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FRAMEWORKS: Paul's letter to the Galatians

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Frameworks: Galatians 5


v.1-12 Freedom in Christ

v.13-26 Life by the Spirit


[Chapter Synopsis: Falling back to rely again on circumcision brings slavery to rule-keeping, but faith in Christ has set us free to live and love as led by the Spirit, expressing Christ.]



v.1-12 Freedom in Christ


[Passage Synopsis: Relying on circumcision [demanded by the Jewish Christians] meant relying on rules again, giving in to deception and alienation from Christ.]


v.1 (Look, Christ died to make us free so don't get enslaved by rules again) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

v.2 (I tell you if you rely on circumcision, Christ won't mean anything to you) Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.

v.3 (if you rely on circumcision you have to rely on the whole Law) Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.

v.4 (if you now rely on the Law to be justified, you've become self-reliant, not Christ-reliant) You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

v.5 (the Spirit in us looks forward to the fulness of the righteousness that is our inheritance) For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.

v.6 (whether or not you're circumcised is irrelevant, it's faith in Christ's love in that counts) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

v.7 (you were doing so well, whatever happened to you?) You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?

v.8 (that deception that lead you astray didn't come from God) That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.

v.9 (but one wrong thought, one wrong sin, soon spreads) “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

v.10 (I'm sure you'll see this and those deceivers will have to pay) I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.

v.11 (I'm not preaching circumcision any more, but the Cross, which is why I get persecuted by them) Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.

v.12 (I wish these deceivers would cut themselves to pieces) As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!



v.13-26 Life by the Spirit


[Passage Synopsis: The call to love fulfils the Law and opens the way for a life of freedom in the Spirit, where the character of Christ is expressed.]


v.13 (you were called to freedom but not to indulge your desires, but to love others) You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

v.14 (the Law is summed up in ‘love your neighbour as yourself') For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” [Lev. 19:18]

v.15 (if you constantly argue you'll destroy yourselves) If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

v.16 (so be led by the Spirit, not carnal desires) So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

v.17 (the two things are against each other) For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

v.18 (if you let the Spirit lead you don't need to worry about rules) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

v.19-21 (the selfish-centred-desires life of the world is obvious and stops anyone entering the kingdom) The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

v.22,23 (the fruit of the Spirit is quite opposite, expressing the goodness of Christ) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

v.24 (‘in Christ' we have died to that desires-based life) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

v.25 (so, living in the Spirt, let Him lead you) Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

v.26 (and let's be at peace with one another) Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


Continue to Chapter 6