As we discussed last week, Christian maturity and spirituality isn’t about ‘trying’ but about simply pursuing a love relationship with Jesus. This week, we’ll continue with the message and content of Galatians.
Chapter 5, verse 1 is the key verse of the book of Galatians. The point of the Christian life is freedom/Christian liberty– the freedom to live in ways that position us in blessing, due to what Christ has done for us. Freedom from sin– yes, but freedom from living with the million requirements of the law on your mind 24-7. Even as a Christian, God will let you live in spiritual bondage. If you won’t learn what God says about living the Christian life; He will let you live in bondage… after all, most Christians do, and fail to enjoy what Christ purchased for them by his blood.
Verses 3 and 4 teach that if you’re going to live by the law, legalistically, to prove your self-righteousness, you can’t pick and choose, you’ll have to do it all. Of course, if you do– you’ve taken a lesson in ‘missing the point’ and your ‘circumcision has ‘cut you off’ from Christ (joke by Paul under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration). Falling from grace, here, is not losing your salvation as many believe— but is rather moving from living in the higher state of freedom and liberty, to falling back/down into law and condemnation.
Paul then moves on in verses 6 through 8 to further enforce that externals are not the point… It’s not righteous acts that make you right before God. It’s faith and love for God and others (Great Commandment).
Verses 9 and 10 address spiritual false teaching. It is dangerous because people are gullible. That’s why doctrine is so important. When we fight wrong beliefs, we teach the truth; call out those who teach falsehood; and pray for those in false belief. Verse 11 addresses the essence of the grace of the Gospel message. The former strict regulations are overthrown and we are given grace freely.
Verses 12 through 15 further discuss freedom. Yes, but not the wrong kind… don’t confuse legitimate freedom for ‘license’ (Rom 6, e.g.). The immediately following verses, 16-25, discuss the secret of Christian matuity and power. Life isn’t in Christ that gravitates toward sin and self-destruction. The fruits of the spirit discussed in verses 22-25 are all singular: “Fruit (singular) of the spirit is (singular verb)…”
Chapter 6 concludes the chapter with some final thoughts from Paul. Christians must help and encourage Christians in sin.. How? GENTLY AND HUMBLY (meaning, the exact opposite of how they usually do— which is roughly and arrogantly).
In verse 6, Paul teaches that Christian leaders/teachers deserve to be paid…. it adds accountability and gives the adequate time to study. Why does Paul include this here? If they’d done it right and had that kind of adequate time, they’d stayed out of false teaching in Galatia.
Paul’s closing and concluding teaching is that we bless other people, especially Christians.