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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Galatians 5

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-26

1 This paragraph is the summary and conclusion of the doctrinal argument. Tersely, he puts the case. Which shall it be Christ or circumcision !' No half hearted allegiance here, no serving of two masters. Circumcision might have been a badge of privilege in the past, but now it has become a sign of apostasy. It does not lead to justification from sin, but to exemption from Christ. It is incumbent on such to keep the entire law. Grace has no room in which to operate.

4 "Falling from grace" is not. as usually supposed. a loss of the benefits of Christ's salvation through breaking the law. But, on the contrary, through attempting to keep the law. He who falls into sin does not forfeit the grace of God. Blessed to relate, grace abounds in such a case

( Rom_6:1 ) But he who seeks to establish his own salvation by works has no need of the grace of God and forfeits all right to the benefits flowing from His redemption. He thus repudiates grace. He falls out of the sphere where grace operates. This is what "falling from grace" really means.

5 Righteousness is here put before us as an expectation for which we are waiting. This is required by the contrast between that produced by the law and that effected by faith. At present, in God's sight, the one righteous thing to do is to believe Him. The man who believes

God is absolutely right in that act. If we could view this from God's side we would see that such a man is just, and needs nothing more to make him righteous. The effect of this on his dealings with others may not be fully in harmony with this fact now, but the time is coming when our conduct will partake of the righteousness of faith. This is the "expectation of righteousness".

11 The proclamation of circumcision, or of lawkeeping. or of any human effort to attain the favor of God entails no persecution. The cross is a snare, which not only captures but crushes us. No human pretensions can abide the great fact of His utter humiliation and shameful death for us on the cross and the sober truth that such were our deserts, not His. Christ Himself is our righteousness. We loathe every effort of our own.

15 The Galatians were biting and devouring one another, while they supposed themselves to be keeping the law. The law usually acts thus. It makes men self-righteous and contentious. Instead of fulfilling its letter they destroy its spirit. Law should lead to regard for others and find its fruition in love. But it leads its votaries to despise others and finds its fruit in hate.

16 Here is the divine prescription for our most troublesome problem-the flesh. Every attempt to directly control the flesh, to curb it or cure it must end in failure. The only way to deal with it is to ignore it. In the epistle to the Romans this is fully set forth under the figure of death. Here the conflict between flesh and spirit is met by such complete occupation with the spirit,

that no opportunity is left for the flesh to accomplish its desires.

19 In this list there are some sins which we have come to condone or even justify, yet they are in the midst of a catalogue of crimes. Enmity and strife, jealousy and faction, too often assume a righteous garb. Sectarianism is defended as though it were an improvement on the divine unity of the body of Christ. In the kingdom of God there will be no one practicing such things.

22 The flesh acts, the spirit bears fruit, delicious not only to us but to God. Fruit is not the result of mechanical effort but the natural expression of life and growth. If we love others we will need no legal restrictions to keep us from injuring them. Law is a useless encumbrance to those who walk after the spirit. They need no promptings to do good and are above the penalties imposed on evil doers.

24 The crucifixion of the flesh means far more than putting it in the place of death. It gives it the kind of death it deserves, for it is a criminal of the deepest dye. The shameful, ignominious death borne by Christ for our sins is the only fit finish for the flesh.

1 A true self-knowledge will humble us so that we can deal meekly with a brother who has suddenly slipped. The law would condemn him, but we are to seek to bring him back into line.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Galatians 5". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/galatians-5.html. 1968.
 
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