -

mageuon mageias  ("sorceries" ), Acts 8:9, 11.  The claim to the possession of such

powers, common at Ephesus (Acts 19:19; II Timothy 3:13, γόητες - goatees -

swindlers), and rife, perhaps, universally among heathens,

certainly so in the Roman empire round the Mediterranean, had no doubt been a

snare also to the Galatians. Bishop Lightfoot adverts to a very stringent canon of

the Council of Ancyra (the capital of Galatia), A.D. 314, condemning φαρμακεῖαι.

It may be doubted whether the apostle himself would regard, or had reason to regard,

pretensions to such supernatural arts as merely delusive or superstitious. Experiences

such as that recorded in Acts 16:16-18, would hardly permit him to do so. Hatred,

variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditious, heresies (ἔχθραι ἔρις [Receptus, ἔρεις],

ζῆλοι θυμοί, ἐριθεῖαι διχοστασίαι αἱρέσεις - echthrai eris [Receptus, ereis]), zaeloi

thumoi, eritheiai, dichostasiai haireseis - enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions,

divisions, heresies (or, parties).  This THIRD GROUP to which belongs also the

envyings (φθόνοι - phthonoi), together with the probably not genuine murders

(φόνοι - phonoi) of the next verse, is bound together by the common characteristic

of malignity (evil in nature). This vice of our nature, so inveterate (habitual) IN
OUR FALLEN STATE
- the antithesis to the love which is the essence of goodness -

is, strangely enough as it at first sight seems, most readily stimulated into rancor

by differences in religion. As at this very same time at Corinth, so here in Galatia

likewise, the "flesh" displayed its malignity in "jealousy, strife, and divisions;

dissentions (ζῆλος καὶ ἔρις καὶ διχοστᾶσίαι - zealos kai eris kai dichostasiai),"

originating from this cause (I Corinthians 3:3). 

 

  • "Emnities;" manifestations of aversion openly displaying itself.
  • "Strife;" the outward mutual conflict of persons animated with such sentiments.

 

The plural number of ἔρεις, (strifes), given by the Textus Receptus, as well as, perhaps,

the plural of ζῆλοι (jealousies), which not improbably should also be read in the

singular, ζῆλος (jealousy), may have owed its introduction by the copyists to the

plural number of ἔχθραι (enmities), which is not questioned. The precise import of

ζῆλος, rendered "jealousy," is not easily determined. It is spoken of as a virtue in:

 

 

But in perhaps all these cases, the ardent favoring of what is good is thought of as

either ready to take, or actually taking, the aspect of boiling resentment against

its assailants; thus also:

 

  •  Hebrews 10:27 ("fiery indignation," Authorized Version), literally, "zeal of fire."
  • Here in ch. 1:14, "zealous;" compare Exodus 20:5, Θεὸς ζηλωτής - Theos

zaelotaes - "jealous God" (Authorized Version); Hebrews el qanna.

 

To this line of meaning is to be referred Acts 5:17, "filled with indignation (ζήλου)."

In another class of passages the word denotes a wrong state of feeling, where in the

Authorized Version it is uniformly rendered "envy" or "envying" These are

Acts 13:45 (Revised Version, "jealousy" ), where it surely means the resentment

which the Jews felt at the supposed invasion of their own theocratic prerogatives.

In the remaining passages of the New Testament in which it occurs it is linked

either with "strife," as it is here; namely, Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3;

II Corinthians 12:20; or with ἐριθεία, as James 3:14, 16. In these passages

there does not seem any reason on the face of them for supposing that it means

"envy," that is, grudging to another some advantage; this in Greek is φθόνος -

phthonos -  A more probable view is that ζῆλος denotes eagerness to find in another

some ground for hot resentment against him. Perhaps we have no single equivalent

word in our language, "jealousy" being the nearest approach. In the Epistle of Clement

of Rome to the Corinthians, ch. 4-6, we have a long list of instances given of persons

who have suffered through being objects of ζῆλος: in many of them "envy," or

"rivalry," would seem to be the more prominent notion in the word; but in others

it appears to mean rather "jealousy;" in some the same as in Acts 5:17 or Acts 13:45.

The next word θυμοί, wraths, denotes violent ebullitions of passionate anger; the

plural pointing to different occasions prompting such. The following term, ἐριθεῖαι

(rendered "factious" ), was formerly imagined to be etymologically connected with

ἔρις, (strife) - a notion which is now generally abandoned. The verb from which it

is derived, ἐριθεύω - eritheuo, is to act the part of an ἔριθος - erithos -  day-laborer,

the noun signifying "labor for hire;" then, scheming or intriguing for a post of

employment; and next, "party-action," "the contentious spirit of faction., In the

New Testament it occurs six times besides here.

 

  • In Romans 2:8, τοῖς δὲ ἐξ ἐριθείας (Authorized Version,  - tois de ex eritheias -

"them who are contentious" ), it appears to denote those who set themselves

in factious opposition to the truth, the apostle having no doubt especially

in his eye Jewish gainsayers of the gospel.

 

  • In Philippians 1:16, "some preach Christ ἐξ ἐριθείας (" it points to factious

opposition to Christ's divinely appointed heralds. In Philippians 2:3,

"let nothing be done κατ ἐριθείαν (through strife)," the same sense of factious

opposition to others is quite suitable. In the remaining passages, II Corinthians

12:20, where ζῆλοι θυμοί ἐριθεῖαι - zealoi thumoi eritheiai - envyings, wraths,

strifes, come together as they do here, and James 3:14-16, where, as above

noted, it is coujoined with ζῆλον, the notion of "factiousness," or "faction,"

perfectly satisfies the context. In the present passage the plural, ἐριθεῖαι,

denotes factious feelings roused on behalf of this cause and that; such

sentiments as are likely to eventuate in διχοστασίαι (divisions), that is,

more distinctly formed parties "standing apart" from each other; whilst

these again culminate in αἱρέσεις (heresies). The noun διχοστασίαι,

occurs also in 1 Corinthians 3:3, where they are spoken of as indicative

of a fleshly mind and in Romans 16:17, "Mark them which cause

divisions and (σκάνδαλα - skandala - occasions of stumbling." We may

regard this word as standing in the same relation to αἱρέσεις as the σχίσματα -

schismata  "divisions," or "schisms," do which are mentioned in I Corinthians

11:18," When ye come together in the Church, I hear that divisions exist among

you; and I partly believe it; for there must be also heresies among you." In

endeavoring to ascertain the exact import of this last word (αἱρέσεις), "heresies,"

we must first ascertain the sense in which αἵρεσις was currently used before

it was employed to describe phenomena appearing in the Church. The proper

sense of "choice" was in this word often limited to the specific sense of

"choice of views," particularly in philosophy or religion; that is, it meant

"ways of thinking;" and then, by an easy transition, "those who followed

a particular way of thinking"- "a school of thought." (Think of the

implications this has on the current Pro-Choice movement in the

United States of America in reference to abortion.  CY - 2018)

 

The Greek word for heresy is αἵρεσις - hairesis - a choosing,

choice – then that which is chosen, and hence an opinion, especially

a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power

of truth and leads to division, the formation of sects and finally,

APOSTASY FROM GOD!  (Think of the origins, influences and

roles of  PRO-CHOICE and the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES

UNION in the United States of America’s CULTURAL DEMISE  (IT                                 

ALL BEGAN WITH A CHOICE – a la – HERESY – CY -2009)  

Such a man is a living lie against the truth.

