Galatians ~ Chapter 5
As we turn to Chapter 5, we will begin by completing the list of 17 Points on “Why the believer is not under the Law,” by Dr. Charles L. Feinberg.
Dr. Feinberg was Jewish, and after studying for fourteen years to be a rabbi, he was converted to Christ. He knew more than thirty languages. He was a Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary from 1934-1948, and later became the Dean and Professor of Semitics and OT at Talbot Theological Seminary from 1952 to 1975. He was on the team that originally translated the New American Standard Bible, and also contributed to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary.
All 17 points come from the book of Galatians. We have previously noted the first 9 points which included:
- A believer under the Law makes Christ a minister of sin, Gal 2:17.
- The believer has died to the Law, Gal 2:19.
- A believer has received all the benefits of the Spirit through faith, Gal 3:1-5.
- The Law brings nothing but condemnation, Gal 3:10-14.
- God’s promised blessings to Abraham, of which the Abrahamic route all believers partake (Rom 11), antedate the giving of the Law. Therefore, the Law cannot be a prior claim, Gal 3:15-17.
- The Law has no power to give life or to sustain life, Gal 3:21.
- The Law is intended only for the immature, while positionally, believers are full-grown sons, Gal 3:23-4:7.
- The Law is a bondage to the believer, Gal 4:9.
- Law and grace are mutually exclusive principles; therefore, choose one or the other, Gal 4:21-31.
- The believer has an abiding freedom in Christ, Gal 5:1.
- The believer must keep all the Law, if he would attempt to keep even one part of it, Gal 5:2-4.
- The persuasion to put the believer under the Law is not from God, Gal 5:8.
- Legalism of the believer does away with the offense of the cross, Gal 5:11.
- All the Law is fulfilled by the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:16-24.
- The life of the believer must be sustained on the same principle as his new birth or regeneration, Gal 5:25.
- The believer’s proneness to sin calls for his dealing with grace, not dealing according to the Law, Gal 6:1-5.
- All who advocate the Law for the believer cannot keep it themselves, and their intention is ultimate glory in the flesh, Gal 6:13.
Having now noted the complete list of “17 Reasons why the Church Age Believer is Not Under the Mosaic Law,” by Dr. Charles L. Feinberg, we now look to Chapter 5 to see the characteristics of “Christ formed in you,” as Paul desired in Gal 4:19. We will note the first six characteristics in verses 1-12.
Gal 5:1, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
In vs. 1, the first characteristic of Christ we see is “freedom,” the Noun ELEUTHERIA, ελευθερια that means “freedom, liberty, or license.”
This freedom first means freedom from the penalty of sin, because Christ paid for our sins at the Cross, which we receive at the moment of our salvation – Phase 1. This is our position in Christ, we are positionally free and not under condemnation due to our sins or the Law. We call this “Positional Sanctification.”
Secondly, it means freedom to live everyday without the bondage and hindrances of sin and the Law. This is our daily walk in the Christian life called Phase 2, our Christian walk. This is our experiential life as a believer. It is based on walking by means of the filling of God the Holy Spirit. When we sin we lose this. We lose our experiential sanctification and instead live with sin inside of Satan’s cosmic system. Our experiential freedom can be regained by the grace of God when we apply 1 John 1:9, the confession of our sins, and receive fellowship with God, a.k.a., the filling of the Holy Spirit, once again. We call this “Experiential Sanctification.”
We also receive freedom in Phase 3, when the Lord takes us home to eternal glory and gives us our resurrection bodies, because we are removed from sin and evil for all of eternity. We call this “Ultimate Sanctification.”
The grace of God has provided for all three phases of the Christian life, and none of these are achieved by any human works or keeping of the Law.
Paul says, “it was for freedom,” (in all three phases of the Christian life), “that Christ has set us free”. The last part of that phrase, “that Christ has set us free,” means that Jesus Christ is the power and agent of our freedom. It was His Cross that won and provides for our freedom in all three categories – Positionally, Experientially and Ultimately.
Then Paul states, “keep on standing firm” in your freedom, which is the stative customary Present tense, Active voice, and Imperative mood of the Verb STEKO, στηκω. We are commanded to continually reside in our position of freedom. “Standing firm” is Phase 2 of the Christian life, our Experiential Sanctification, which is a command which means it is conditional, based on our volition, unlike our Position in Christ under Phase I, and Ultimate Sanctification in Phase III, which are not conditional for the believer.
“Standing firm” is the experiential aspect of our daily walk. We are to be experientially sanctified daily which means walking in righteousness under the plan of God and filling of the Holy Spirit. This is also a command to avoid sin at all cost, as it will cause you to step outside of your freedom experientially.
