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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Galatians 5

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

V.

(1) Stand fast therefore.—The external evidence is very strong in favour of a different reading: With (or, perhaps, For) liberty did Christ make us free. Stand fast, then, and be not entangled, &c. There seems to be no sufficient reason why this should not be adopted.

In the liberty.—The best grammarians seem agreed to take this rather in the sense, for liberty; otherwise it would be tempting to explain it as an instance of the Hebraising construction which we find in John 3:29 : “Rejoice with joy” (Authorised version “rejoice greatly”). It would then mean: “with a system, or state, of freedom Christ freed us;” in other words: “placed us in a state of freedom, so that we are free.”

The yoke of bondage—i.e., the Judaising restraints and restrictions.


Verse 2

(2) Behold, I Paul.—The strong personality of the Apostle asserts itself; instead of going into an elaborate proof, he speaks with dogmatic authority, as though his bare word were enough.

Shall profit you nothing.—”Profit,” i.e., in the way of justification, as producing that state of righteousness in the sight of God by virtue of which the believer is released from wrath and received into the divine favour. The Apostle says that if this state of justification is sought through circumcision, it cannot be sought through Christ at the same time.


Verses 2-6

(2-6) There can be no compromise between Christianity and Judaism. If you accept the one you must give up the other. Circumcision is a pledge or engagement to live by the rule of the Law. That rule must be taken as a whole. You are committed to the practice of the whole Law, and in that way alone you must seek for justification. Our position is something quite different. We hope to be admitted into a state of righteousness through the action of the Spirit on God’s side, and through faith on our own. The Christian owes the righteousness attributed to him, not to circumcision, but to a life of which faith is the motive and love the law.

The whole tenor of the Epistle shows that the Apostle viewed the attempts of the Judaising party with indignation; and at this point his language takes a more than usually stern and imperative tone. He speaks with the full weight of his apostolic authority, and warns the Galatians that no half-measures will avail, but that they must decide, once for all, either to give up Judaism or Christ.

This is one of the passages which have been insisted on as proving a direct antagonism between St. Paul and the other Apostles; but any one who enters into the thought of the Apostle, and follows the course of his impassioned reasoning, will see how unnecessary any such assumption is. Nothing is more in accordance with human nature than that the same man should at one time agree to the amicable compromise of Acts 15, and at another, some years later, with the field all to himself, and only his own converts to deal with, should allow freer scope to his own convictions. He is speaking with feelings highly roused, and with less regard to considerations of policy. Besides, the march of events had been rapid, and the principles of policy themselves would naturally change.


Verse 3

(3) For I testify again.—Translate rather, Nay, I protest again, introducing a further argument. He who allows himself to be circumcised thereby commits himself wholly to the Law, just as, it might be said, he who is baptised commits himself wholly to Christ. The act of circumcision placed a man under the legal system, just as the act of baptism placed him under the Christian system. From that time forward he could not choose one part and refuse another, but was bound alike by all.

He is a debtor.—He is under an obligation.


Verse 4

(4) Christ is become of no effect unto you.—Literally, Ye were (or, more idiomatically, are) abolished, made nothing, from Christ; a condensed form of expression for, Ye are made nothing (unchristianised), and cut off from Christ. Your relations to Christ are cancelled, and you are Christians no longer.

Are justified.—Strictly, seek to be justified.

Ye are fallen from grace.—The Christian is justified by an act of grace, or free, unearned favour, on the part of God. He who seeks for justification in any other way loses this grace. Grace is not here a state or disposition in the believer, but a divine act or relation.


Verse 5

(5) Through the Spirit.—Through the operation of the Spirit. It is the Spirit which makes faith effectual and righteousness real. The righteousness which comes by the Law is entirely human or “carnal,” the product of a man’s own efforts. The righteousness which is by faith is the gift of God, and that gift is communicated through the Spirit.

Wait for.—The Greek word means “to wait earnestly or eagerly,” as in Romans 8:19; Romans 8:23; Romans 8:25, et seq.

The hope of righteousness.—The righteousness which is the object of our hopes; the hoped-for, promised righteousness. More often the Apostle speaks of the state of righteousness as conferred upon the Christian at his baptism. This is, however, only a sort of ideal or potential righteousness; it is a state inherent in that kingdom of which the Christian then becomes a member, not a state inherent in the Christian himself. This ideal or potential righteousness becomes real and actual only at the end of the Christian’s career, when it is finally confirmed to him. Looking forward to this point, it is an object of hope.


Verse 6

(6) In Jesus Christ.—When the Christian has entered into those close relations with Christ which his Christianity assumes.

Availeth any thing.—As “shall profit” in Galatians 5:2; avail in the way of justification.

Faith which worketh by love.—Faith in Christ, the devoted attachment to Christ, is the great motive power, the source or mainspring of action; and the law by which that action is regulated is the law of love. (Comp. Galatians 5:13-14 below, and Romans 13:8-10.) Faith makes a man seek to do the will of Christ; love tells him what that will is. It is clear that the faith thus described by St. Paul does not stop short in a mere head notion, and so is in no conflict with the teaching of St. James. (See James 2:14-26.)


Verse 7

(7) Ye did run well.—Again, as in Galatians 2:2, a metaphor from foot racing. The Galatians had made a good start, but suddenly changed their course.

Who did hinder you?—The metaphor here is not quite the same, but is somewhat akin to that just used. The original meaning of the word translated “hinder” is to “break up a road,” as an army before the advance of hostile forces.

The truth—i.e., the doctrine taught by St. Paul in opposition to the Judaising tenets which had been introduced into the Galatian Church.


Verses 7-12

(7-12) All was going well at first. What sudden intruder has stopped your path and led you astray? Certainly it is not God, to whom you owe your calling, that has persuaded you to such a course. You tell me that not many have fallen away. But those few are enough to infect the whole. Not that I wish to implicate all in the sin of some. Most of you I can trust to be true to me. The author of your troubles, whoever he is, shall not escape. God shall judge him. Do you turn round on me and say that I, too, have preached circumcision? The persecutions that I have to undergo from the Jews are proof that I preach it no longer. If I do preach circumcision then the other stumbling-blocks in the way of my teaching are removed. I have no need to lay stress upon a crucified Messiah. The advocates of circumcision may carry their self-mutilation a step further if they please.

