Galatians 5:26


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:26

Paul’s admonition here is correctly translated by the NKJV in using the word “become.” He is not saying that they are any of these things, but they are to be careful to not become any of these things. The reason must be attributed to the false teachings of the Judaizers. They crept in and had taught their destructive heresy concerning inserting deeds of the law in order to be justified. In so doing, it would naturally lead to each of these things, just as it did among the Jews where there was always a subtle competition as to who was the most pious because of their deeds of the flesh.

Paul’s warning then has been to put away works of the flesh and to trust in the work of Christ. In so doing, they would not become “conceited.” The Greek word gives exactly this idea. It speaks of empty glory, self-deluded conceit which is motivated by “delusions of grandeur,” and boasting in what there is absolutely nothing to boast about. When one is under grace and knows it, then there is no reason at all to act in this way. The boasting one would exhibit would be in the One who bestowed the grace; not in self (see Galatians 6:14).

The words “provoking one another” are given next because one who is boastful about himself will naturally provoke those around them. In their supposed superiority, they will be haughty and arrogant and look down on those around them. On the contrary, when one understands the grace which has been bestowed upon them, then they should naturally look at others as on an equal footing. Christians all belong to the same family and they will all share in the same blessing because of their adoption by God. And so what is there to boast in? And with nothing to boast in, there will be no reason to provoke those around them.

Likewise, Paul says that they should not be “envying one another.” It would make no sense for someone to envy someone else who has received exactly the same blessing as they did. Grace is unmerited favor. To envy someone else’s grace is illogical.

Many scholars look at Paul’s words of this verse in merely a societal context, attributing it to wealth, position, status, or possessions. It is true that we shouldn’t either boast in these things, or be envious of others who have these things. However, Paul’s words here must be kept in context. He has been speaking of deeds of the flesh contrasting fruits of the Spirit. Therefore, his words are preeminently referring to spiritual matters and life in Christ.

Life application: Let us never assume that the fruits of the Spirit that we possess somehow make us better than those around us. Further, let us never be envious of someone who has a very strong and vital ministry or ability within the body. Each of us was saved by grace, and each of us has gifts of the Spirit which have been given according to the wisdom of God. The best thing we can to is to cultivate those gifts which we have been given, and do so to His glory.

You have been so very good to us, O God. Each of us who have been adopted into son-ship because of the work of Christ has been blessed with grace. How then can we boast over others who have been saved by the same grace? And why should we feel the least bit envious of the gifts of the Spirit that another possesses? They were portioned out by You for Your purposes. Instead, help us to cultivate our own gifts and to be content that we are serving You with those gifts which came from You in the first place. Great are You, O God, for having included us into Your family! Amen.



Galatians 5:25


Monday, 6 June 2016

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

Paul’s words here show that those who have received Christ now live in a different way than they did before receiving Him. Before we lived in the flesh; now we live by the Spirit. The word “by” seems to be a better translation of the Greek as it more properly shows the divide between the old life and the new.  And so, “If we live [by] the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” It is an indication that we can, in fact, be saved and yet not live according to the manner in which we were called.

Instead of acting as if we are dead to sin because we have moved to Christ who fulfilled the law for us, we continue to live in sin. Paul now shows us that this is not the proper way to conduct ourselves.

Interestingly, he uses a completely different word for “walk” than that which he used in verse 5:16. There the word was used in an ethical sense. It was intended to show the conduct of our life. In this verse, he uses a word which means to walk in line as if in strict accordance to a particular pace. If we think of “keeping in step,” or “walking in cadence,” we get the idea of what Paul means. He uses the same word in a graphic way in Romans 4:12 concerning our following in the steps of Abraham. Paul is asking us to walk in cadence with the leading of the Spirit and not be diverted from that sound and reasonable path.

Life application: If one is in a military unit, he is expected to march according to the steps of that unit. It would be contrary to the discipline of the formation for everyone to walk to the beat of their own desires. Such is the case with walking in step with the Spirit. It is contrary to walk according to the works of the flesh when we have been called to walk in step with the Spirit.

Lord God, it is a marvelous thing to know that we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. As we have, help us to walk in step with that calling now. Nobody in a military formation who walked contrary to the cadence of their unit would be pleasing to the commander of that unit. As this is true in an earthly organization, how much more should we walk according to leading of the Spirit! Help us in this, O Lord. And thank You for the life we truly have been called to! Amen.


Galatians 5:24


Sunday, 5 June 2016

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24

Here we have a truth which is sometimes hard for us to understand as we continue to walk in this fallen world. Paul has just given a list of the works of the flesh and then a list of the fruits of the Spirit. He now states that “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” This is given to show the difference between the carnal man and the regenerate man. He explains this in great detail in Romans 6. In part, his words from Romans 6 state –

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.” Romans 6:1-7

Paul is saying that through Christ, we are dead to the law. As the law is what brings about the knowledge of sin, and as we have overcome the law through Christ’s fulfillment of it, then we have “been freed from sin.” If we are free from sin, then we should live in that freedom. The passions and desires which are aroused by the knowledge of the law are crucified with Christ. Because of this, we have the ability to bear the fruits of the Spirit instead of remaining in the works of the flesh.

Life application: Because Christ has overcome through the fulfillment of the law, and because of our position in Him, then let us live for Christ. If the passions and desires of the flesh return to our minds, let us look again to the cross, understanding that we are freed from their grasp. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.

Glorious God, even those who have come to Christ face daily trials and temptations, but because He fulfilled the law, He is the end of the law for all who believe. Sin no longer has mastery over us. And so let us live for Him, crucifying those passions and desires. Help us in this. Let us be vessels which are instead useful for holy purposes. With Your hand upon us, we know this is possible. Thank You for Christ’s victory which we too can now revel in! Amen.