This is noted in the next phrase, when Paul states, “and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery,” which is the Present, Passive Imperative of ENECHO, ενεχω, that means, “have a grudge against, be hostile towards; and in the Passive voice be subject to.” This tells us that even though we stand positionally free, experientially we can return to the bondage of sin and Satan’s cosmic system. When we do, we enter back into a life that we have been freed from; a life of sin, fear, worry, anxiety, etc., that binds us and holds us down. Instead God desires for us to walk with the heavy burden that sin weighs down on us.
In addition, this freedom is not a license to do whatever we want to do regardless of the consequences. It is not a license to sin and please ourselves as we would, but rather the freedom of an unhindered life that is no longer bound to sin and Satan’s cosmic system. We were set free so that freely we could pour ourselves out to God and others.
As you know, Jesus was born without sin and did not sin His entire life; He was impeccable. Jesus was never hampered by the problems and difficulties that come with sin and living inside of Satan’s Cosmic system. He never had to look over His shoulder due to His sins. He never felt guilty because of what He did or worried about the consequences or what might happen as a result of sin. He never worried about what he would wear or eat, or where he would sleep. Instead, He was free to live His life unencumbered by sin and Satan’s cosmic system, and its resultant problems. He had an everlasting peace and contentment because He consistently walked in righteousness while fully trusting in God to provide for His every need. He was free to live in service and devotion to the Father and man. This was all possible because He was constantly filled with the Word and God the Holy Spirit.
You and I also receive this freedom positionally at the moment of our salvation, when our bondage to sin and Satan’s cosmic system is broken by the Cross of Jesus Christ. But here Paul says, “Keep on standing firm” in your freedom. You see you can lose this freedom experientially by entering into sin and Satan’s cosmic system. Therefore, God tells us to “keep on standing firm,” meaning, continue to live by the Bible Doctrine in your soul, say no to the temptations of sin, and remain filled with the Holy Spirit. Likewise, if you do sin, utilize the grace of God through confession of your sins, 1 John 1:9, to regain fellowship with God and the filling of the Holy Spirit. By grace we received freedom positionally, and by grace we receive it experientially.
- So, the 1st characteristic of “Christ formed in you” is living in the freedom Jesus won for you at the Cross.
Gal 5:2-4, “2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
In vs. 2-4, we are told that if we go back to the Law, or any form of legalistic / self-righteous worship, Christ will be of no benefit to us. That is, His power of the Word, (Bible Doctrine), in your soul will be nullified or rendered powerless. It also means that we lose the filling of God the Holy Spirit, who Christ sent to be our helper, John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7, as our teacher of the Word of God and mentor in our application of the Word. Therefore, we will lose the two power options God has given to us in grace: His Word in our soul and the filling of His Spirit, which the Cross of Jesus Christ has made available for us.
- So, the 2nd characteristic of “Christ formed in you,” is having His Word and the Filling of God the Holy Spirit in your soul.
Notice that is says in vs. 4, “you have fallen from grace.” The two power options are from the grace of God. When we sin and reside inside of Satan’s cosmic system, and/or function in self-righteous, legalism, we are operating under our own human power and have nullified the grace of God from empowering our spiritual lives.
Gal 5:5, “For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.”
In vs. 5, we are told that the grace empowerment for our lives is by means of the Holy Spirit working in us, causing us to walk in the righteousness of God, i.e. being experientially sanctified.
Our “hope,” (ELPIS, ελπις meaning, “confident expectation”), “of righteousness,” means we stand fast each and every day by means of “faith,” (PISTIS, πιστις), in the promise of our resurrection. This is what we call the Doctrine of Ultimate Sanctification.
“Eagerly waiting,” (APEKDECHOMAI, απεκδεχομαι), is the expression of our faith, it is the perpetuation of faith, e.g., Isa 40:31, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…”
So in faith, by means of the Holy Spirit, we eagerly wait / faith-rest in the promise of our resurrection, looking forward to the Rapture of the Church.
Gal 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.”
In vs. 6, the comparison is the believer who is already justified, uncircumcised, compared to the legalist who is still trying to be justified, circumcised. That is the concept here. The believer has been justified in a point of time, (i.e., on the day of his non-meritorious belief in Jesus Christ, the day he has accepted Christ as his Savior, the day he believed in Christ). On that day, he was justified by faith in Christ, not by works. Therefore, he is not hustling around trying to work for salvation; he is just waiting for what God is going to do for him. He is waiting for a perfect body, a resurrection body. So here we see that our salvation is by faith alone and not by works of the Law. In addition, our salvation is not based only on the grace of God, but also on the love of God as well, John 3:16.