 

Thus it occurs in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, 'De Dora. et Arist.,' 7, etc. (see Liddell

and Scott). This sense was so current in Dionysius's time as to appear in Latin in the

contemporary writings of Cicero; thus, in 'Protein. Parad.,' Cicero writes, "Care

in ea est haeresi [sc. the Stoic], quae nullum sequitur florem orationis;" 'Ad Famil.,'

15:16; 'Ad Att.,' 14:14. Similarly Vitruvius writes, 'Prier.,' 5, "Pythagorae haeresin

sequi." It is not always easy to discriminate whether the "school of thought" so

designated means the way of thinking itself or the set of men who held it. In this

sense the word is used in the New Testament. Thus Acts 5:17, "the high priest

and all they that were with him, which is the heresy (αἵρεσις) of the Sadducees;"

where it means the sect, and not their views. So again, Acts 15:5, "certain of those

of the heresy of the Pharisees;" ibid., 24.5, "ringleader of the heresy of the

Nazaraeans," where Tertullus plainly meant those who held the views of

the Nazaraeans, and not the views themselves. But, on the other hand, in the

same chapter St. Paul in his reply (v. 14), when he says, "After the way which

they call a heresy, so serve I the God of our fathers," evidently uses the term

as applying to "the Way" itself (comp. Acts 9:2), and not to the people who

followed it. In Acts 26:5, "after the straitest heresy of our religion (θρησκείας -

thraeskeias - ritual) I lived a Pharisee," the word may be taken either way.

In Acts 28:22 "concerning this heresy, it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken

against," it seems, of the two, to be rather the more obvious way to take it of "what

Paul thought," than of the persons so thinking. If, however, it be taken of persons,

it is of course to be taken of them as holding and representing such views.

In 2 Peter 2:1, "false teachers, who shall privily bring in heresies of perdition,"

the qualifying genitive, "of perdition," would seem to favor our understanding

the "heresies" of the doctrines of these false teachers, rather than of the parties

following their teaching. On the whole review of these passages, it is of the

utmost importance to note the manner in which, in Acts 24:14, etc., St. Paul

treats Tertullus's application of the term to the Christian faith. "I confess,"

he says, "that after the way which they call αἵρεσις, so serve I the God

of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the Law, and

which are written in the prophets: having hope towards God, which these

also themselves look for, that there shall be a resurrection, both of the

just and unjust." In thus speaking, the apostle repudiates the application

of the term αἵρεσις to the Christian faith; not, however, on the ground that

the term denoted a flagrantly erroneous and vicious form of doctrine; for

there is nothing to show that this was the idea which Tertullus meant to

convey to Felix's mind, in so designating either Christians or their faith:

what, indeed, should Felix care about the soundness or unsoundness of their

doctrines? The apostle rather repudiates the term, because, as signifying "choice,"

it implied that the views referred to were adopted on the prompting of individual

opinion or liking. That it was not this, he shows by referring partly to the broad

basis of Divine revelation in general as propounding the doctrine of the resurrection,

which lay at the foundation of the Christian faith; and partly to the fact that his

accusers themselves admitted that doctrine. Christians believed that Jesus was

raised from the dead, not because they "chose" to think so, but because

God's Word taught them so to believe. We are thus landed at the conclusion

that, antecedently to its introduction into the language of the Church, the

term αἵρεσις denoted a school of thought or a set of opinions; sometimes

the opinions themselves; sometimes the people holding them; but that it

was understood to do so with reference to points on which there did not appear

to be any decisive authority to determine men's convictions, and respecting

which, therefore, men might choose their own opinions as they thought

themselves best able, This conclusion will help us to understand its import

in I Corinthians 11:19, in the passage before us, and in II Peter 2:1, as well as

the passage in Titus 3:10-11, in which the case of "a man that is an heretic

(ἄνθρωπος αἱρετικός - anthropos hairetikos)" is dealt with. It is clear, from

ch. 1:6-9, that the apostle regarded the "gospel" which had been delivered

to the world (Jude 1:3) by himself and his fellow-apostles, as being a

revelation so certain and authoritative that any teacher introducing doctrine

seriously infringing upon its substantial import would subject himself to the

extreme malediction of God. The whole tenor of this Epistle shows that its

author considered the Churches of Galatia as at this very time in danger of

either producing from their own bosom, or else admitting from the teaching

of others, doctrine which would be thus fatally subversive of the truth. Was it

not, then, extremely probable that, when here enumerating, with an especial

eye to the case of the Churches he was addressing, "the works of the flesh,"

which would cut off those who gave themselves up to their practice from the

inheritance of the kingdom of God, he would specify this particular "work"

of propounding, or embracing when propounded by others, doctrine which

should vitally deprave the truth which God had revealed? Any doctrine

which thus tampered with the gospel would, of course, be a αἵρεσις -

views of men's own devising and "choosing." The term, as has been seen,

might also describe a body of adherents to such false doctrine. But in the

passage before us, in which the works of the flesh are recited, and not the

doers of such works, the term must describe, not persons, but acts - acts,

that is, of conceiving or propounding in the Church VIEWS SUBVERSIVE

OF THE GOSPEL and gathering adherents to such views; such adherents

would, among Christians, form a αἵρεσις ANTAGONISTIC TO

THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST received in the Church. "Caballings" and

"divisions," ἐριθεῖαι and διχοστασίαι, might arise among Christians who still

held fast to the substance of the gospel; fatal to THE SPIRITUAL LIFE,

it might be, of those indulging in them; but yet essentially different from

"heresies," because not involving departure from the faith once for all

delivered to the saints, or conscious rebellion against the accredited

organs of revelation.  Here the apostle has in view the more hateful

phenomena of man-conceived dogmas taking the place of God's gospel -

dogmas so alien to the gospel that adherents to them would  be marked

among Christians as forming "sects," which in their spiritual genesis were

apart from the church and incapable of being amalgamated with it.  For the

church is the product of the truth, "the Word of God".  (I Peter 1:23-25; James

1:18); whilst these "sects" are products of merely human notions or either

"doctrines of devils" (I Timothy 4:1; compare Colossians 2:8, 19).  That same

Judaizing spirit which was now working among the churches of Galatia proved,

very early indeed, largely prolific of such "heresies" especially in Asia Minor;

those "heresies" in particular which are known by the name Gnostic.  The

apostle knew that such evils were coming, and it is certain that he anticipated

their development with dread;

 

  • (see the later Epistle I Timothy 4);
  • the contemporaneous First Epistle to Corinth ch. 10:18;
  • the earlier Second Epistle to the Thessalonians ch. 2;
  • also Acts 20:29-30;