This section is very abrupt in style. The thought bounds from subject to subject, not stopping to insert links of connection. At the end of the passage there is a vein of severe irony.


Verse 8

(8) This persuasion . . .—He who calls the Galatians is here, as elsewhere, God; and certainly, the Apostle says, it can have been by no intimation or guidance from Him that they were led to accept such perverted teaching.


Verse 9

(9) A little leaven . . .—A pregnant expression, which leaves a good deal to the reader to supply. The proverb is true which says that a little leaven leavens the whole mass of dough. And so, in your case, the malcontents may be few, but they will soon ruin the whole Church. It seems decidedly more in accordance with the context to take the “little leaven” as referring rather to a few seceders than to a little bad doctrine.


Verse 10

(10) I have confidence in you through the Lord.—Literally, I have confidence wish regard to you in the Lord—i.e., such confidence as a Christian teacher ought to have in Christian scholars. This has reference to the main body of the Church; an exception is immediately made as to the disaffected party, and especially their leader.

That ye will be none otherwise minded—i.e., no otherwise than I would have you be.

Shall bear his judgment.—“Judgment” is here not equivalent to “condemnation.” He shall be “put upon his trial,” “shall bear the sentence that shall be passed on him”—viz., by God.

Whosoever he be.—The Apostle does not fix upon any one particular person as the cause of the troubles in the Galatian Church, but he says that, whoever he may be, God will judge him.


Verse 11

(11)And I, brethren.—Rather, But I, brethren. Another abrupt transition. We should naturally infer from this passage that St. Paul had at one time seemed to preach, or at least to permit, circumcision. Thus, in the Acts, we should gather, from the account of the conference at Jerusalem in Acts 15, that he did not insist strongly upon this point, and on taking Timothy with him upon his second missionary journey—the very journey in which he first visited Galatia—his first step was to have him circumcised. It was only natural that the progress of time and of events should deepen the Apostle’s conviction of the radical antagonism between the ceremonial Judaism and Christianity. This he is now stating in the most emphatic manner, and he feels that he is open to a charge of something like inconsistency. The Galatians might say that he preached circumcision himself. His answer is, that if he really preached circumcision he would not be so persecuted by the Judaising party. And he has also a further answer, which is conveyed in an ironical form: “If I do preach circumcision, and if I have ceased to lay stress on that one great stumbling-block, the cross of Christ, I may assume that there are no more hindrances in the way of my teaching.” Circumcision is taken as occupying, in the Judaising system, the same place that the cross of Christ occupied in that of St. Paul. The two things are alternatives. If one is taught there is no need for the other.

Ceased.—Done away; the same word as that which is translated “become of no effect” in Galatians 5:4.


Verse 12

(12) I would they were even cut off.—The Authorised version is undoubtedly wrong here. The words may mean “cut themselves off,” i.e., from your communion, but it seems far best to take the words, with all the ancient Greek interpreters and a large majority of modern commentators, including Dr. Lightfoot and Bishop Wordsworth, as referring to an extension of the rite of circumcision, such as the Galatians might see frequently practised by the priests of Cybele, whose worship had one of its most imporant centres in their country—I would they would even make themselves eunuchs. Let them carry their self-mutilation still further, and not stop at circumcision.

The expression is in several ways surprising as coming from St. Paul. We should remember, in some mitigation of it, the fact just alluded to, that the Galatians were themselves familiar with this particular form of self-mutilation; and familiar with it, no doubt, in discourse as well as in act. Christianity, while it has had the effect of putting a stop to such horrible practices, has also banished them even from thought and word. It is less, perhaps, a matter of wonder that we should have to appeal to the difference in standard between the Apostle’s times and our own, than that we have to appeal to it so seldom. Still, at the best, words like these must be allowed to come some way short of the “meekness and gentleness of Christ.” We may compare with them, as well for the particular expression as for the general vehemence of language, Philippians 3:2 : “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of concision” (with a play on “circumcision”). The Apostle himself would have been the last to claim that he had “already attained, either were already perfect.” A highly nervous and excitable constitution such as his, shattered by bodily hardships and mental strain, could not but at times impair his power of self-control. It is to be noticed, however, that his indignation, if it sometimes carries him somewhat too far, is always roused in a worthy cause. Such momentary ebullitions as these are among the very few flaws in a truly noble and generous character, and are themselves in great part due to the ardour which makes it so noble.

Which trouble you.—A different word from that which is similarly translated in Galatians 5:10. Its meaning is stronger: “to uproot and overthrow.”


Verse 13

(13) For.—This connecting particle supplies the reason for the Apostle’s severe treatment of the Judaisers.

An occasion to the flesh.—Do not, under the name “liberty,” give way to sensual excesses. This was the especial danger of the Gentile churches, such as Corinth, from which, as we have seen, the Apostle may have been writing. Galatia, too, was a Gentile church; and though it was for the present subject rather to Judaising influences, the character of the people was fickle, and St. Paul may have thought it well to hint a caution in this direction.

Serve.—There is a stress upon this word. The Apostle had been dissuading the Galatians from submitting to other forms of servitude. This one he will permit them.


Verses 13-15

(13-15) The Judaisers would deserve such a fate; for they are undoing the whole object with which you were called. You were called, not to legal bondage, but to freedom. This caution only is needed: Do not make freedom a pretext for self-indulgence. One servitude you may submit to—the service of love. So doing, you will fulfil the Law without being legalists. He who loves his neighbour as himself will need no other rule. On the other hand, dissensions will be fatal, not to one party only, but to all who take part in them.


Verse 14

(14) This verse is another of the marked points of contact between this Epistle and that to the Romans. The theme of it is worked out at length in Romans 13:8-10.

Thy neighbour.—In the original command this appears to mean “thy fellow Israelite.” Our Lord, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, had given it a wider signification, and in the same wider sense it is used here.


Verse 16

(16) Walk.—Conduct yourselves: a metaphor very common in the writings of St. Paul, but not peculiar to them. It occurs three times in the Gospels, once in the Acts, thirty-three times in St. Paul’s Epistles, once in the Hebrews, ten times in the Epistles of St. John, and once in the Apocalypse.

In the Spirit.—Rather, by the Spirit—i.e. by the rule of the Spirit, as the Spirit directs. “The Spirit” is here undoubtedly the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of God, not the spirit in man.