- Therefore, the 3rd characteristic of “Christ formed in you” is faith that eagerly waits, or as we would say, having “faith-rest” and living the faith-rest life, i.e., believing in and trusting God in all areas of your life.
Gal 5:7-9, “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.”
In vs. 7-9, we have a rhetorical question followed by Paul’s answer. Paul knows the answer; it is Satan and his cosmic system that has sidetracked these Galatian believers. Even though the Judaizers were the minions, Satan was and is the mastermind behind all false doctrines including legalistic religion that is designed to occupy the believer’s or unbeliever’s way of thinking so that they do not come to the point of “faith-resting” in Christ.
Paul states in vs. 8, that legalism is not from God, the One who called you and saved you by grace. Instead it is from the one in antithesis of God, Satan.
In vs. 9, Paul tells them of the toxic nature that legalism is. A little bit of it will poison the entire body and your entire spiritual life. Just as the Jews had to remove any leaven (yeast) from their homes in preparation for the Passover, so too must the unbeliever avoid legalism or any systems of works for salvation, if he is going to be saved. Likewise, the believer in his spiritual walk needs to remove any form of human works (legalism) from his life, if he is going to walk and excel in the spiritual life.
- This rhetorical question is our 4th characteristic of “Christ formed in you”, which is what the Galatians were doing well at first, but had gotten sidetracked from by the Judaizers, that is, to “keep running the spiritual race and finish the course,” 1 Cor 9:24; 2 Tim 4:7; Heb 12:1.
Heb 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance (human works / legalism) and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…”
Jesus ran the entire course of His life according the plan and will of God the Father. He lived unto God inside the plan the Father had established for Him; all the way to the Cross, burial, resurrection and ascension. Likewise, we too need to live unto God daily (running) inside of His plan for our lives, if we are to have Christ formed in us.
Gal 5:10, “I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.”
In vs. 10, we have two issues. The first is an exhortation to the believer to remain strong in the faith they have and not be sidetracked by legalism. We see here that in order to remain strong in faith we cannot, “adopt another view,” PHRONEO, φρονεω, “another way of thinking.” That is, we need to stick with what the Word of God has to say, and believe it by applying it, rather than following some man-made rules and rituals.
- Therefore, the 5th characteristic of “Christ formed in you” is to “reject false doctrines” when they are presented. If you accept the false doctrines of false teachers, (wolves in sheep’s clothing), you will be led astray and potentially wiped out in the spiritual life.
As John said in 2 John 1:10-11, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
These commands are designed to protect your soul from the negative influence of false doctrines, but you are the one in charge of your soul and have to apply these principles in order to protect it, in order to have “Christ formed in you!”
The second half of this passage is a warning to those who teach false doctrines. “One day the chickens will come home to roost,” as the saying goes, that is explained in the last verse.
Gal 5:11-12, “But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. 12 I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.”
- Next in vs. 11-12, we have the 6th characteristic of “Christ formed in you,” which is the “persecution factor.” We noted the explanation of vs. 11, in the 13th point of the 17 Reasons Why the Church Age Believer is Not Under the Law, above. In short Paul uses a 2nd class if statement, “If, and I am not”, and says that if he were teaching legalism (which he was not), why then is he still being persecuted. In the same vain, the second half of the verse indicates that if he were teaching legalism, then the issue of Christ crucified would not be an issue at all, because he would be teaching salvation by works, rather than salvation by faith in the Cross of Jesus Christ.
So the issue here is the probability of being persecuted by legalistic types because of your faith. As Jesus said in John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”
As you know, depending on where you live, persecutions will take on various shapes and forms, as Christians in Iraq and northern Nigeria are being slaughtered by legalistic Muslims, yet here in the United States where we have a constitution that currently provides for our freedom of religion, our persecution will come in the form of hatred, lying, gossiping, verbal abuse and occasionally physical abuse, etc., by those who hate the truth and our faith in Jesus Christ. But in all cases we should not be shocked or surprised, as they persecuted Jesus so too will they persecute you. As you endure whatever form of persecution you receive, it glorifies God and stores up blessings and rewards for you. As you endure with the power of the Word of God through the filling of God the Holy Spirit, the resultant underserved suffering at the hands of arrogant, self-righteous legalists will reap glorification for God and blessings for you.