    

not without cause, as history shows; for in truth it was only after a terrible, indeed

an internecine (destructive to both sides) conflict, that the Church in

the second and third centuries succeeded in treading this serpent-brood

underfoot. By the time that St. Paul deputed Titus to take the oversight of

the Churches of Crete, “heresies” were so far developed that he is careful

to direct Titus (Titus 3:10-11) how to deal with any man who attached

himself to them (αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον – hairetikon anthropon – sectarian human;

heretick). He is to admonish him once and again; if the warning proved fruitless,

he was thenceforward to decline having anything to do with him (παραιτοῦ -

paraitou – be you refusing; rejecting) for that he might be sure that,

being such, he was already completely wrenched off from vital union with

the body of Christ (ἐξέστραπται – exestraptai – turned inside out; perverted;

subverted), and was doing what was wrong, “self-condemned; either (that is)

condemned by the very nature of his proceeding, or condemned in his own

consciousness. It seems that the apostle regards the simple fact of his giving

himself to a “heresy” as proving all this; for he makes no reference to any other

pravity shown by the offender; he has an eye, evidently, to the consideration

that the man who forsakes the teaching of Christ, given through his accredited

organs, to follow a αἵρεσις, knows that he does so; knows that he is no longer

“holding the Head” (Colossians 2:19), but is following a mere “tradition of men”

(ibid., v. 8). With such a one Titus had no common ground. It is of prime importance

in estimating the nature of this "work of the flesh," with a practical view to our

present circumstances, that we bear in mind this feature of it, that it is a

relinquishment, a conscious relinquishment of the teaching of Christ, a breaking

off from "the Head." The above view is precisely that given by Tertullian,

' De Prsescriptionibus Haereticorum,' 6. Bishop Lightfoot, in his Introduction to

his Commentary on this Epistle, pp. 30, 31, writes thus: "It is not idle, as it might

seem at, first sight, to follow the stream of history beyond the horizon of the

apostolic age. The fragmentary notices of its subsequent career reflect some light

on the temper and disposition of the Galatian Church in St. Paul's day. To Catholic

writers of a later date, indeed, the failings of its infancy seemed to be so faithfully

reproduced in its mature age, that they invested the apostle's rebuke with a prophetic

import. Asia Minor was the nursery of heresy: and of all the Asiatic Churches it was

nowhere so rife as in Galatia. The Galatian capital [Ancyra] was the stronghold of

the Montanist revival, which lingered on for more than two centuries, splitting into

diverse sects, each distinguished by some fantastic or minute ritual observance.

Here, too, were to be found Ophites, Manicheans, sectarians of all kinds."

 

 

21 "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."  Envyings, murders (φθόνοι – phthonoi –

envies, [Receptus adds  φόνοι – phonoi - murders, rejected by most editors]). These

belong properly to the third group, and should have been placed in the same verse

with them. We have the like alliterative combination of the Greek words in Romans

1:29, φθόνου φόνου – phthonou, phonou – envy, murder. Judging from the evidence

of manuscripts, the genuineness of φόνοι, is extremely doubtful. Regard being had

to the particular circumstances of the Galatian Churches, which the apostle no doubt

had in his eye in this enumeration, "murders' seems too strong a word to be

appropriate; and this consideration seems to prove the word here not authentic.

Drunkenness, revelings (μέθαι κῶμοι - methai komoi - drunkennesses, revelings.

We have the same two plural nouns in Romans 13:13, κώμοις καὶ μέθαις - komois

kai methais – revelries and drunkenness. This fourth group represents sins of excess.

Here, too, the apostle touches a form of vice, to which abundant testimony shows the

Galatians, as well as other branches of Celts, to have been especially prone. It was,

perhaps, this marked feature of the Galatian nationality in particular that led St. Peter,

in addressing the Churches of "Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,"

to speak (I Peter 4:3) of their having formerly walked in "lasciviousness, lusts,

wine-bibbings, revelings, carousings (οἰνοφλυγίας κώμοις πότοις - oinophlugias

komois potois), and abominable idolatries." And such like (καὶ τὰ ὅμοια τούτοις –

kai ta homoia toutois - and those (works) which arc like to these). Of the which I tell

you before, as I have also told you in time past ( προλέγω ὑμῖν καθὼςha prolego

humin kathos - [Receptus, καθὼς καὶ] προεῖπον – kathos kai proeipon) of the which

I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you. The construction of the accusative

(which) is precisely similar to that of ὅν – hon – whom in John 8:54, Ὅν ὑμεῖς

λέγετε ὅτι Θεὸς ὑμῶν ἐστι – Hon humeis legete hoti Theos humon esti – of whom

ye say that He is your God. The πρὸ in προλέγω (I am forewarning, I am predicting),

as also in the προεῖπον (I forewarned; I predicted) which follows, has reference to

the time when it shall actually be proved who are to enter into the kingdom of God.

"As I did forewarn you;" this previous warning was probably given at his very first

 preaching of the gospel to them he would no doubt at once speak plainly to people,

very commonly sunk in vice and excess, of the awards of the "judgment to come."

That they which do such things (ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες - hoti hoi ta toiauta

prassontes - that they which practice such things. The present tense of πράσσοντες

(committing) is more suitable than the aorist, as being the language of warning with

reference to future conduct (compare Romans 2:2-3, 7-10). Shall not inherit the

kingdom of God (βασιλείαν Θεοῦ οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν -  basileian Theou ou

klaeronomaesousi). The apostle uses the same words in writing to the Corinthians

with reference to the sins to which they were the most prone (I Corinthians 6:9-10).

So:

 

  •  Ephesians 5:5, "No fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, which

       is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God."

 

This "kingdom" is also referred to in:

 

       kingdom and glory" ("His own!" Astonishing prospect!);

      for which ye also suffer;"

 

The like designation of the future felicity is given by St. Peter:

 

  • II Peter 1:11, "entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour

      Jesus Christ,"

  • James 2:5, "heirs of the kingdom which He [God] promised to them that

      love Him."

 

It is derived from our Lord's own teaching:

 

  • Matthew 25:34, "Inherit the kingdom prepared for you;"
  • Luke 12:32, "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

 

It is the manifestation and consummation of "that kingdom of heaven," or

"kingdom of God," heralded by Christ and His forerunner as "at hand," which

the Prophet Daniel had pointed forward to (Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14, 18). Bondage

to "the flesh" in this life is constantly declared throughout the New Testament

to form AN INSUPERABLE BAR to an entrance into that exalted state. And

what is the alternative prospect? This the Apostle Paul does not here specify,

though elsewhere he does so with awful emphasis; as "indignation and wrath."

(Romans 2:8.)

 

vs. 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.

 

Classification of the works of the flesh.  The picture here exhibited by the

apostle is a FRIGHTFUL ABYSS into which he asks us to look down. We

have sin in its many varieties pictured in many parts of Scripture (Romans

1:18-32; 2 Corinthians 13:2), but here we have a most complete account of the

works of the flesh.  Cited are the desires of the flesh with samples of vices,

whether in  outward conduct or in inward feeling, in which the working of the

flesh is apparent.  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest”they are the

outcome of an evil nature and are incompatible with the influence of the

Spirit of God!  In Romans 13:12 and Ephesians 5:13 they are styled “works

of darkness”

 

  • The Works of the Flesh.  The flesh and the body are not

            synonymous. The apostle usually speaks of the body in terms of respect -

            unlike ascetics, who regard it as an enemy, load it with abusive epithets,

            and try to weaken it with fasts and vigils and penances. He always

            depreciates and condemns the flesh as a constantly evil tendency in our

            actual nature. There are sins in this catalogue of an intellectual nature,

            which cannot be properly ascribed to the body, though they are true works

            of the flesh. The flesh represents, then, the whole system of corrupt nature,

            as it breaks forth into seventeen different forms of transgression. They

            fall naturally under four heads.

