-This section can be titled freedom in Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith. The issue for the Galatians, and us in this age, is not going back to a yoke (a burden, a harness) of slavery by feeling the need to follow religious laws and practices. There is no need for that if we have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence guiding and leading. Paul states if we sever from Christ by going back to the Law’s justification, which can only be attained with perfect obedience to it (this proves impossible), we have fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4). It is through the Spirit by faith that we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5). Therefore circumcision, which is a major issue here with the Galatians, nor uncircumcision count for anything, but only faith in Christ’s loving work that produces love in us (Galatians 5:6). Paul demonstrates confidence that they will wake up and renounce this deception that has entered their camp (Galatians 5:7-12). He has hard language for the person, or perhaps persons, that have stirred up this confusion. They will bear the penalty (Galatians 5:10). *Application* It is easy to get caught up in following rules and regulations even in the Christian faith today. We have natural tendency to move in that direction because it seems more practical and observable. We cannot look at the heart as well as the Lord does (1 Samuel 16:7). But remember, outward compliance may not necessarily mean you are a righteous individual. The Word tells us to examine our heart and apply this to righteousness instead (Psalm 26:2, Proverbs 4:23, Romans 6:17; 10:9, 2 Corinthians 13:5, 1 Timothy 1:5).
-Paul then goes on to teach on how we use this freedom in Christ Jesus. It is NOT to be used as an opportunity for the flesh (licentiousness, recklessness, Galatians 5:13). The works of the flesh are listed and should be pondered in depth as things to avoid (Galatians 5:19-21, 26). Instead, we are to live by the Holy Spirit of God walking in step with Him as He leads the way (Galatians 5:16, 18, 24-25). This will give us the manifestation of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which he neatly lays out for us (Galatians 5:22-23). Following the Spirit, Paul points out, will help not only the vertical relationship with God, but also the horizontal relationships with others here on earth (Galatians 5:13-15, 26). *Application* The Spirit is set against the flesh and the flesh against the Spirit. Only one will have ultimate control and authority in your life at a particular moment or circumstance. The goal of the Christian is to be completely and whole heartedly surrendered to the Lord’s domination of your life. Yield to His authority and you will be walking with the Holy Spirit displaying His fruits as a beautiful reflection of His glory. Resist Him and you will find yourself gratifying the lusts of your flesh (1 John 2:15-16).
Verses to Memorize- Galatians 5:16, 22-23