Then in vs. 12, these persecutors not only affect you, but do harm to themselves, as they “mutilate themselves.” Paul uses the harshest piece of sarcasm in the Bible, as he expresses his true feelings toward circumcision and those legalists who contend that you must be saved by being circumcised.
“Mutilate” is a play on words related to the circumcision the Judaizers where demanding of the Galatians for their salvation. It is the Future, Middle, Indicative of the Verb APOKOPTO, αποκοπτω that means, “to chop off, to cut off, mutilate or castrate.”
In context, here it means that theses Judaizers will be cut off from the family of God and from having a relationship with God because they never came to salvation through faith alone in Christ alone. The reflexive Middle voice says that the Judaizers are doing this to themselves by maintaining their self-righteous, legalistic view towards salvation. They have cut themselves off from entrance into heaven and the Royal Family of God because they never believed in the all sufficient work of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for their salvation. Therefore, in the future they will be cast off into the eternal Lake of Fire at the Great White Throne judgment seat of Jesus Christ, Rev 20:11-15. This is the fulfillment of vs. 10b, where the disrupters will bear their own judgment.
“Troubling” is the Present, Active Participle of the Verb ANASTATOO, αναστατοω that means, “drive from one’s home, to stir up, unsettle, excite, agitate, or incite a revolt.” It is used in regard to stirring up or exciting people to sedition from a nation, Acts 21:23. So it tells us the intention here is to have the heavenly citizen, POLITEUMA, rebel against their sovereign, God.
Never worry about getting revenge on those that persecute you, or those who lead others into false doctrine. Their own judgments will come upon their own head and God will deal with them in due time, Deut 32:35; Rom 12:19; Heb 10:30.
Rom 12:19, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
Then in Rom 12:20-21 we see what our attitude should be towards them, Impersonal and Unconditional Love, as the rest of Chapter 5 instructs us to do.
20“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Summary of the Characteristic of “Christ Formed in You” from Gal 5:1-12.
In this list we see something of a progression in our spiritual walk, as Christ is not formed in you over night, but over many years of consistently taking in and applying Bible Doctrine.
Freedom from the Bondage of Sin to Serve God and Man, vs. 1. This includes our Positional and Experiential Sanctification. We are positionally sanctified at salvation and are to “stand firm” in that sanctification for our daily walk – i.e. our experiential sanctification.
Exercising the Two Power Options, vs. 2-4. We are to learn and apply God’s Word and have it resident within our souls, and be filled with God the Holy Spirit habitually, Eph 5:18.
Living the Faith-Rest Life, vs. 5-6. This means having confident expectation in the promises of God to live daily unto Him, being especially confident in your translation to eternal glory at the resurrection (Rapture) of the Church; the Body of Christ.
Keep Running the Spiritual Race and Finish the Course, vs. 7-9. Do not let the things and issues of this world sidetrack you from your daily walk with God. Keep going forward in His Plan, consistently growing in spiritual maturity by the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 3:18.
Reject False Doctrines, vs.10. We have an obligation to God to protect our souls from the false doctrines of this world, i.e., Satan’s cosmic system. We protect our souls by learning more and more of God’s Word and saying no to those doctrines that are counter to or not found in the Bible.
The Persecution Factor, vs. 11-12. A sign of spiritual maturity is being persecuted by others for your faith. That means that you are a bona fide witness for the prosecution, God, during the appeal trial of the Angelic Conflict. As a result, you bring maximum glorification to God and will receive rewards and blessings for both time and eternity.
Therefore, when you stand firm in the freedom Christ won for you at the Cross, by exercising the two power options of God’s grace plan, and live consistently with faith-rest, while you keep on running the race of God’s plan for your life to the end, by also rejecting the false doctrines and hindrances to your spiritual walk, including any persecutions you may face, Christ will be formed in you and you will demonstrate the Christ-like nature, which brings maximum glorification to God while storing up rewards and blessings for yourself in both time and eternity.
- The 7th Characteristic of “Christ formed in you” is the application of AGAPE – Love, which is having Impersonal and Unconditional love towards God and man, as introduced in vs. 13-14 and explained in vs. 17-26.
Gal 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
In vs. 13, we are told that God “called” us, (KALEO), out from sin and Satan’s cosmic system so that we might serve Him and one another. Our calling was to “freedom”, (ELEUTHERIA), from the bondage of sin and the world, as we noted previously, so that we could serve in an unhindered way.
But as is always the case, with freedom comes great responsibility. Here the responsibility we have is to “not turn our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.”
Freedom means that we have the right and ability to sin or to serve God and man in righteousness, whenever we desire to do so. Freedom means you have choices, you have volition, you can make decisions, etc. Freedom provides for our independence of choice.