Verses 16-26

(16-26) To follow the guidance of the Spirit is to obtain a double release: on the one hand, from the evil appetites and passions of the flesh or of sense—which is the direct antithesis to the Spirit—and on the other hand, from the dominion of the Law. It is easy to tell which has the upper hand—the flesh or the Spirit. The flesh is known by a long catalogue of sins, the Spirit by a like catalogue of Christian graces, the mere mention of which is enough to show that the Law has no power over them. Those who belong to Christ have got rid of the flesh, with all its impulses, by their union with a crucified Saviour. All the Christian has to do is to act really by the rule of the Spirit, without self-parade or quarrelling.


Verse 17

(17) For the flesh . . .—In this verse we have brought out most distinctly the antithesis between the flesh and the Spirit, which is one of the root ideas in the psychology of St. Paul. It does not amount to dualism, for the body, as such, is not regarded as evil. There is nothing to show that St. Paul considered matter in itself evil. But the body becomes the seat of evil; from it arise those carnal impulses which are the origin of sin. And it is the body, looked at in this light, which is designated as “the flesh.” The flesh is the body, as animated by an evil principle. It thus becomes opposed to the good principle: whether the good principle in itself—the Spirit of God, or that organ in which the good principle resides—the spirit in man.

So that ye cannot do the things that ye would.—The opposition between the flesh and the Spirit, each pulling a different way, prevents the will from acting freely. For a full comment on this, see Romans 7:15-23; Romans 7:25.


Verse 18

(18) Ye are not under the law.—Strictly, Ye are not under law—law in the abstract. The flesh and law are correlative terms: to be free from the one is to be free from the other. The flesh represents unaided human nature, and law is the standard which this unaided human nature strives, but strives in vain, to fulfil. By the intervention of the Spirit, the law is fulfilled at the same time that its domination is abolished and human nature ceases to be unaided. In its highest part it is brought into direct contact with the divine nature, and the whole tenor of its actions changes accordingly.


Verse 19

(19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest.—It needs no elaborate disquisition to show what is meant by fulfilling the lust of the flesh. The effects which the flesh produces are plain and obvious enough. The catalogue which follows is not drawn up on any exact scientific principle, but divides itself roughly under four heads: (1) sins of sensuality; (2) sins of superstition; (3) sins of temper; (4) excesses.

It has been said that all our sinfulness may be resolved “into two elementary instincts: the instinct of self-preservation and the reproductive instinct.” The third class of sins—sins of temper—would be referred to the first of the heads; sins of sensuality and excess—the one immediately, the other more remotely—to the second. The sins of superstition mentioned are of a more secondary character, and arise out of intellectual errors.

Adultery.—This word is omitted in the best MSS.

Uncleanness, lasciviousness.—The first of these words signifies any kind of impurity, secret or open; the second flagrant breaches of public decency.


Verse 20

(20) Idolatry.—When the Christian is warned against idolatry, it is not, of course, systematic idolatry that is meant, but that occasional compliance with idolatrous customs—taking part in the idol feasts, or eating of things offered to idols—which he might easily be led into by his intercourse with his heathen neighbours.

Witchcraft.—Sorcery, or magic. It would seem that practices of this kind were especially common in Asia Minor. In Acts 19:19 we read that at Ephesus, “many of them which used curious arts brought their books together and burned them before all men;” and there is other evidence to the same effect.

Variance.—Strife, or contention.

Emulations.—Singular and plural are somewhat strangely mixed throughout the list. There is a division of authorities as to the reading in the case of this word. It seems probable, upon the whole, that the singular is right—emulation, or jealousy. “Wrath,” on the other hand, should be wraths—i.e., ebullitions or outbreaks of wrath. (See the Note on Romans 2:8.)

Strife.—This appears to be a mistake in the Authorised version. The word was supposed to be connected with that translated “variance” above, and the two words received the same translation indifferently. The word ereis, which is here translated “variance,” is rendered by “strife” in Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 3:3, Philippians 1:15, 1 Timothy 6:4; on the other hand, the word eritheia is rendered by “strife” here and in 2 Corinthians 12:20, Philippians 2:3, James 3:14-16. It is rendered by “contention” in Romans 2:8 (“them that are contentious”) and Philippians 1:16. The true derivation of this latter word is, however, something quite different: it is to be sought in a word meaning “a day-labourer.” Hence we get the senses—(1) labour for hire; (2) interested canvassing for office; (3) a spirit of factious partisanship; factiousness. (This word, too, is really in the plural.)

Seditions, heresies.—Rather, divisions, parties. The Authorised version has too special and technical a sound, as if the first related to factions in the State, and the second in the Church. This is not really so. The two words are distinguished from each other, as the lighter and more aggravated forms of division: the first. divisions; the second, divisions organised into parties.


Verse 21

(21) Murders.—There is considerable doubt as to whether this word ought to stand in the text. It is wanting in the two oldest MSS. and in some other good authorities. Internal considerations may be made to tell either for its omission or for its retention.

I tell you before.—I foretell (or, forewarn) you; I tell you before the event proves my words to be true—i.e., before the day of judgment.

As I have also told you in time past.—As I also told you before. The idea is the same as that in the last phrase. In the Greek all that corresponds to “in time past” is the use of the past tense. The occasion appears to have been on St. Paul’s last or second visit to Galatia.

The kingdom of God.—The Messianic kingdom; so called frequently in the Gospels (especially the second and third), and also by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:50.


Verse 22

(22) The fruit of the Spirit.—There does not seem to be any essential difference between this term and that used above: “the works of the flesh.” The fruit of the Spirit is that which naturally grows out of the operation of the Spirit, in which it naturally results. The expression “fruit” is, however, generally used by St. Paul in a good sense.

The list which follows brings out in a striking manner the peculiar finish and perfection which belongs to the Christian morality. It will be seen at a glance how it differs from any form of pagan or philosophic ethics. At the head of the list is “love,” which Christianity takes as its moving principle—not being, perhaps, alone in this, but alone in the systematic consistency with which it is carried out. Next comes “joy,” a peculiarly Christian grace, which has a much deeper root than mere natural cheerfulness of temper, and is rather the unfailing brightness and equanimity which proceeds from calm and settled principles animated by the Divine Spirit itself. It may be questioned whether “peace” is here the tranquility which is shed abroad in the heart by the sense of reconciliation with God, or rather, from the context that follows, peaceableness towards men. The remainder of the list, it will be seen, is made up of those delicate and fragile forms of virtue which the ordinary course of society is least likely to foster. Patriotism, courage, generosity, prudence, fortitude, are virtues that would be produced by the regular action of natural selection left to itself. “Long-suffering,” “gentleness,” “goodness,” “faith,” “meekness,” “temperance,” need a more spiritual process for their development.