Galatians 5:23


Saturday, 4 June 2016

…gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:23

Paul completes his list of the fruits of the Spirit in this verse. This is not an all-inclusive list; other fruits and gifts of the Spirit are provided in his other letters as well. However, this list is given in contrast to the “works of the flesh” which he previously noted. The last two that he now mentions are:

Gentleness – This word is another one which has a root that emphasizes the divine origin of “meekness.”  In other words, it is a gentle strength which expresses power and yet it is a reserved power. Despite the ability to crush one’s foes, there can be gentleness towards them. HELPS Word Studies says that it “begins with the Lord’s inspiration and finishes by His direction and empowerment. It is a divinely-balanced virtue that can only operate through faith.”

Self Control – This means, properly, “dominion within.” In other words, it is a control of oneself that proceeds outward from within. Again, HELPS notes concerning this virtue, that it “can only be accomplished by the power of the Lord. Accordingly, [it] is explicitly called a fruit of the Holy Spirit.”

Paul says of this list, which comprised the majority of verses 22 and 23, that “against such there is no law.” This is speaking of the fruits (things), not those who display them (people). There is no law for such things because they transcend any law. They come from God and are fruits of His Spirit. Therefore, no law can exist against them. Instead, they are what will naturally flow from Him as we yield to His will.

Life application: It needs to be noted once again that as believers, we can never get more of the Spirit of God than that which was first received upon belief. However, we can yield to God and the Spirit can get more of us. This is the purpose of Paul’s list of the fruits of the Spirit. Our ability to exercise these gifts is dependent on our yielding to Him and allowing Him to work through us.

I stand in awe of Your magnificence, O God. I tremble at the marvel and majesty of Your power which is displayed throughout the universe, and which is even evident with each change in the weather or each rising of the tide. Your hand controls such things; things which are far greater than the entire sum of human endeavor. We could no more stop a single tide from rising than we could contain the awesome fire of the greatest sun in the galaxy. How absolutely majestic You are, O God! We stand in awe of Your magnificence. Amen.


Galatians 5:22


Friday, 3 June 2016

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Galatians 5:22

Beginning with “But…” Paul now contrasts the deeds of the flesh of the previous verses with the fruits of the Spirit. One can understand the contrast when considering that “works of the flesh” stem from the natural, earthly man. He is fallen, and his works produce that which is unfit for the kingdom of God. To contrast this, that which stems from “the Spirit” is given to show that these do not flow from our own nature, but rather from God.

It should be noted that each of these fruits appear to be things which any person can possess, even if they have never come to Christ. However, this is incorrect. Only through the Spirit are our actions acceptable to God. Without Christ’s covering, our works are tainted with sin, and any fruit we have is already corrupted. Further, the use of some of these words is only in relation to that which is of divine origin. This fruit of the Spirit includes:

Love – This is love which is expressed to our Creator and to other humans which is pure and undefiled. It follows the description given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, and it is a volitional act of the will. It is, in particular, love directed to God more than anything else. The reason for this is that this, as a fruit, is set in contrast to the works of the flesh which are carnal and earthly. This is uniting; that is divisive.

Joy – This word is etymologically linked to words meaning “rejoice because of grace,” “joy because of grace,” and “grace.” Therefore, it signifies the knowledge and understanding of God’s grace and favor. In essence, it is the recognition of His grace in our lives… something to be truly joyous about.

Peace – This word indicates “peace of mind.” It is comparable to the Jewish word “shalom” which indicates more than just calm, but wholeness and completion when all the essential parts are joined together. It is God’s gift of wholeness.

Longsuffering – Patience is the short definition here. But it is a bit fuller than that. It is a divinely regulated endurance which even is used by God of Himself to show that He is truly able to endure our waywardness in order to reveal His character to us. It demonstrates the ability to wait a sufficient time before expressing anger. Thus, it withholds any premature use of force concerning offense.

Kindness – This word is described as that which is well-suited for use. It is the ability to meet real needs in the way that God would meet them, and in the timing He would meet them. As it is a divinely generated type of kindness, it is rightly known as a fruit of the Spirit. The Spirit produces in us a goodness which meets the needs of others while avoiding natural, carnal harshness.

Goodness – This speaks of goodness which is intrinsic in nature. It is a quality or condition which is related to believers because its source is found in God. It is revealed in both moral and spiritual excellence.

Faithfulness – The word here is noted by HELPS Word Studies as always being a gift from God; never that which can be produced by people. It is “God’s divine persuasion” – and therefore distinct from human belief (confidence), yet involving it. The Lord continuously births faith in the yielded believer so they can know what He prefers, i.e. the persuasion of His will (1 Jn 5:4).”

Life application: In a cursory reading of these fruits of the Spirit, one might think that they possessed them apart from coming to Christ. This is not the case. The gifts that God offers, through His Spirit, are unique to believers. Further, they are not automatically obtained. Rather, they develop as we yield ourselves to Christ. This can be done through prayer, praise, fellowship, study of the word, etc. Be well rounded in your walk and yield your life daily to the Lord. As you do, He will continue to fill you with His Holy Spirit.

It is such a wonderful thing to know that reaching my final goal isn’t up to me at all. Here I am Lord, failing You daily… stumbling over my natural self. And yet, because of the work of Another, I am deemed holy and acceptable to You. Help each of us who have called on Jesus to first live for You because of that act. But secondly, to understand that when we falter, You have already forgiven the failing. What a great and gracious God You are! Amen.