Bible Commentaries

Galatians 5

Verses 1-26

The whole law of liberty is stated in the sentences, "For freedom did Christ set us free," "stand fast therefore," and "be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage."

He then refers first to circumcision. If a man receive circumcision, Christ will profit him nothing; he has become a debtor to the whole law. If a man desire to be justi6ed by the law, he is severed from Christ, he is fallen from grace.

The positive side of this is then stated. Faith working through love is the great principle of all conduct. The apostle then proceeded to a correction of popular mistakes concerning freedom. The idea that liberty means the absence of all restraint is false. The true use of freedom is stated in the injunction, "through love be servants one to another." The emergence from bondage through Christ is the passing into a sphere of life in which all the powers should act under the dominion of the true motive-love. In answer to an inferred question how such love is possible, the injunction is, "Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.''

The contrast between flesh and spirit is then made. First, "the works of the flesh." These are operations in the realm of death. Then "the fruit of the Spirit." This refers to an operation in the realm of life. As the apostle has said that the whole law is summed up in the word 'love," so now it is evident that the one fruit of the Spirit is love. All the words following form an exposition of the meaning of love, an analysis of the experience resulting therefrom.