Gentleness, goodness.—Perhaps, rather, kindness, goodness. The difference between the two Greek words and the ideas which they denote would appear to be somewhat similar to the difference between these two words in English. The second would represent a rather more positive tendency of disposition than the first.

Faith.—Rather, perhaps, faithfulness; not here in the sense peculiar to St. Paul, in which faith is the primary Christian virtue, but rather (as the context shows) “faithfulness,” or “trustworthiness” in dealing with men, along with, perhaps, that frank and unsuspicious temper which St. Paul ascribes specially to charity (1 Corinthians 13:7).


Verse 22-23

The Fruit of the Spirit

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.—Galatians 5:22-23.

This text needs no introduction. But by way of exposition we may divide it into three parts, and consider (1) the Nature of the Fruit of which the Apostle speaks; (2) its Variety—this being the chief thing here; and (3) its Culture.

I

The Nature of The Fruit

1. The fruit is the creation of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is not something that springs out of our old nature, amended, educated, refined; not something that we create in ourselves by our own will or effort, but something that is wrought in us by Divine power and energy. As well might a gardener try to cover a dead stick with green leaves and luscious fruit. The thing is impossible. Every bit of the “fruit” which God loves is the work, from first to last, of the Holy Ghost. His is all the glory. And only in the simplest dependence upon Him, and in surrender of ourselves to His almighty influence, can we ever know this blessed “fruit” as ours, to the glory of God.

2. And yet this fruit must grow from something that is within the man. It must be a genuine product of human life. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; … I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Why not? He was certainly larger, and he probably had more colours in his garments—why not arrayed like one of these? Because the lily grew, and all the colours in the lily came from within, while all the glory of Solomon was a glory put on him from without. The glory of a house is the glory of the man who built it, not primarily of the man who lives in it. The glory that is put on a man is not a man’s own glory. The glory that does not grow is spurious.

You do not make a character as you build a house, laying one stone upon another; nor do you alter it as you might alter a house, pulling out these stones, and putting others in. It grows by inherent power, assimilating, rejecting, amplifying or transmuting, as though that which comes to it were food, which indeed it is—food from heaven or from hell. And every particle of this food that is truly incorporated in the man’s life goes to change character through and through, may be trusted to do it. Therefore, behind laws outworn and habits that should be outgrown, the charity that believes all things and hopes all things discovers the man as he really is, with promise of the man that he will be.1 [Note: Michael Fairless: Her Life and Writings, 74.]

3. For the perfection of the fruit, the spiritual must master the natural. We have to do with a twofold nature—that which we share with all living things, and the new nature which we must win, and the winning of which represents an endless, never-ceasing task. Philosophers may be left to decide how these two natures are related to one another; the distinction is undeniable, and is rooted in every soul. And the power which leads us to the higher nature we name the Spirit of God. The lower nature urges a people simply to follow the materialistic instinct of self-preservation, to fight to the end in the struggle for existence, the struggle for fodder and a place at the stall. The Spirit of God, on the other hand, teaches that “man lives not by bread alone,” and that his supreme task is to win an abiding relation to the Eternal.

Angels of Growth, of old in that surprise

Of your first vision, wild and sweet,

I poured in passionate sighs

My wish unwise

That ye descend my heart to meet,—

My heart so slow to rise!


Now thus I pray: Angelic be to hold

In heaven your shining poise afar,

And to my wishes bold

Reply with cold,

Sweet invitation, like a star

Fixed in the heavens old.


Did ye descend: what were ye more than I?

Is’t not by this ye are divine,—

That, native to the sky,

Ye cannot hie

Downward, and give low hearts the wine

That should reward the high?


Weak, yet in weakness I no more complain

Of your abiding in your places:

Oh! still, howe’er my pain

Wild prayers may rain,

Keep pure on high the perfect graces

That stooping could but stain.


Not to content our lowness, but to lure

And lift us to your angelhood,

Do your surprises pure,

Dawn far and sure

Above the tumult of young blood,

And, star-like, there endure.


Wait there! wait and invite me while I climb;

For see, I come! but slow, but slow!

Yet ever as your chime

Soft and sublime,

Lifts at my feet, they move, they go

Up the great stair of time.1 [Note: David Atwood Wasson.]

II

The Variety of the Fruit

1. The Apostle enumerates nine graces, but he describes them all as “fruit” not “fruits.” And this is true to life, for the Holy Spirit always clusters His work. One Christian virtue necessarily raises up another; there is no such thing as sanctification in a single point. As one berry in a bunch of grapes cannot ripen without the others ripening too, so it is with the Christian. Try to eradicate one sin of your character, and you will invariably find that in doing so you will weaken, if you do not pull up, another. Cultivate one good trait, and you will be surprised to find how many more seem to grow up, you scarcely know how, at its side. So that this is often the best way to carry on one’s own edification—to concentrate one’s prayers and self-discipline upon one particular point of attainment, not only because by that fixed-ness we shall best secure the growth and the attainment which we desire, but also because by cherishing that one excellence we shall promote all.

2. The list is not to be regarded as exhaustive. Indeed the catalogue of qualities after which men should aspire in what is called “the Sermon on the Mount” varies very much from the catalogue that is given here. There is not a word said in the Sermon on the Mount about love or faith or hope; and here there is not a word said about patience under suffering and persecution. “Longsuffering” is spoken of, but by that is not meant suffering under persecution. If we turn to Philippians and to Ephesians we shall find still further descriptions of Christian character; and they are not like any of the others. The fact is, it is simply impossible for any man to make a list which is exhaustive of the developments of the human mind. A true manhood in Jesus Christ means the education of every faculty; and the qualities which spring out of the combinations of these faculties must be well-nigh infinite. No man can exhaust the alphabet. There is practically no end to the possible combinations of its letters. The separate human faculties are more numerous than are the letters of the alphabet; and they can, by combination and culture, develop qualities ad infinitum. Therefore, we never look for a perfect human portraiture. We look for just enough hints to suggest in our minds that which we cull and fill up by the imagination and through our knowledge; but it would be vain to attempt to describe all that may be developed in a full, manly nature, under the Divine inspiration and culture. That would be attempting an impossibility.