 

ü      Sins of sensual passion.  “Adultery, Fornication, (pornei>a,  -

       por-ni’-ah; from (porneu>w); harlotry (including adultery and

      incest); figurative idolatry: — fornication) uncleanness,

      lasciviousness:” – (collectively – offenses against chastity – sins

      against which the church has had to contend with in all ages and

      in all countries) – the goings forth of the soul after things which

      it is wrong to pursue - the first hardly reckoned a sin in pagan

      countries; the second including unnatural sins, which had a fearful           

      import in the East; the third, the impure propensity indulged without

      check of reason or shame. All three are grouped together elsewhere

      (2 Corinthians 12:21).

 

ü      Sins of superstition. “Idolatry, witchcraft” -(farmakei>a, -

      far-mak-i’-ah; from (farmakeu>v); medication (“pharmacy” –

      to use drugs), i.e. (by extension) magic (literal or figurative): -

      sorcery, witchcraft. (sins of irreligion) the first referring to the

      worship of false gods and of images, which was familiar to the

      Galatians in connection with idol-feasts; the second to the occult

      dealings with the world of spirits, so common in Asia Minor.

 

ü      Sins of social disorder. “Hatred, strife, envy, outbursts of anger,

                        cavillings, divisions, factions, envyings, murders.” This third group,

                        to which belongs also the envyings (fqo>noi), together with the

                        probably not genuine murders (fo>noi) of the next verse, is bound

                        together by the common characteristic of malignity. This vice of

                        our nature, so inveterate in our fallen state - the antithesis to the love                                  

                        which is the essence of goodness - is, strangely enough, most readily

                        stimulated into rancor by differences in religion. As at this very same

                        time at Corinth, so here in Galatia likewise, the “flesh” displayed its                                  

                        malignity in“jealousy, strife, and divisions (zh~lov kai< e]riv kai<                                    

                        dicosta~si>ai),” originating from this cause (1 Corinthians 3:3).                                          

                        “Emnities;” manifestations of aversion openly displaying itself.

                        “Strife;” the outward mutual conflict of persons animated with such                                 

                        sentiments. It has been remarked that there is a climax in this catalogue

                        of nine evils, for what begins in hatred ends in murder, after it has

                        passed through a whole succession of disturbing and distracting                                         

                        experiences. They are all violations of brotherly love, representing the                                

                        selfish, unyielding, bitter spirit, which too often enters into reactionary                              

                        agitations both in Church and state.  (heresies - ai[resiv, -

                        hah’ee-res-is; from (aiJre>omai); properly a choice, i.e. (special)

                        a party or (abstract) disunion: — heresy [which is the Greek word itself],                             

                         Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words has this:

                        The Greek word denotes - a choosing, a choice - then that which is                               

                        chosen and hence an opinion, especially a self- willed opinion, which

                        is substituted for submission to the truth and leads to division and                                

                        formation of sects.  (I think it most interesting and informative that in

                        the so called modern contemporary world that HERESY = CHOICE –

                        and the significance of the willfulness of PRO-CHOICE – that it

                        is apparent that they can turn into political planks on which

                        some dare to run in defiance of scripture – [compare II Peter 2:1-3] –                             

                        see Galatians Charles Haddon Spurgeon – The Greatest Fight in

                        the World – this web site -  also the sermon A Call to Godly Living

                         by Charles Stanley aired on TV June 20, 2009   - I recommend both –

                        Spurgeon’s work is only four pages – Dr. Stanley’s message

                        probably 45 minutes  - BOTH WILL EXPLAIN A LOT ABOUT

                        HERESIES - CY – 2009)   It is clear, from Galatians 1:6-9, that the                                  

                        apostle regarded the “gospel” which had been delivered to the world

                        (Jude 1:3) by himself and his fellow-apostles, as being a revelation

                        so certain and authoritative that any teacher introducing

                        doctrine seriously infringing upon its substantial import would                          

                        subject himself to the extreme malediction of God. The whole

                        tenor of this Epistle shows that its author considered the Churches of                                

                        Galatia as at this very time in danger of either producing from their

                        own bosom, or else admitting from the teaching of others, doctrine

                        which would be thus fatally subversive of the truth. Was it not, then,                                 

                        extremely probable that, when here enumerating, with an especial

                        eye to the case of the Churches he was addressing, “the works of the                               

                        flesh,” which would cut off those who gave themselves up to their                                                

                        practice from the inheritance of the kingdom of God, he would specify

                        this particular “work” of propounding, or embracing when propounded

                        by others, doctrine which should vitally deprave the truth which

                        God had revealed? Any doctrine which thus tampered with the

                        gospel  would, of course, be a ai[resiv views of men’s own

                        devising and “choosing.  Peter calls this “willingly…ignorant”

                        (II  Peter 3:5)  Paul has in view the hateful phenomena, of

                        man-conceived dogmas taking the place of God’s gospel - dogmas

                        so alien to the gospel that adherents to them would be marked

                        among Christians as forming “sects, which in their spiritual genesis

                        were apart from the Church and incapable of being amalgamated with

                        it. For the Church is the product of the truth, “the Word of God”

                        (1 Peter 1:23-25; James 1:18); whilst these “sects” are products of

                        merely human notions or even of “doctrines of devils” – [ala –

                        Freudism, Marxism, Darwinism, Hedonism, Naturalism, etc –

                        CY – 2009] (1 Timothy 4:1; Colossians 2:8).  The man

                        who forsakes the teaching of Christ, given through his accredited                                 

                        organs, to follow a ai[resiv, knows that he does so; knows that he

                        is no longer “holding the Head” (Colossians 2:19), but is following

                        a mere “tradition of men”.   It is a relinquishment, a conscious

                        relinquishment of the teaching of Christ, a breaking off from

                        “the Head.”

 

ü      Individual excesses.Drunkenness, revellings” having exclusive

      relation to ourselves, not to others. The two terms refer to scenes of

                        gay and wanton dissipation.  “shall not inherit the kingdom of God                              

                        Bondage to “the flesh” in this life is constantly declared throughout the                            

                        New Testament to form an insuperable bar to an entrance into that

                        exalted state.  God’s offers being “Inherit the kingdom prepared

                        for you from the foundation of the world(Matthew 25:34) and

                        “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”

                        (Luke 12:32)

 

  • The Works of the Flesh have an Overt Character - They are “manifest.”

      The flesh, as the sinful principle, breaks out into open acts of transgression,

      which are manifest alike to God and man, manifest by the light of nature and

      by the Law of God. We see the history of the flesh in the whole record of

      man’s moral degradation and his resulting misery. These seventeen sins

      may not all be equally manifest, for some are gross and others more refined;

      they may not all be equally heinous in the sight either of God or of man; and         

      many of them, hateful in God’s sight, carry no brand of social reprobation with     

      man. Yet they are all manifest, open, tangible proofs of a life at enmity with

      God.

 

  • The Apostolic Warning. “They who practice such things shall not inherit

      the kingdom of God.”