Bondage, on the other hand, means there is only one way to do something. It means that you are constricted and controlled. And that is what sin does to man, it limits his abilities, while constantly constricting and controlling his every thought and action.
As Paul said in vs. 1, “for freedom Christ has set us free.” That means we were freed from the constricting and controlling nature that is sin and our Sin Nature. Yet, with this new found freedom, it also means that we are free to continue to choose to sin. It means we still have the ability to sin.
Therefore, Paul warns, while he commands, “do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.”
In other words, we have the freedom to sin, but we should avoid sin as much as we can. Why? Because sin has all kinds of negative affects to our soul and body, as we have noted in our study of the Book of Proverbs and the rest of Scriptures as well.
Synonymous terms for the Sin Nature.
“Flesh” here is the Greek noun SARX, as elsewhere in the New Test., that means your human nature’s ability to produce sin. The term “flesh” is used to represent that the OSN is a part of the cell structure of our bodies. It emphasizes the location of the Old Sin Nature in the cell structure of the body. Likewise, because the sin nature is related to the biological life, it is called the flesh.
“The Old Man” in the Greek is PALAIOS ANTHROPOS or “the ancient man.” It represents what is called the “old man” or “old self” in Rom 6:6; Eph 4:22; Col 3:9, which we call the Old Sin Nature. This term emphasizes the origin of the Old Sin Nature: Adam’s original sin which is perpetuated through the twenty-three male chromosomes which fertilize the female ovum in copulation. The OSN is classified as the Old Man because it originated in the Garden of Eden; it is older than anything else.
“Sin” is the singular of the Greek word HAMARTIA that generally refers to the Old Sin Nature, Rom 5:12, 7:14; 1 Cor 15:56; 1 John 1:8. The plural generally refers to personal sins. Sometimes HAMARTIA also means Adam’s original sin or even personal sins. But many time refers to our Adamic nature that tempts us to sin.
“Carnal,” SARKINOS means “fleshly, of the flesh, or belonging to the flesh.” Carnal refers to the believer under the control of his Old Sin Nature, and therefore out of fellowship with God through personal sin and resultant cosmic involvement, cf. Rom 7:14; 1 Cor 3:1‑3. When the believer uses his volition to sin, it is called carnality or being under the control of the Sin Nature. It is equivalent to life inside of Satan’s cosmic system and can result in the various stages of reversionism.
“Our body of sin” in Rom 6:6 emphasizes the Old Sin Nature’s headquarters where it resides in the cell structure of the body. Its genetic home is in the cell chromosomes.
“Corruptible man” refers to the sin nature in Rom 1:23. Corruption means the Old Sin Nature and the result of the Old Sin Nature. Man is corrupted physically, spiritually, and therefore morally.
“Corruptible or Perishable Seed” in 1 Peter 1:23 refers to the transmission of the Old Sin Nature from the male in copulation.
In addition, there are passages which describe sin, human good or evil as coming from the “heart.” The heart, or right lobe of the soul, is not the Old Sin Nature, but the Old Sin Nature always gets to the soul of man by attacking the heart. This is the Old Sin Nature influencing thought so that sin, human good and evil are motivated in the thought process of man, cf. Jer 17:9; Mat 12:34‑35, 15:19; Mark 7:21‑23.
The Biblical documentation of the Old Sin Nature is found in Rom 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam), sin (the sin nature) entered into the world, and (spiritual) death through (the) sin (nature), so (spiritual) death spread to the entire human race because all sinned (when Adam sinned).”
We all have this Sin Nature in our bodies, yet our soul is not occupied by the Old Sin Nature. The soul becomes the battlefield which the Old Sin Nature attacks and where it is often tactically successful. The Old Sin Nature resides in the cell structure of the body and is the source of all inner temptation. Therefore, all inner temptations come from the Old Sin Nature.
Most temptation comes this way, though occasionally we face an overt temptation. Nevertheless, anything that is a temptation to you must be filtered through your soul. Therefore, the Old Sin Nature works through the soul.
When Adam chose the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil,” he chose Satan’s policy, which immediately resulted in numerous things.
- Satan became the ruler of this world.
- The Old Sin Nature was created in man’s body, becoming the ruler of his body.
- Mankind became spiritually dead, and therefore under the condemnation of the justice of God, which became our new point of reference.
As a result of receiving the O.S.N, Adam began a new trend historically towards sin. This trend toward sin produced personal sin in three categories: mental, verbal and overt. Likewise, a new trend occurred toward human good and evil, producing the satanic policy.
