"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" Chapter Five OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To see that liberty in Christ does not mean license to do whatever we want 2) To understand how one might be separated from Christ and fall from grace 3) To appreciate the need to walk in the Spirit and the true evidence of one led by the Spirit SUMMARY With verse one, Paul reaches the climax of this epistle, stating what can properly be called the theme of his letter: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." He follows with dire warnings about the consequences of seeking to be circumcised and justified by the Law. He then reminds them that the hope of righteousness is for those who through the Spirit eagerly wait for it with a faith working through love (1-6). The next few verses continue with warnings about allowing others to hinder their progress, with Paul's harshest words reserved for those trying to impose circumcision. Yet Paul does not want anyone to think that liberty in Christ means license, and he encourages them to use their liberty in order to serve one another in love. The two-fold benefit of this proper use of liberty is that one actually fulfills the Law, and at the same time does not give the flesh an opportunity to cause them to bite and devour one another (7-15). Paul then stresses the need for the Christian to walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the lust of the flesh. He describes the enmity between the flesh and the Spirit, explaining why we must bear the fruit of the Spirit instead of practicing the works of the flesh. Not only is there no inheritance in the kingdom of God for those engaging in the works of the flesh, but those in Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Having been made alive in the Spirit, they ought to walk in the Spirit so as not to be conceited, not provoking nor envying one another (16-26). OUTLINE I. A LIBERTY THAT EXCLUDES THE NECESSITY OF CIRCUMCISION (1-6) A. STAND FAST IN THE LIBERTY CHRIST HAS MADE POSSIBLE (1) 1. A call to stand strong in the freedom we now have in Christ (1a) 2. A plea not to be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (1b) B. CIRCUMCISION IS NO LONGER NECESSARY (2-4) 1. If one is circumcised out of a belief it is necessary, Christ will profit you nothing (2) 2. Observing circumcision as a necessity requires keeping the whole law (3) 3. Attempting to be justified by the Law will separate you from Christ and you will thereby fall from grace (4) C. THE BASIS FOR OUR HOPE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (5-6) 1. Through the Spirit and by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness (5) 2. Circumcision is inconsequential; what avails is faith working through love (6) II. A LIBERTY THAT FULFILLS THE LAW (7-15) A. A WARNING ABOUT THOSE WHO WOULD BIND THE LAW (7-12) 1. Despite a good start, they were being hindered and it did not come from God (7-8) 2. Beware of the influence of "a little leaven" (9) 3. Paul is confident the Galatians will come around, and that the Lord will judge the troublemakers (10) 4. A reminder that Paul himself was not preaching circumcision, with a strong condemnation of those who were troubling them (11-12) B. A PROPER USE OUR LIBERTY WILL FULFILL THE LAW (13-15) 1. Use our liberty to serve one another in love, and the Law will be fulfilled (13-14) 2. Abuse your liberty, and it will be an opportunity to consume one another! (13b,15) III. A LIBERTY IN WHICH ONE IS TO BE LED BY THE SPIRIT (16-26) A. WE MUST WALK IN THE SPIRIT (16-18) 1. Only then will we not fulfill the flesh, which is contrary to the Spirit (16-17) 2. If we are led by the Spirit, we are not under the Law (18) B. THE WORKS OF THE FLESH VS. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (19-23) 1. The works of the flesh... a. Identified by Paul (19-21a) b. Will keep one from inheriting the kingdom of God (21b) 2. The fruit of the Spirit... a. Identified by Paul (22-23a) b. Against which there is no law (23b) C. THOSE WHO ARE CHRIST'S ARE TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT (24-26) 1. For they have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (24) 2. For they live in the Spirit (25) 3. Therefore they should not be conceited, provoking and envying one another (26)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) What does Paul enjoin which serves as the theme of this epistle? (1) 3) What are two consequences of becoming circumcised in order to be saved? (2-3) 4) What two things happen when one seeks to be justified by the Law? (4) 5) How are we to eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness? (5) 6) What truly avails something in Christ Jesus? (6) 7) What saying did Paul use to illustrate the danger of the false teachers? (9) 8) What did Paul wish those who were so bent on enforcing circumcision would do? (12) 9) What would be a misuse of our liberty in Christ? How should we use it instead? (13) 10) What one command fulfills the Law? (14) 11) How does a Christian avoid fulfilling the lust of the flesh? (16) 12) If one is led by the Spirit, what is their relation to the Law? (18) 13) List the works of the flesh as described by Paul (19-21) 14) What will be true of those who practice the works of the flesh? (21) 15) What elements constitute the fruit of the Spirit? (22-23) 16) What have those who are Christ's done? (24) 17) If one lives in the Spirit, what is expected of him? (25) 18) How would people manifest that they are walking in the Spirit? (26)