     

ü      The Kingdom of God, Founded by Christ, is a Holy Kingdom.  It

      consists of those who have entered it by regeneration, who are led by the

      Spirit, who are heirs of the promise, who are “made meet for the   

      inheritance of the saints in light.”  (Colossians 1:12)

 

ü      Transgressors find no enjoyment in it.  It has no attraction for

      them; for these works of the flesh are altogether inconsistent with

      the character of the kingdom of God.

 

  • The Necessity that Exists for Repeated Warnings Against Sin.

             “I tell you before, as I have already told you in time past.”

            We need “line upon line, precept upon precept,”  (Isaiah 28:10-13)

            to deepen the impression of the hatefulness of sin. It is well to convince

            sinners of their individual sins, that they may be shut up to fly to

            the Refuge, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, the

            Hope of Glory!

 

22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,

goodness, faith,”  But the fruit of the Spirit (ὁ δὲ καρπὸς τοῦ Πνεύματος

ho de karpos tou Pneumatos). As it was with a hortatory purpose, to warn, that the

apostle has before enumerated the vices into which the Galatian Christians would

be most in danger of falling, so now with an answering hortatory purpose, to point

out the direction in which their endeavors should lie, he reckons up the dispositions

and states of mind which IT WAS THE OFFICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO

PRODUCE IN THEM!   In the Epistle to the Colossians (Colossians 3:12-15),

written several years after, most of the features here specified reappear in the form

of direct exhortation ("kindness, meekness, long-suffering, love, peace,

thankfulness") - "joy" being there implicitly represented by thankfulness.

The word fruit here takes the place of "works" in v. 19, as being a more suitable

designation of what are rather states of mind or habits of feeling than concrete

actions like most of those previously enumerated "works." The word "fruit,"

moreover, describing in the vegetable world a matured product, is very commonly

used in the New Testament with reference to such product as is not only of a

pleasant but also of a useful kind; thus "fruits meet for repentance;"

 

 

so that it was no doubt introduced here, as also in Ephesians 5:9, with the intended

suggestion, that the graces here specified are results answering to the design of the

great Giver of the Spirit's influences, and are in their own nature wholesome and

grateful. The singular number of the noun is employed in preference to the plural,

which is found e.g. Philippians 1:11 and James 3:17, in consequence probably of

the feeling which the apostle had that the combination of graces described is in its

entirety the proper outcome in each individual of the Spirit's agency; the character

which he will fain evolve in every soul subject to his dominion, comprises all these

features; so that the absence of any one mars in a degree the perfection of the

product. The relation expressed by the genitive case of the noun, "of the Spirit,"

is probably much the same as is expressed by the corresponding genitive, "of the

flesh;" in each case meaning "belonging to," or "due to the operation of;" for the

agent who in the one case does the works is not the flesh, but the person acting

under the influence of the flesh; so here, the fruit-bearer is not "the Spirit,"

but the person controlled by the Spirit. Compare Romans 7:4, "that we might

bring forth fruit unto God;" John 15:8, "that ye bear much fruit." These fruits

do not appear upon us without strenuous endeavor on our own part. Accordingly

the apostle exhorts the Philippians (Philippians 2:12-13) to work out their own

salvation with fear and trembling, because they have so august a co-Agent working

with and in them. Indeed, it is for the very purpose of prompting and directing such

endeavor that this list of gracious fruits is here given (compare v. 25). The enumeration

does not expressly mention such dispositions of mind as have God for their object.

These, however, may be discerned as lying couched under the three first named,

"love, joy, peace," and possibly under "faith;" certainly joy and peace are the proper

products of our hearty acceptance of the gospel, and of that alone; they presuppose

the establishment of a conscious state of reconciliation with God. But just here the

apostle seems more especially concerned to show how blessed, under the Spirit's

guidance, the Christian's state will be, and in what manner Christians as thus led

will act towards one another (compare vs. 15 and 26). The Christian life is habitually

regarded by the apostle much more as a corporate, fellow-Christian, life, than, owing

to various causes, some of which we may hope are now in course of removal, we

modern Christians, and especially English Church, men, are in the habit of regarding

it. Is love (ἔστιν ἀγάπη – estin agapae). We cannot separate this branch of Christian

character from those which follow, as in essence distinct from them; it is organically

connected with them, and in fact, as stated above (v. 14), involves them all, being

"the bond of perfectness" (Colossians 3:14). in the "dithyramb (a wild choral hymn

of ancient Greece, especially one dedicated to Dionysus) of love," chanted in

I Corinthians 13, the apostle triumphantly proclaims this truth; as also on the other

had in I Timothy 1:5 he affirms that true Christian love has its root in "a pure heart,

a good conscience, and genuine faith." The soul cannot be free for the activity of

genuine love, towards fellow-believers and towards fellow-creatures in general,

as long as it is restrained in its emotions toward the supreme common Father of all;

the inward vice of mind, whatever it may be, which darkens the spirit towards

heaven must inevitably cramp and benumb benevolent action universally

(compare I John 5:2). In truth, ἀγάπη means a loving temper of mind which, like

the love which God bears towards us, is in a degree irrespective of merit, welling

forth towards all being, so far as circumstances permit; though with greatest

intensity towards God and those in whom it can recognize the image of God.

Hence St. John is able to reason as he does in I John 4:20, "He that loveth not

his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen."

Joy (χαρά - chara). It is impossible to accept Calvin's notion, that this means a

cheerful carriage towards fellow-Christians, though it includes it; it must mean

the glad-heartedness produced by entire faith in God's love to us (compare

Romans 14:17; 15:13). The exhortation which is here implied, that such sentiments

should be carefully cherished, is elsewhere given explicitly and with reiteration;

as e.g. I Thessalonians 5:16; Philippians 4:4. There is thus much ground for Calvin's

view, that the inward feeling of satisfaction and joy, which is the proper fruit of a

true Christian's faith in the gospel, cannot fail to manifest itself in his behavior

towards his fellow-men by a sacred species of light-heartedness and hilarity

which it is impossible for us to manifest or to feel, as long as we have within

a consciousness of estrangement from God, or a suspicion that THINGS ARE

NOT WELL WITH US IN OUR RELATION WITH HIM!  It is probable that the

apostle, in writing down this word, did it with a consciousness of the contrast

which is presented by the coldness and severity of feeling towards others which

are begotten by the bondage of legality (comppare I Peter 1:22). Peace (εἰρήνη –

eiraenae), This is conjoined with "joy" in the two passages of the Romans just

before cited (Romans 14:17): "The kingdom of God [i.e. its great blessedness]

is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit;"

(ibid. v.13), "The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye

may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit;" in both which passages the

"peace" referred to is the serenity of soul arising from the consciousness of being

brought home to the favor of God and to obedience to His will. On the other hand,

the term as here introduced seems likewise intended to stand in contrast with those

sins of strife and malignity noted before among the works of the flesh, and therefore

to point to peacefulness in the Christian community. The two are vitally connected:

the Spirit produces peaceful harmony among Christians by producing in their

minds, individually, a peaceful sense of harmony with God and a compliancy

in all things with His providential appointments. This resigned trustfulness

towards God quells at their very fountain-head those disturbances of passion and

that inward fretting and impatience in reference to outward things, including

the behavior of others, which are the main causes of strife. The interdependence

between inward and outward peace is indicated in II Corinthians 13:11; Colossians

3:14-15. If "the peace of God rules, is arbitrator (βραβεύει – brabeuei – let her be

arbitrating; umpiring), in our hearts" individually, if it "holds guard over our hearts

and our thoughts" (Philippians 4:7), it cannot fail to produce and maintain harmony

amongst us towards one another. Long-suffering, gentleness, goodness (μακροθυμία

χρηστότης ἀγαθωσύνη – makrothumia, chraestotaes, agathosunae - long-sufferng,

kindness, goodness). These are actings of the all-comprising grace of "love."