Adam took a perfect soul and body, and by his negative volition revolted against Divine authority that resulted in the creation of the Old Sin Nature. Adam’s volition was a perfect instrument. But being free, he could reject Divine authority, which he did.
The same freedom that Adam had in perfection in the Garden prior to his fall, is the same freedom you and I have in our position of spiritual perfection as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. And just as Adam had responsibility to utilize his freedom wisely and righteously, we too have the responsibility to use our freedom in Christ wisely and righteously. That is why Paul gives the command to “not turn our freedom into an opportunity for the Old Sin Nature to lead us into sin.”
The Old Sin Nature has a threefold essence:
- The area of Strength producing human good, resulting in moral degeneracy, Isa 64:6; Rom 8:8.
- The area of Weakness, which produces personal sins and eventuates in consequent evil in the form of moral or immoral degeneration, Heb 12:1.
- The Lust Pattern that motivates sin and evil, lasciviousness and asceticism, moral and immoral degeneration, Rom 7:7; Eph 2:3. The trend toward lascivious lawlessness and the trend toward self-righteous arrogance cause tremendous conflict among believers in their soul. Those who frequently participate in this conflict fragment themselves. They think according to the world’s standards while being citizens of heaven; two polar opposites.
All believers continue to use their volition and continue to possess a Sin Nature after salvation. 1 John 1:8 tells us we continue to possess the Old Sin Nature.
1 John 1:8, “If we say, (contend, maintain, assert) that we have no sin (nature), we deceive ourselves, and the truth (Bible doctrine) is not in us.
1 John 1:10, “If we say that we have not sinned (after salvation), we make Him a liar and His Word (doctrine) is not in us.”
Since the believer continues to possess the Old Sin Nature after salvation, he is a walking grenade. However, only the volition of the believer can pull the pin of the grenade. Being tempted by the Sin Nature is not sin; only when volition pulls the pin of the grenade does the believer sin. That is why the Rebound technique, 1 John 1:9, is the first Problem Solving Device designed to recover from the explosion resulting from pulling the pin of the grenade.
The pin of the grenade is related to some form of arrogance. The multifarious manifestations of arrogance include jealousy, bitterness, hatred, vindictiveness, implacability, self-pity, self-righteous arrogance, motivational and functional revenge, slander, maligning, gossip, and judging.
No one sins apart from his own consent. Even if you do not know something is a sin, you wanted to do it and you do it, and so you are responsible for that sin. The Sin Nature is the source of temptation, but your own volition is the source of sin. Once you commit a sin, the Sin Nature controls your soul and is a stronger power than it was when merely residing in your body.
The believer sins after salvation in two categories.
- Sins of Cognizance, where temptation from the sin nature is recognized, and the volition chooses to sin.
- Sins of Ignorance, where temptation from the sin nature is not recognized as potential sin, yet volition chooses to succumb and thereby commits the sin, yet in ignorance, it is a sin.
Because of these two factors, 1 John 1:9 says that we are to confess our sins so that we are “forgiven of our sins,” (sins of cognizance) and “cleansed from all unrighteousness,” (sins of ignorance). Even though positionally our sins were forgiven for salvation when we believed in the Cross of Jesus Christ, God has established a grace policy for our experiential forgiveness and cleansing from the sins we commit post salvation. This forgiveness is not for salvation, but for our experiential sanctification and fellowship with God in our daily walk with Him. Because we receive experiential forgiveness and cleansing of both sins of cognizance and ignorance, we see the grace of God in action.
Finally, when we receive our ultimate freedom in Ultimate Sanctification, there will be no Old Sin Nature in the resurrection body of believers, Phil 3:21.
- The sin nature is the source of temptation, but human volition is the source of sin.
- The Old Sin Nature can tempt in three areas: sin, human good and evil. The Old Sin Nature cannot succeed apart from one’s consent.
- The volition guards the gate of the soul from the Old Sin Nature’s temptations.
- Therefore, no one ever sins apart from his own consent or the function of this own volition.
- Whether sins of cognizance or sins of ignorance, the volition of the soul is involved in every sin. Therefore, ignorance is no excuse.
- While the Old Sin Nature is located in the body, it must penetrate the soul for sin to be produced.
- This cannot be done without human volition’s consent.
- When the Old Sin Nature’s temptations become sin through human consent, the Old Sin Nature not only controls the soul, but the believer resides in the cosmic system. Therefore, the Old Sin Nature is Satan’s inside agent recruiting for the cosmic system.
- The believer is only pure and free from sin when he is inside God’s Power System (GPS), which means he is filled with the Holy Spirit and is cycling God’s Word through his soul. His status can only be changed by his free will function.