Sometimes, when I read books in which perfection is put before us with the goal obstructed by a thousand obstacles, my poor little head is quickly fatigued. I close the learned treatise, which tires my brain and dries up my heart, and I turn to the Sacred Scriptures. Then all becomes clear and lightsome—a single word opens out infinite vistas, perfection appears easy, and I see that it is enough to acknowledge our nothingness, and like children surrender ourselves into the Arms of the Good God. Leaving to great and lofty minds the beautiful books which I cannot understand, still less put in practice, I rejoice in my littleness because “only little children and those who are like them shall be admitted to the Heavenly Banquet.” Fortunately—“there are many mansions in my Father’s house”; if there were only those—to me—incomprehensible mansions with their baffling roads, I should certainly never enter there.1 [Note: Sœur Thérèse of Lisieux, 305.]

3. Yet there is a sequence in the order of these fruits. The list begins with “love” and ends with “temperance.” We should have expected the reverse of the order, but in the realm of the Spirit we begin with the best and ripest and juiciest, and then pass to the plainer and more severe. The fact of the matter is, the one is assured by the other, and this is the order of the assurance: create love, and you have the conditions of a fine self-control; obtain the juiciness of the first, and the seeming harshness of the last is never known. We may take them in three triads. The first three express our possible relationship to God—“love, joy, peace.” The next three express our possible relationship to our fellows—“longsuffering, gentleness, goodness.” The last three express our possible relationship to ourselves—“faithfulness, meekness, temperance.”

4. The first of these triads is “love, joy, peace.” We cannot call them duties or virtues; they are simply the results of communion with God—the certain manifestations of the better life of the Spirit. Love, of course, heads the list, as the foundation and moving principle of all the rest. It is the instinctive act of the higher life and is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit. It is the life sap which rises through the tree and gives form to all the clusters. The remaining two members of this triad are plainly consequences of the first. Joy is not so much an act or a grace of character as an emotion poured into men’s lives, because in their hearts abides love to God. Jesus Christ pledged Himself to impart His joy, so that it should remain in us and our joy should be full. There is only one source of permanent joy which takes possession of and fills all the corners and crannies of the heart, and that is love towards God equally abiding and all-pervasive. Peace will be built on love and joy, if our hearts are ever turning to God and ever blessed with the inter-communion of love between Him and us. True peace comes not from the absence of trouble but from the presence of God, and will be deep and passing all understanding in the exact measure in which we live in, and partake of, the love of God.

“Caritas,” which is in fact nothing else but “the energy and representative of the Spirit in our hearts,” expands and asserts itself, and makes its power to be known by its fruits of love, joy, peace and pity in the character of man. Mark, then, how joy springs out at once as the unfailing token of the Holy Spirit’s presence, the first sign that He is having His own way with a man’s heart.1 [Note: Bishop Francis Paget.]

These two words, joy and peace, furnish the colour of the Christian life. The prevailing hue of most lives—it cannot be called colour—is grey if it be not drab. The clear skies out of which a wreath of light is continually transfiguring the whole landscape belong to more favourable climates than that of Great Britain. The deep glow of sunset, rich in purple, orange, crimson, and amethystine hues that have no names, appears but seldom and is soon gone. In a sense this is to be expected of spiritual life in a naughty world. The moods of the soul are sure to change, and nothing is more monotonous or exhausting than the uninterrupted glare of a pitiless Eastern sun. But religious life that has no colour has lost the secret of beauty and charm, and perhaps there is no feature in the Christian religion that would do more to convince a weary, cynical, blasé generation of the supernatural power of the grace of God than the fadeless colour it can infuse into a Christian life by the joy and peace which are the fruit of the Divine Spirit.2 [Note: W. T. Davison, The Indwelling Spirit, 112.]

5. The second triad is “longsuffering, kindness, goodness.” All these three obviously refer to the spiritual life in its manifestations to men.

(1) Longsuffering.—How striking that this should come next! After dwelling upon the great dispositions of love in God, joy in God, peace in God, it is almost startling to be encountered by this sober grace, longsuffering. It is as though, when we turn to the Word, the first great necessity is the power of bearing up and holding out. It is something more than magnanimity; it is rather longanimity. It is not breadth of temper so much as length of temper. It is the capacity to present the same calm surface to men to-day, and to-morrow, and morrow after morrow, in spite of anything and everything. It is the power to bear irritating people without becoming irritated. It is the ability to tolerate even the intolerant. It is long temper as contrasted with short temper; the power of “bearing all things.”

Some of us meet injustice, wrong treatment, harshness, rudeness, unkindness, from those among whom we live and work. It is not easy to keep our hearts sweet and loving all the while in such experiences. It is easier for us to do as the world does—harden ourselves against the injustice or rudeness, or grow bitter, resentful, soured. That is what too many do in the midst of the selfishness, harshness, and wrong they meet in their condition. But this is not the transforming that is toward Christ-likeness. The struggle between the good and the evil in us goes on continually; but when the world is getting the better of us, when the good in us is being smothered, when the lamp within our bosom is being quenched, when its flame is growing dimmer, we are losing in the struggle. Instead of being transformed, our life is being darkened.1 [Note: J. R. Miller.]

(2) Gentleness.—How exquisite the addition! We are not merely to bear the impatience and the intolerableness of the world; we are to be delicate in our approaches to it. The literal significance is just this: we are to “graze” people, to touch them slightly, but the touch has to be one of healing. If we want to know the meaning of the gentle touch, we must read Paul’s Epistles to the Thessalonians, and mark the exquisite gentleness of his reproofs. “He touched upon it so tenderly!” Ah, that is a rare fruit, and it comes in the life that is united by love and joy to God.

Writing to Southey, whom he urged to undertake a “life” of John Wesley, Sir Walter Scott says: When I was twelve years old, I heard him preach more than once, standing on a chair, in Kelso churchyard. He was a most venerable figure, but his sermons were vastly too colloquial for the taste of Saunders. He told many excellent stories. One I remember, which he said had happened to him at Edinburgh. “A drunken dragoon,” said Wesley, “was commencing an assertion in military fashion, G——d eternally d——n me, just as I was passing. I touched the poor man on the shoulder, and when he turned round fiercely, said calmly, ‘You mean God bless you.’” In the mode of telling the story he failed not to make us sensible how much his patriarchal appearance, and mild yet bold rebuke, overawed the soldier, who touched his hat, thanked him, and, I think, came to chapel that evening.1 [Note: J. G. Lockhart, Life of Sir Walter Scott, ch. xliv.]