For the two first, compare I Corinthians 13:4, "Love suffereth long, is kind

(μακροθυμεῖ χρηστεύεταιmakrothumei chraesteuetai – is far feeling; is

being patient; is being kind );" while the third, "goodness," sums up the other actings

of love enumerated in vs. 5 and 6 of the same chapter. It is difficult to distinguish

between χρηστότηςchraestotaes - kindness and ἀγαθωσύνη – agathosunae –

goodness, except so far as that the former, which etymologically means "usableness,"

seems to signify more distinctly "sweetness of disposition," "amiability," "a compliant

willingness to be serviceable to others." It is, however, repeatedly used by St. Paul

of God's benignity (Romans 2:4; 11:22; Ephesians 2:7; Titus 3:4), as ἀγαθωσύνης

agathosunaes -  of goodness also is by many thought to be in II Thessalonians 1:11,

which last point, however, is very questionable. This latter term, ἀγαθωσύνη, occurs

besides in Romans 15:14 and Ephesians 5:9, as a very wide description of human

goodness, apparently in the sense of active benevolence. Faith (πίστις – pistis –

faith or faithfulness. It is disputed in what precise shade of meaning the apostle here

uses this term. The sense of "fidelity," which beyond question it bears in Titus 2:10,

seems out of place, when we consider the particular evils which are now in his eye

as existing or in danger of arising in the Galatian Churches. Belief in the gospel suits

this requirement perfectly, and presents us with the apparently needed contrast to the

"heresies" of v. 20. If this sense seems not to be favored by the immediate

neighborhood on one side of "kindness" and "goodness," it is, however, quite

coherent with the "meekness" on the other, if we understand by this latter term

a tractable spirit, compliant to the teaching of the Divine Word; compare James 1:21,

"receive with meekness the implanted word," and Psalm 25:9, "The meek

[Septuagint, πρᾳεῖς - praeis] will He guide in judgment, the meek (πρᾳεῖς) will

He teach his way." In Matthew 23:23, "judgment, mercy, and faith," the term

seems (compare Micah 6:8) to refer to faith towards God. In I Timothy 6:11,

"righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness," there is no reason

for interpreting it otherwise than as faith in God and His gospel; and if so, its

collocation there with "love, patience, meekness," countenances us in taking it

so here, where it stands in a very similar collocation. Compare Ephesians 6:23,

"Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the

Lord Jesus Christ."

 

vs. 22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,

gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there

is no law.”

 

Here we have the picture of a lovely garden, with all the choicest growths

of the Spirit. 

 

  • The Nine Graces of the Spirit.  (The dispositions and states of

mind which the Holy Spirit produces in Christians – see Colossians

3:12-15) The apostle speaks of the nine as constituting the fruit of the Spirit,

as if to imply that it takes all  the nine to form the one fruit of the Holy Spirit.

(We are not to try to pick and choose – CY – 2009)  Christian character must

be fully and harmoniously developed.  Mark the difference between the works

of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. Sin is our work; the graces are the Spirit’s 

growth in us.  The word “fruit” here takes the place of “works” in

v. 19!  The nine graces naturally fall into three groups, each group consisting

of three -  the first group, “love, joy, peace,” touching our relations to God; the

second group, “long-suffering, gentleness, goodness,” touching our relations to

our fellow-men; the third group,“faith, meekness, temperance,” touching the

regulation and conduct of our own individual Christian life.  If we yield

ourselves to the Holy Spirit, our character should molded to exhibit these

graces and if any one is missing, it mars our character.

 

ü      First Group. “Love, joy, peace.” Love, joy and peace are the

proper products of our hearty acceptance of the gospel, and of that

alone; they presuppose the establishment of a conscious state of

reconciliation with God.  The Spirit also produces a peaceful

harmony among Christians by producing in their minds,

individually, a peaceful harmony with God. They all spring out of

the filial relation into which we are brought by faith in Christ. Love is

the tie that binds us to God as our Father; joy is the glad emotion that

springs up after our reconciliation with God; peace is the summer calm that

settles down upon the soul that has entered into its rest. Love has

been called the foundation of the fabric; joy, the superstructure; peace,

the crown of the work. Love has a primary place, for it is “shed abroad

in the heart by the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 5:5) Joy is dependent upon love,

and may well be called “joy of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17)

Peace is linked with joy “in believing.” (Romans 15:13)  Peace and

joy are the two ingredients of the kingdom of God.  (Romans 14:17).

It is “the peace to which we are called in one body”(Colossians 3:15),

which will keep our hearts and minds in the midst of all worldly agitations. 

 

ü      Second Group. “Long-suffering, gentleness, goodness.” The first

group blends naturally into the second, for there is a near relation

between peace and long-suffering. The graces of this group begin with

the passive and end with the active, for long-suffering is the patient

endurance of injuries inflicted by others; goodness is an active

principle, not a mere kindly disposition; while gentleness or kindness

is something between the two - a principle, however, which tends

largely to promote the usefulness and the comfort of life, lessening the

friction that enters more or less into all our intercourse with our

fellow-men.

 

ü      Third Group. Faith, meekness, temperance.”  “Meekness” - the

humble submissiveness to the teachings of Divine revelation, to which

this term probably points, stands in contrast with that self-reliant, headstrong

“heady, highminded” of the last days (II Timothy 3:4) impetuosity which in

the temperament of the Celt is apt to hurry him into the adoption of novel ideas

which tie has not taken the trouble seriously to weigh. It may, however, stand in

antithesis to self-reliant arrogance in general. Temperance (ἀγκράτεια

agkrateia  or, self-control. This stands opposed both to the “fornication,

uncleanness, lasciviousness’ and to the “drunkenness and revellings

“before mentioned. These three graces refer to the regulation of Christian life.

It is curious to find faith seventh, and not first, in this list of graces. Faith is

the root-principle of all graces. It goes before love itself, for it “worketh by

love,” and it precedes joy and peace, which both spring from our believing

(Romans 15:13). Faith is here regarded, not as the means of salvation or as

the instrument of our justification, but as the principle of Christian life,

which controls and guides it. Thus faith supplies the strength of self-control

that is implied in temperance, and is the secret spring of that meekness which

is an ornament of great price. (I Peter 3:4) Temperance comes last in the list

of graces, because self-control is the end of all Christian life. Like the governor

in machinery, it adds nothing to the power at work, but it equalizes the power

so as to produce a uniform type of work.

 

  • Mark the Special Privilege Attached to these Nine Graces.   Against such

      there is no Law.” There is Law against the seventeen works of the flesh - to

      condemn them; but there is no Law to condemn the nine graces of the Spirit.