- When we receive our final resurrection bodies at the resurrection of the Church, there will be no Old Sin Nature in those bodies, Phil 3:21.
All of this is represented when God commands us to “not turn our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.”
Gal 5:14, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ”
Then in the second half of vs. 13 and continuing into vs. 14, we are commanded to, “through love serve one another…which fulfills the whole Law.”
As we noted above, this is the 7th characteristic of Christ being formed in us, and is the crescendo of our spiritual lives. As this verse tells us, we were set free from our sin nature and Satan’s cosmic system so that we would function consistently in the AGAPE Love of God. Therefore, we have been liberated to love.
As the rest of this chapter tells us, there are two aspects of functioning in love.
- Avoid the sins of the world, 15-21, 26.
- “Walk by means of the Spirit”, i.e., utilize the enabling power of the filling of God the Holy Spirit to advance in the Spiritual life and produce Divine Good, 16-18, 22-25.
Gal 5:15-26; “15But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. 16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”
In the list of sins mentioned in these passages, we see that our personal sins not only negatively affect our own lives, but also the lives of those around us, as vs. 15 says, “take care that you are not consumed by one another.” Therefore, if we are operating in sin, under the control of our Old Sin Natures, on a consistent basis, we are negatively affecting one another / our neighbors, and are not heeding this command to serve one another through love.
But when we operate under the filling of God the Holy Spirit, “walking by means of the Spirit,” we have the necessary power, coupled with the Bible Doctrine in our souls, to disregard the temptations to sin from our Sin Natures and Satan’s cosmic system, and instead are freed up to impersonally and unconditionally serve one another through AGAPE love.
We will see in vs. 17, that the O.S.N. and the Holy Spirit are fighting an internal battle for the mentality of our souls. This battle is won or lost based on the decisions you make, either for sin or for God. The Sin Nature and the Holy Spirit are both trying to influence your decision making, as you are the one who is responsible to make the decision, and for the decisions you make. As we have discussed, you have the liberty to choose for God or for sin. So, based on which side persuades you more, you make a decision either for sin or for righteousness.
Now this liberty that we have been given, and the extent to which we can express it, is a matter of contention among many Christians. Some think that believers must avoid any resemblance to the world, while others feel free to do much or most of what the world does.
Both are misguided. The problem on both sides of the argument is selfishness. Those who want to stand apart from the world and live in their ivory tower, usually struggle with pride. They are too arrogant to get down in the muck and mire to minister and serve others. While those who feel more freedom to do as the world does, usually do so out of selfish indulgence. They use their Christian freedom as an excuse to push the boundaries of right and wrong; they use it as a license or justification to sin.
Paul’s warning here is applicable to both sides of the argument. Yes, we have been set free. But our freedom was not given to us so that we could go out and “keep on sinning so that grace may increase,” Rom 6:1. Of course not! We were set free so that freely we could pour ourselves out for others, God and man.
As Gal 5:14 tells us, what we were bound to do by the Law, we are now free to do through AGAPE love. We can love our neighbors as ourselves not out of fear of the Law, but out of the freedom and love that the Cross of Jesus Christ has afforded us to be able to do.
As you know, when we operate in sin we have placed a binding / constricting nature upon ourselves, and we are unable to apply AGAPE love in service to others. The fact is, when we enter into sin, we have done it to satisfy some lust or desire we had for ourselves. In that instance, we have served ourselves, (our own lusts), and not the needs of others.
So, next time you are debating how liberally to apply your Christian freedom, reorient your mindset, Rom 12:1, and instead ask how liberally you can apply your freedom in the service and love of others, not yourself. When we freely love others as Christ has loved us, we are giving our neighbors a taste of the freedom that they can know in Jesus Christ. It is service through AGAPE Love, not self-indulgence, which fulfills our Christian freedom.
That then takes us to the topic of “how do we operate in freedom to serve through love?” The answer is found in vs. 16, 22-23; walking by the Spirit.
There are several Greek words used for “walking,” two are found in Gal 5.
PERIPATEO, περιπατεω in Gal 5:16, literally means “to walk or to walk around,” that is, to put one foot in front of the other to affect forward motion. It is used for literal walking in Mat 4:18. But primarily it is used figuratively, as it is here, to mean, “your life-style or conduct,” that is, your Experiential Sanctification. It is used for the function of the Church Age believer who is operating inside the Plan of God for his life, advancing towards spiritual maturity. It means the one who is going forward or advancing in their spiritual life, cf. Rom 6:4; Eph 5:2. Sometimes it is used for the way of life for the carnal believer as in 1 Cor 3:3; Phil 3:18, or the unbeliever in Eph 2:2; Col 3:7.