(3) Goodness.—More positive still is the grace! All the wealth accumulated in love and joy and peace in God is to be poured out in active, influential ministry upon our fellowmen. If we would realize the full wealthy content of this word “goodness” in all its reach and ranges, we must call to our aid that fascinating list of words beginning with the syllable “bene.” In goodness, we find benediction, benevolence, beneficence, benefits. It is a thoroughly ripe fruit, and its juices allay the pains and fears of men, and help to keep souls pure and sweet.

From what has been said, it is easy to see how genuinely good my father was. The goodness which St. Paul mentions as a component part of “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), and which, difficult as it is to dissect and define, we instinctively recognize when we see it, characterized him in a very high degree. Yes, he was good—thoroughly, genuinely, unaffectedly, transparently good. This was the clear-cut, ineffaceable impression he left upon the minds of all who knew him, however partial and imperfect their knowledge of him might be. Those who knew him best were most sensible of his goodness; in the intimacies of private life, it showed itself even more fully and winsomely than in his public relations and activities. When once my elder sister was travelling with him in America, their kind host in one city gathered a party of friends for a picnic at Niagara Falls. Powerfully moved by the majesty of the scene, my father suggested that they should turn aside to a secluded spot for a few moments of prayer. The prayer over, the party were again moving on, when my sister suddenly clasped the arm of the gentleman at her side, and earnestly exclaimed, “Oh, isn’t my father good?” “Yes, indeed he is,” said he. “Ah,” she rejoined, “but it is only we who live with him who know how good he is.” The daughterly tribute was the simple truth. It has happened before now that a man has been, in the strong line of the poet,

A household devil and a causeway saint

Never was there any such contradiction between what my father seemed to the world and what he was in reality at home. There were no skeletons in his cupboards, no hidden chambers in his life into which he would have been afraid for any one to enter. To the very core of him, he was a good man, courteous, sympathetic, considerate, one of “God’s gentlemen,” known as such by all his friends; and not even his enemies—and inevitably he made some enemies for righteousness’ sake—ever brought his goodness into doubt.1 [Note: H. Varley, Henry Varley’s Life-Story, 238.]

6. The third triad—“faithfulness, meekness, temperance”—appears to point to the world in which the Christian life is to be lived as a scene of difficulties and oppositions. The rendering of the Revised Version is to be preferred to that of the Authorized in the first of the three, for it is not faith in its theological sense to which the Apostle is here referring. St. Paul’s thought is that the Christian life is to manifest itself in the faithful discharge of all duties and the honest handling of all things committed to it. Meekness even more distinctly contemplates a condition of things which is contrary to the Christian life, and points to a submissiveness of spirit which does not lift itself up against opposition, but bends like a reed before the storm. St. Paul preached meekness and practised it; but he could flash into strong opposition and with a resonant ring in his voice could say, “To whom we gave place by subjection, No! not for an hour.” The last member of the triad—temperance—points to the difficulties which the spiritual life is apt to meet with in the natural passions and desires, and insists upon the fact that conflict and rigid and habitual self-control are sure to be marks of that life.

The power of self-control is one of the great qualities that differentiate man from the lower animals. He is the only animal capable of a moral struggle or a moral conquest. Every step in the progress of the world has been a new “control”; it has been escaping from the tyranny of a fact to the understanding and mastery of that fact. For ages man looked in terror at the lightning-flash; to-day he has begun to understand it as electricity, a force he has mastered and made his slave. The million phases of electrical invention are but manifestations of our control over a great force. But the greatest of all “control” is self-control. Self-denial and self-control are the necessary postulates of all moral excellence. A man who will take the world easily will never take it grandly. To lie in the lap of luxury may be the highest enjoyment of which a feeble character is capable, but a strong man must have something difficult to do. Moreover, the happiness of the human race does not consist in our being devoid of passions, but in our learning to control them. It has been well said that in any discussion or disagreement with another, if you are in the wrong, you cannot afford to lose your temper; and if you are in the right there is no occasion to. Or, as a lawyer has wittily put it, “Possession is nine parts of the law, self-possession is ten.”1 [Note: John Stuart Blackie.]

Spenser sings the prowess of Sir Guion, and Holbein draws a picture of the Faithful Knight, who in every line of his figure, every muscle of his body, every detail of his mien and armour, bespeaks the man that is fit to rule others because he can rule himself. Self-control comes last in St. Paul’s list, not because it is least, or lowest, but because it is the bond of all the rest. Many men attain a good measure of self-control by effort, and none can gain the grace without effort, strenuous and constant. But he who would master himself completely and maintain his control to the end finds that this “temperance” is a gift of the Spirit. “Thee o’er thyself I crown and mitre,” said Virgil to Dante, but only when he had triumphantly passed the seven terraces of Purgatory. Man need not wait till then for such high coronation, but the only man who can conquer himself is he in whom the Divine Spirit exercises complete control and sway.2 [Note: W. T. Davison, The Indwelling Spirit, 115.]

These thoughts were mine—to dwell alone,

My spirit on its lordly throne,

Hating the vain stir, fierce and loud,

The din of the tumultuous crowd;

And how I thought to arm my soul,

And stablish it in self-control;

And said I would obey the right,

And would be strong in wisdom’s might,

And bow unto my own heart’s law,

And keep my heart from speck or flaw,

That in its mirror I might find

A reflex of the Eternal mind.3 [Note: R. C. Trench, Justin Martyr.]

III

The Culture of the Fruit

1. The production of this fruit is the end to be aimed at. The “fruit” is the climax of the tree’s operations. For this it braves the blasts of many a wild and stormy night; for this it endures biting frosts of winter, and presents its bare, denuded boughs to snow and sleet; for this it opens its bud in the spring-time, and spreads its verdant leaves before the summer sun; for this it sucks up acids from the soil, and labours to provide itself with carbon from the surrounding atmosphere. This is the end of all its labours, the aim of the year’s toil, the climax of all its operations.