      There is Law to restrain the sinner - it exists for the purposes of this restraint –

but in the graces of the Spirit there is nothing to restrain. They all chime in with

the requirements of the Law, because they radiate from that love which is the

very fulfilling of the Law. Thus those who are led by the Spirit are not under

Law.

 

23 “Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Meekness (πρᾳότης - praotaes). (On this, see last note.) The humble submissiveness

to the teachings of Divine revelation, to which this term probably points, stands in

contrast with that self-reliant, headstrong impetuosity which in the temperament of

the Celt is apt to hurry him into the adoption of novel ideas which he has not taken

the trouble seriously to weigh. It may, however, stand in antithesis to self-reliant

arrogance in general. Temperance (ἀγκράτειαagkrateia  or, self-control. This

stands opposed both to the "fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” and to the

"drunkenness and revelings" before mentioned. Against such there is no Law

(κατὰ τῶν τοιούτων οὐκ ἔστι νόμος – kata ton toiouton ouk esti nomos - against

such things as these the Law is not; or, there is no Law. As the apostle does not

write "against these things," it seems that he viewed the foregoing list of graces

as one of samples only and not as exhaustive; which fact is likewise indicated by

the absence of the copulative conjunction (compare Matthew 15:19); so that

κατὰ τῶν τοιούτων represents "and things the like to these; against which," etc.

If we render, with the Authorized Version, "there is no Law," we must suppose

still that the apostle means that the Law which all along he has been speaking of

is in particular "not against them." "Against;" as in ch. 3:21. The Law finds

nothing to condemn in these things, and therefore no ground for condemning

those who live in the practice of them; the same idea as is more explicitly brought

out in Romans 8:1-4. There is a tone of meiosis, of suppressed triumph in this

sentence. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's chosen ones?"

 

24 “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

And they that are Christ's (οἱ δὲ τοῦ Ξριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ [Receptus omits Ἰησοῦ]; - hoi de

tou Christou Iaesou - now they that are of the Christ Jesus. The expression, ὁ Ξριστὸς

Ἰησοῦς is not a common one. It occurs besides in Ephesians 3:1, τοῦ Ξριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ,

where, however, as indeed here, editors are not quite unanimous in retaining Ἱησοῦ:

and Colossians 2:6, τὸν Ξριστὸν Ἰησοῦν τὸν Κύριον – ton Christon Iaesoun ton Kurion –

. Ξριστὸς Ἰησοῦςthe Christ Jesus without the article is continually met with. The

presence of the article seems to betoken that the word "Christ" is introduced as an

official description rather than as a proper name, "the Christ Jesus" being thus

a phrase similar to "the Lord Jesus." Not being so familiar to us as this latter,

it appears at first more uncouth than it really is. To understand the precise force

of the conjunction δέ (yet), we must review the foregoing context. In vs. 16-17 the

apostle puts in contrast with each other, "walking by the Spirit" and "fulfilling

the desire of the flesh." In the three following verses (19-21) he points out what

kind of life the flesh prompts men to pursue, AND IT’S FATAL CONSEQUENCES

 in vs. 22-23 the character formed by the Spirit's influence, and its blessed immunity

from the censure of the Law. He is now concerned to show how these considerations

apply to Christians. A Christian (he says) by becoming such puts away the flesh; is

alive, therefore, if at all, by or to the Spirit; this being so, he must in all reason by

the Spirit's direction rule his conduct. It results from this review that the δὲ turns

the course of remark upon a new topic, namely, the essential character of a

Christian's profession as a premise to introduce the practical conclusion stated

in v. 25. The use of the possessive, "of the Christ Jesus," is similar to that in:

 

 

Compare also II Timothy 2:19; Titus 2:14, "a people for His own possession;"

Ephesians 1:14. We are made Christ's people, outwardly and in covenant but

we cannot be His very own, really and vitally (Romans 8:9), unless through faith

we recognize Him as our Lord and of our own free will and deed attach ourselves

heartily to his discipleship. In that hour of renunciation of sin we in truth "fasten

the flesh to the cross." Have crucified the flesh (τὴν σάρκα ἐσταύρωσαν – taen

sarka estaurosan – the flesh crucify). That is, have put it away from them, as a

thing to be abhorred, that it might die the death. These three several particulars

of thought appear combined in the mixed mode embodied in the word "crucified."

The verb, denoting simply affixing to the cross, and not putting to death by

crucifixion, intimates the lingering character of the death which the flesh was to

undergo. It was, indeed, put away at once, by a final decisive act of the will; but

it would still for a while continue to live. Viewed thus, the notion represented by

the image harmonizes with the statement in v. 17 of the continued conflict which

is being waged within us between the flesh and the Spirit. The time when the

Christian did thus affix the flesh to the cross is indicated by the form of expression,

of being "of Christ;" there can have been no time since he has been Christ's at

which this thing had not been already done. It is, alas, but too possible to take

the flesh still living down from the cross and clasp it afresh to our bosom; but

cherishing that as our friend, we are Christ's no longer. Above (ch. 2:20) the apostle

wrote, "I am hanging on the cross with Christ: but I live;" but with a different

application of the image. There he was thinking of the relation into which his union

with the crucified Jesus brought him with respect to the Mosaical Law. Here he has

in view the renunciation of sin which accompanies the addiction of ourselves to

Christ's service. There he himself is crucified; here, the flesh. The cross once more

recurs in ch. 6:9, with yet another reference. The description here given by the apostle

of Christian conversion tallies well with that given by him in Romans 6:3-11. There,

however, the change through which a man becomes a Christian is couched under a

different image - that of a death and resurrection, analogous to and founded upon

the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which, in baptism, administered according

to the original primitive mode, are represented by the immersion in and the emerging

from the water. While illustrating this image, the apostle further says (ibid. v. 6),

"Our old man was crucified with Him (συνεσταυρώθη – sunestaurothae – was

crucified together with Him), that the body of sin might be done away, that we

should no longer be in bondage to sin;" where the Greek word rendered "was

crucified with (Him)" again denotes being affixed to the cross, in sympathy with

Him "who was made sin for us," with the view of bringing to naught "the body

of sin "- which phrase, "body of sin," is nearly equivalent to "flesh," being the

sum total of the vicious activities in which the flesh manifests itself; this bringing

to naught or doing away (καταργηθῇkatargaethae – may be being nullified)

of the body of sin, being the result ultimately to follow from the crucifixion,

and not identical with it. In the passage in the Romans now referred to, the

apostle brings to view, not only the just now cited description of the negative side

of our regeneration, but also its positive side, of a passing into a new sphere of

activities "walking in newness of life," and "living unto God in Christ Jesus."

