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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Galatians 5

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NTLuscombe's NT Commentary

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Verses 1-4

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Fast - three uses of this word:

1 - With speed, haste

2 - Go without food

3 - Firmly in place, glued

The context will tell you which is intended.

We are free in Christ. Joh_8:32 ; Joh_8:36

Entangled - all tied up, wound around

Yoke - weight, burden, carry a load

2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

If you bind circumcision:

What can NOT be bound from the law?

What profit (value) is Christ?

3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

If you bind this - you are obligated to obey ALL the law. Jam_2:10

The law is not a cafeteria (pick and choose) which points to bind or ignore.

4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Are you justified by the law? THEN: Christ suffered for nothing. Jesus is of no value.

You can't fall from where you ain't!

This verse teaches the possibility of apostasy. Heb_3:12

Jesus does not leave you. Rom_8:35

You can abandon Jesus.

Verses 5-6

5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

Indwelling of the Spirit of God.

God does not operate on our timetable. He is not a "clock watcher."

Hope - desire and expectation; hope alone = wish, dread; expectation alone = dread, fear

Do you desire heaven? Do you expect to go to heaven?

6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

In Christ - Baptized into Christ Rom_6:3-4

Circumcision does not make one better.

Uncircumcised does not make one worse.


Faith - Works - Love

(all must work together)

Verses 7-10

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Don't just run. Run well. Do your best.

Hinder is not a "roadblock". It is a "detour".

Hinder is not total collapse; just a "slowdown" obstacle.

8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.

9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

"One rotten apple spoils the bushel."

10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

Preachers must have confidence, never give up.

One who lacks confidence in the power of his message should get out of the pulpit.

Never doubt the gospel's power. Rom_1:16

Verse 11

11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.

Why suffer persecution? To preach error?

Preaching circumcision means the cross did not happen.

Verses 12-15

12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

Judiazing teachers should be cut off.

Rom_16:17 - "Mark them"

2Ti_3:5 - "turn away"

Tit_1:10-11 - "mouths stopped"

13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Christians are free!

Caution: Do not use your liberty to bind others.

Liberty must serve others.

Many have the attitude of "I am free to do as I like. Who cares if you don't like it?"

This is selfishness.

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Basic Principle: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

HERE IS THE CATCH! Many are depressed, blue, defeated. They do not like who they are. If I do not like myself, my neighbor is in serious trouble.

15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

Christian cannibals - Bite, devour each other by: Gossip, Backbiting, Blaming, Lying, Talebearing, Envy, Strife, Seditions, Finger pointing

"He who slings mud, loses ground." Moat and beam. Mat_7:1-5

Verses 16-18

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Let the Spirit - Guard, Guide and Dirct

Stay with the Spirit = No flesh problems

Flesh problems? Need more spirit walks.

17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Flesh = carnal, worldly lusts

Lusts = desires, unlawful desires

Spirit = spiritual values, holy, righteous

There is a war going on. They are against each other.


18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Verses 19-21

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

Works of the flesh are - plural, a multiple list, do not violate ANY of these

Adultery - violation of the marriage vow

Fornication - all sexual immorality

Uncleanness - leading to fornication

Lasciviousness - producing lust in others

20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

Idolatry - sacrifice or worship of idols

Witchcraft - use of spells, potions, drugs

Hatred - malice, revenge, animosity

Variance - to cut apart

Emulations - burn with jealousy

Wrath - quick temper, hot anger

Seditions - standing apart, division

Heresies - self-willed, strong opinion

21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Envy - displeasure at another's fortune

Murders - intentional taking of a human life

Drunkenness - habitual intoxication

Revellings - dancing, partying, frolicking


This behavior will disqualify you for heaven

Verses 22-25

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Fruit of the Spirit is - Singular - one fruit, need all parts to have the fruit

Love - Seek what is best for another

Joy - delight, exuberant pleasure

Peace - harmonious relationships

Longsuffering - forbear, patience, endure

Gentleness - mild, sweet reasonableness

Faithfulness - trusted, reliable, true

23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Meekness - humble, inner quality of quiet strength

Temperance - self-control

None of the above are illegal or immoral or fattening.

24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Do you belong to Christ?

Have you crucified the flesh?

Have affections been put to death?

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

The Spirit lives in you.

You must live in the Spirit.

Verse 26

26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

If you are living in the Spirit, you will not:

1 - Seek "vain glory"

2 - Provoke each other, stir up, prod, poke

3 - Envy - displeasure at another's fortuen

Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on Galatians 5". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/galatians-5.html. 2021.
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