“By their fruits ye shall know them.” Just in the manifestation of these characteristic virtues in their union does the world recognize the supremacy of the Christian religion. Do what it will, it cannot produce the like. The recrudescence of startling spiritual gifts or materialistic miracles, for which so many are sighing, would not greatly impress the present sceptical and cynical age. The modern Egyptian magicians would be able to emulate the wonders of the modern Moses. But genuine Christian character—loving, cheerful, calm, forbearing, considerate, genuine, trustworthy, unassuming, self-controlled—they cannot, and know they cannot, produce. “But here is the finger of God, a flash of the will that can”; and seeing it, they confess that God is of a truth among us.

There is always danger of misrepresentation in the attempt to present a view that is not one’s own; but it does seem clear that those who deny the Divinity of Christ must think that the Christian character was introduced and realized and propagated and maintained under strangely incongruous and uncongenial conditions. It certainly does not look like a character that has started up out of an enthusiastic delusion, an exaggerated and misguided devotion, a fanatical misunderstanding of a teacher’s meaning, a credulous fostering of irrational hopes and fancies; still less can the thought of it be brought into connexion with any wilful or self-deceiving fraud. For it is not out of such darkness and disorder, by the working of natures so perverse and unhealthy and unreasonable, that such a type of moral excellence as this could spring up and endure—a type in which humanity attains its best harmony and strength, and renders its most reasonable service. The sobriety and usefulness of the Christian character; its quiet and wide attractiveness; its readiness for adaptation to new demands and opportunities in shifting circumstances and strange countries; its peculiar balance and blending of traits which are generally found apart, and thought to stand in contrast; its steady health and freshness; its hidden stores of strength and charm and wisdom and refreshment; its power to help all men at all times;—these are distinctive qualities which seem to thrust away the suggestion of an origin in delusion, or misunderstanding, or extravagance, and to claim for the character that bears them a direct line of kindred with some perfect type of manhood, some true idea of what man might and should be, some thought about him in the mind of God.1 [Note: Francis Paget, Studies in the Christian Character.]

2. We ought to manifest this fruit in its most favourable and attractive form, so that others may be tempted to try its sweet taste. The apple seeds are encased in a thick, pleasant-tasting mass of juicy substance; the pear and the plum, too; and these fruits are tinted with the most beautiful hues; while the seeds of the strawberry are raised on to a cone-shaped, richly-coloured mass of delicious and tempting food material, and the individual seeds of the raspberry are clothed in a ruddy coat of luscious matter. What is the reason for all this? It is simply that birds and animals may be attracted to them—tempted to eat them, and this in order that the seeds may be more widely disseminated. So the fruit of the Spirit should be presented to men in such a form that, so far from being repelled by it as they too often are at present, they would be attracted to it, and tempted to taste it for themselves. Our love, our joy, our peace should be shown to them in such a way that it will win their admiration, and, tasting it, the seed will sink into their own soul, and again bring forth fruit to God’s glory.

Everything about McCheyne drew men Christward. More than most, he was the living epistle, signed with the King’s autograph and sealed by His Spirit. It was with him as with young Sir Pelleas; they who met him wondered after him,

because his face

Shone like the countenance of a priest of old

Against the flame about a sacrifice

Kindled by fire from heaven.2 [Note: A. Smellie, Robert Murray McCheyne, 204.]

Drummond’s sympathy, his leisure from himself, his strength, won the confidence of anxious inquirers at Mr. Moody’s evangelistic meetings, as his personal charm on the platform had first stirred their hope; and he thus became acquainted with the secrets of hundreds of lives. Men felt he was not a voice merely, but a friend, and on his arm they were lifted up. He was always hopeful about the most hopeless, picked out some good points in the worst, and sent a man away feeling that he was trusted once more, not only by this friend, but by Christ, by God. The affection which such treatment aroused was extraordinary. I have seen numbers of letters, commonplace enough but for the intense love and gratitude which they breathe, and which sometimes approaches worship. It was such power as was possessed by some of the greatest of the mediæval saints—and he was not twenty-four. One man said to me only the other day, “Since Drummond died I have not been able to help praying to him.”

Mr. R. R. Simpson sends the following: “At an inquiry meeting in the Assembly Hall I spoke to a bright looking young man, and found that he had decided for Christ. On my asking him what led him to decision, the striking answer was, ‘It was the way Mr. Drummond laid his hand on my shoulder and looked me in the face that led me to Christ.’”1 [Note: G. A. Smith, Life of Henry Drummond, 98.]

3. The fruits of the spirit are perfectly spontaneous. “Against such there is no law.” Is this an example of St. Paul’s irony? The clause may be read as a supreme example of ironical speech. Rather perhaps it is added to show the Christian’s true relation to law, the victory which the spirit gains just because the law is not painfully toiled after, not punctiliously performed, but easily and supremely transcended. The Galatians, led astray by Judaizers, were being brought again into bondage by ceremonies and restrictions, and were fast losing the secret of Christian freedom. Law not only cannot condemn these fruits of the Spirit; it cannot produce anything of the kind, any more than a machine could fashion a lily.

Neither God nor man will condemn these fruits of the Spirit. God will not, for they are the fruits of His own Divine Spirit working within the soul of man. Law will never be against the eternally right and fitting, and these fruits of the Spirit are to be placed in such high orderings. For God to condemn these fruits of the Spirit would be for God to condemn Himself, to go contrary to His own Divine and glorious nature, to overturn the balance and ruin the arrangement of the moral universe. Man will not condemn. There is no court on earth, in either barbarous or civilized nations, where a man could be summoned and condemned for being joyful, peaceful, longsuffering, good, meek, gentle. Wicked men hate the good and plot for their condemnation and destruction; but the good are never summoned to the bar of justice on account of goodness, meekness, gentleness.

I remember some words of Socrates, shortly before he drank the cup of hemlock. In his cell in Athens, he awoke one morning, and there was a friend at his bedside. He asked what news there was, and his friend told him that everything had been arranged for his escape, and that he must flee. But the brave man refused. “No,” he answered Crito, “unless the law releases me, I stay. It protected my birth, my growth, my education, my marriage, my whole life. It now commands my death. If I broke it, I should be haunted by its angry ghost for ever.” So law encompasses me like an atmosphere. It remains with me always. If I break it, it will haunt me for ever. But I meet its requirements, not, as Socrates did, by dying myself. There is a better way. The death of the Son of God is available for me. I flee to it and to Him. And now law is the fortress which shelters, and not the sword which smites.1 [Note: A. Smellie, In the Secret Place, 349.]