In our present passage the negative phrase is alone definitely stated. The difference

is probably due to the fact that the figure of crucifying the flesh supplies the

illustration of only the negative aspect; whereas baptism, with its watery burial

and resurrection, represents the positive aspect as well. With the affections and

lusts (σὺν τοῖς παθήμασι καὶ ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις – sun tois pathaemasi kai tais epithumiais –

together with the passions and lusts; with its affections and its lusts). The difference

between "affections" and "lusts" may be probably assumed to be this - that the

former denotes disordered states of the soul viewed as in a condition of disease,

well represented in the Authorized Version by "affections;" while the latter points

to the goings forth of the soul towards objects which it is wrong to pursue. In

Philippians 3:10; I Peter 1:11, and a number of other passages the noun παθήματα

pathaemata - means "sufferings." Only once besides is it used in an ethical sense;

in Romans 7:5 we read, "The παθήματα (passions) of sins which were through the

Law wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death;" and in vs. 7-8 the

apostle instances "coveting" (ἐπιθυμίαν – epithumian) as wrought by sin in his soul,

by occasion of the commandment, "Thou shalt not covet." We seem led to conjecture

that he meant that a sinful condition of the soul (πάθημα ἁμαρτίας) was by the

commandment stimulated into a mere aggressive action. We have πάθοςpathos –

affection in Colossians 3:5 and 1 Thessalonians 4:5, and the plural πάθηpathae –

affections in Romans 1:26; in each case of exorbitant sexual desire. But in the

apostle's use of παθήματα in its ethical sense we seem to have neither the notion

of extreme intensity nor the limitation to one particular class of desire, which are

both of them apparent in his use of πάθος. This clause, "with its affections and

its lusts," adds nothing to the substantial sense of "the flesh." The apostle seems

led to subjoin the words by a pathetic remembrance of the moral miseries

appertaining to "the flesh" - "those affections and those desires thereof which

are so hard to control, and which are at the same time SO FATAL TO OUR

WELFARE!

 

v. 24 – “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the

affections and lusts.”  This is the distinguishing feature of

Christianity!  It is manifest in the very nature of the case that a

Christian has crucified the flesh by virtue of his union with Christ.

Mark here:

 

  • The Most Characteristic Designation of Believers.   They that are

Christ’ s.” The expression implies:

 

ü      that they are Christ’s by purchase,

ü      Christ’s by deliverance

ü      Christ’s by possession,

ü      Christ’s by dominion.

 

They are not his merely by external profession. It is natural, therefore, that

they should manifest the fruit of  the Spirit.

 

  • The Most Characteristic Part of Christian Life.  “They crucified the

flesh with the affections and lusts.” This points to a past act, to their

conversion, in which, by virtue of their union with Christ, they were

baptized into his death (Romans 6:4). The believer is “crucified with Christ”

(Galatians 2:19), but here the flesh, with its seventeen categories of evil, is crucified

likewise: “Our old man has been crucified with Him”

(Romans 6:6). Thus the flesh is robbed of its supremacy. Thus unison with

Christ secures alike our salvation from the guilt and the power of sin. When Christ

ame in the flesh, we crucified Him; when He comes into our

hearts, he crucifies us.The flesh, with its passions and lusts, represents

 vice on its passive and active sides.

 

25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

If we live in the Spirit (εἰ ζῶμεν Πνεύματιei zomen Pneumati -  if we live by, or to,

the Spirit. Exact critics have commonly recognized the difficulty of precisely

determining either the sense in which the dative case of Πνεύματι (Spirit), is used,

or the meaning of the verb "live." This verb is here distinguished from the verb of

the next clause (στοιχῶμεν – stoichomen – walk) in much the same way as it is

distinguished from the verb "walk" (περιεπατήσατέ  – periepataesate) in

Colossians 3:7, "In the which ye also walked aforetime when ye lived in these

 things." In both passages it denotes the moral sphere of existence in which it is

our ruling choice to live. In Colossians 3:7 the apostle says that their chosen

sphere of existence was once worldliness and vice; and, when it was so, then

\they had followed in detail those different forms of degrading sin which he

has specified in ibid. v. 5. The verb "live" is used in the same sense of the general

setting of our moral habits viewed as a whole:

 

  • "If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though

living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances, Handle not, etc.?"

(Colossians 2:20).

  • "We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?" (Romans 6:2),
  • "If ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye make to die

the deeds of the body, ye shall live;"  (Romans 8:13),

 

in which last passage the changed sense of the verb in the second sentence is

noticeable. In the passage before us, the "we" of the verb ζῶμεν (we may be living) 

are of course the same persons as are recited by the phrase, "they who are of the

Christ," in v. 24. These persons have fastened the flesh to the cross; by a final,

professedly irrevocable resolve, they have renounced sin. The purpose that was

the proper, necessary concomitant of this, was to make the domain of the Spirit

thenceforward their sphere of existence; their life was now to be in the Spirit;

as the apostle writes (Romans 8:9)," Ye are not in (ἐν) the flesh, but in (ἐν) the Spirit,

if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you;" for in this last passage the phrase,

"in the Spirit," is contrasted with "in the flesh," each denoting the sphere of

moral habits; in which sense "the flesh" is often used, as well as at other times

of the vitiated nature itself, the indulgence in which characterizes that sphere.

So probably "according, to the Spirit of holiness, in contrast to according to

the flesh," in Romans 1:3-4. Now, as in Romans 8:9 the apostle uses the word

"Spirit" in two senses, first of the sphere of moral habits determined by the Spirit's

influence, and then of the Holy Spirit itself, so he would appear to do here. In respect

to the relation expressed by the dative case, although the ἐν (in) of Romans 8:9 is here

wanting, it admits of being taken of the sphere of being in which Christians as such

live; for so we find the dative used in I Peter 3:18, "put to death (σαρκί) in the flesh,

but quickened (Πνεύματὶ) in the Spirit," as also the dative σαρκὶ is constructed in

ch. 4:1 of the same Epistle. The relation expressed by the case, however, may be

that which it denotes in Romans 6:2, 10, "die unto(ἁμαρτίᾳ) sin;" "dead unto sin,

alive unto God;" (ibid. v.11),   Romans 14:6, "live unto the Lord, die unto the Lord;"

II Corinthians 5:15, "live unto Him that died for them:" thus Bishop Lightfoot takes

it. The "if" is logical rather than conditional; they who are Christ's have no life but

in the Spirit, and are thus bound in the details of their conduct to act accordingly.

Let us also walk in the Spirit (Πνεύματι καὶ στοιχῶμεν – Pneumati kai stoichomen -

by (or, unto) the Spirit let us also walk. The dative is here most naturally understood

of the rule according to which we should walk. If the relation intended by the dative

in the preceding clause is expressed by "to," it might be most convenient to render

it similarly here; but even so, it must mean with reference to the Spirit as our rule

and guide. The verb στοιχεῖν, "to move in a (στοῖχος ι.ε. ) line or row with others"

is no doubt chosen in place of περιπατεῖν, the more usual word for "walk," as

denoting an orderly, well-regulated way of behavior. This tinge of meaning is

discernible in the other instances of its use in the New Testament, as ch. 6:16;

Romans 4:12; Philippians 3:16.

v. 25 - If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

 

  • The consistency of the Christian life.  If the flesh has thus been crucified,

we live by the efficacy of the Spirit.  “Crucified:… nevertheless I live”

(Galatians 2:20). “We who die to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?

(Romans 6:2) – also in Romans 8:13, “If ye live after the flesh, ye must die;

but if by the Spirit ye make to die the deeds of the body, ye shall live;

 

 

ü      Our Christian Life is by the Spirit - “If we live by the Spirit.”

This life consists in the knowledge of God, in His love, in His

favor, in His image.

 

Ø      It is originated by the Holy Spirit. We are d