Of course, developing his own thoughts and life freely, he was charged by his opponents with faithlessness to the Church and with latitudinarian opinions. But he rejoiced in finding within the Church of England room to expand his soul, and freedom for his intellect. If the latter part of the accusation was true, and he was latitudinarian in opinion, it is at least remarkable that he should have induced, in those who heard him profitably, not only a spiritual life, but also a high and punctilious morality. His hearers kept the Law all the better for being freed from the Law. And many a working man in Brighton, many a business man in London, many a young officer, many a traveller upon the Continent, many a one living in the great world of politics or in the little world of fashion, can trace back to words heard in Trinity Chapel the creation in them of a loftier idea of moral action, and an abiding influence which has made their lives, in all their several spheres if not religious, at least severely moral.2 [Note: Stopford A. Brooke, Life and Letters of F. W. Robertson, 479.]

The Fruit of the Spirit

Literature

Allon (H.), The Indwelling Christ, 199.

Armitage (W. J.), The Fruit of the Spirit, 11.

Bigg (C.), The Spirit of Christ in Common Life, 169.

Gibbon (J. M.), Times and Seasons, 96.

Greenhough (J. G.), The Mind of Christ in St. Paul, 212.

Hunsworth (G.), Light in the Gloom, 108.

Ingram (A. F. W.), A Mission of the Spirit, 31.

Jackson (G.), Memoranda Paulina, 181.

Jones (W. B.), The Peace of God, 336.

Kingsley (C.), National Sermons, 85.

Learmont (J.), In God’s Orchard, 13.

Maclaren (A.), Expositions: 2 Corinthians, Galatians, etc., 162.

Martineau (J.), Hours of Thought, i. 297.

Morgan (G. H.), Modern Knights-Errant, 45.

Murray (A.), The Spirit of Christ, 283.

Murray (W. H.), The Fruits of the Spirit, 1.

Price (A. C.), Fifty Sermons, xi. 393.

Russell (A.), The Light that Lighteth every Man, 256.

Spurgeon (C. H.), Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, xxvii. (1881), No. 1582; xxx. (1884), No. 1782.

Spurgin (E. B.), The Work and Fruits of the Holy Spirit, 83.

Vaughan (J.), Sermons (Brighton Pulpit), New Ser., xxiv. (1884), No. 1277.

Wallace (D.), The Secret of Serenity, 49.

Wilberforce (B.), Following on to Know the Lord, 47.

Wiseman (F. L.), in God’s Garden, 273.

British Congregationalist, Dec. 29, 1910 (G. Campbell Morgan).

Christian World Pulpit, xi. 315 (H. W. Beecher); xxx. 43 (J. Culross); xxxv. 116 (R. W. Dale); lii. 105 (L. Abbott); lxi. 209 (T. K. Cheyne).

Church of England Pulpit, lxiii. 169 (F. R. M. Hitchcock).

Churchman’s Pulpit: Whitsunday, ix. 110 (A. M. Mackay); Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, xii. 51 (T. K. Cheyne); Sermons to the Young, xvi. 278 (E. Garbett).

Examiner, Sept. 15, 1904 (J. H. Jowett).


Verse 23

(23) Meekness, temperance.—”Meekness” is something more than “mildness,” which has been suggested as an alternative translation. “Mildness” would represent that side of the virtue which is turned towards men; but it has also another side, which is turned towards God—a gentle submissiveness to the divine will. By “temperance” is meant, in a general sense, “self-control”—a firm control over the passions.

Against such—i.e., “against such things;” not, as it was understood by many of the older commentators, “against such men.”

There is no law.—For such things law has no condemnation, and therefore they are removed beyond the sphere of law. This is the first and obvious meaning; it may be noticed, however, that these delicate Christian graces are above law as well as beyond. The ruder legal system of commands, sanctioned by punishment, would have no power to produce them; they can only grow in a more genial and softer soil, under the direct influence of the Spirit.


Verse 24

(24) But such things are just what the Christian would do. He will have nothing to make him act differently. He will not need to be taught peaceableness, goodness, or self-control, for the impulses which run counter to these are dead within him: they were killed at the moment when he gave himself up wholly to a crucified Saviour.

And.—Better, How, or But; introducing a summary conclusion from what has gone before, applying it to the Christian.

They that are Christ’s.—The reading of the oldest MSS. is, they that are of Christ Jesus. The Messianic character of the Christian scheme is put forward prominently: “they that belong to Jesus, the Messiah.”

Have crucified the flesh.—Strictly, crucified: viz., in their baptism. A full comment on this expression is afforded by Romans 6:2-14, where see Notes. The relation into which the Christian is brought with Christ is such as to neutralise and deaden all the sensual impulses within him; and inasmuch as the central point in that relation is the crucifixion: inasmuch, further, as crucifixion is death, and the Christian is bound to make the death of his Master his own, so far as relates to sin, he is said not merely to “kill” but to “crucify” the flesh, with its evil appetites and passions.

Affections and lusts.—Passions and desires. “Affections” are passive—susceptibility to evil impressions; “lusts” active—desire for that which is forbidden.


Verse 25

(25) If we live in the Spirit.—It seems, on the whole, best to translate: If we live by the Spirit; if we derive our life from the Spirit; if it is by the action of the Spirit that our moral activity as Christians is kept alive. At the same time, another way of taking the words is possible: If we live to the spirit, following the analogy of Romans 14:8 : “Whether we live, we live unto the Lord,” &c.

Let us also walk in the Spirit—i.e., by the rule of the Spirit, as the Spirit dictates (comp. Galatians 5:16, and the Note). The life which the Spirit quickens needs human co-operation, an active effort on the part of the Christian, to realise it completely in practice. St. Paul first sets before his readers what food has done for them, and then uses this as an argument and stimulus to renewed efforts on their own part.


Verse 26

(26) Let us not be.—Strictly, Let us not become. When he left the Galatian Church St. Paul was satisfied with their condition, but he fears that they will change. The warning that he addresses to them exactly hits the weak points in the national character—fickleness, vanity, and a quarrelsome disposition.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/galatians-5.html. 1905.

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