PERIPATEO is first used for our spiritual conduct in the Gospel of John 11:10; 12:35. It is used to express the character of a person, for example, John 1:35–36, “… John (the Baptist) … looking at Jesus as He walked … said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’” There is nothing abstract or obscure in the Bible; everything is vivid and real. God does not say, “Be spiritual,” but He says, “Walk before Me …,” Gen 17:1.
STOICHEO, στοιχεω in Gal 5:25; 6:16 means, “to march in step, to march in rank, to walk in agreement with, to function in a system, to follow a leader from the ranks.” It is used in the N.T. primarily for functioning in a system and advancing in that system to spiritual maturity. It is used for living under the omnipotence of God in Gal 5:25, in the Present, Active, and Subjunctive for the potential that we would follow the leading ministry of the Holy Spirit for our lives. In Rom 4:12 it is used for the pattern of salvation by faith in Christ that is to be applied post salvation, “walking by faith.” It is also used for following the rules of the new spiritual species we are in Gal 6:16; Phil 3:16.
We also saw the Greek word ORTHOPEDEO, in Gal 2:14, that means “to walk straight.” It was used for legalistic self-righteousness and the resultant hypocrisy of Peter and Barnabas and the Judaizers in Gal 2:14 in the Future, Active, Indicative; in other words, they would not be walking straight.
But in our verse, Gal 5:16, we are commanded to “walk by the Spirit” which is synonymous with our Experiential Sanctification and spiritual growth. It means that by the power, (omnipotence), of the Filling of God the Holy Spirit coupled with the application of Bible Doctrine in our soul, we are going forward or advancing in the spiritual life.
Here PERIPATEO, περιπατεω is in the Present tense, Active voice, and Imperative mood that is a command to continue to go forward in the Plan of God and advance toward spiritual maturity by means of the filling of God the Holy Spirit. It is a command to remain in your Experiential Sanctification which is accomplished through the avoidance of sin by means of the application of Bible Doctrine through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. And if we have sinned, we can utilize the grace of God in 1 John 1:9, by confessing our sins to restore our fellowship with God that includes the filling and leading ministries of God the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, How do we “walk by the Spirit?”
This “walking” is only made possible for the Church Age believer by first having faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, (“the Light of the world”). John expands upon this experiential walking by stating we need to “walk in the light,” which is an image of Christian faith, 1 John 1:6f; 2:6ff.; 2 John 4, 6; 3 John 3, 4.
In addition, “walking in the truth,” John 14:6 tells us that we must have the application of Bible Doctrine from our souls.
Paul, likewise, employed “walking” imagery to describe the Christian way of life. He admonished believers to “walk worthy of the Lord,” Col 1:10; 1 Thes 2:12; cf. Eph 4:1, and not “according to the course of this world,” Eph 2:2. You see one either walks according to the sinful nature, Rom 8:4; cf. 1 Cor 3:3; 2 Cor 10:3, or in/by the Spirit, as in Gal 5:16.
In addition, Paul says to believers:
“Walk in newness of life,” Rom 6:4, this means to function in the new spiritual life you have been given, to live as the new spiritual species that we are, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15.
Newness of life was first experienced by our Lord during His First Advent. Our Lord provided a new system of walking, a new system of spiritual momentum. The new life has been extended into the Church Age, where “walking” has become an analogy for the execution of the Plan of God. The fact that we can walk in newness of life means that everything we have in this unique Church Age never existed before in the Old Testament. There was no baptism of the Spirit; no new spiritual species; no universal royal priesthood; no indwelling of the God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and no 100% availability of Divine omnipotence. So great, marvelous, and fantastic is “walking in newness of life” that God stopped all prophecy in the Church Age. The only Church Age prophecies concern its beginning and its end. Walking in newness of life carries far greater power and dynamics than any system of eschatology in all of human history.
“Walk in love . . . as children of light,” Eph 5:2, 8. Paul’s own life-style stands as a model for believers, Phil 3:17; cf. 1 Thes 4:1. Paul emulated his life after the life of Christ. We too are children of God (light), and therefore, are to walk as Christ walked, with impersonal and unconditional AGAPE Love.
The command to “walk in love” means the application of AGAPE love (impersonal and unconditional love) that means application of God’s Word to say no to sin and temptations, and to apply the fruit of the Spirit as Gal 5:13-26 have instructed us.
The command to “walk as children of Light” is a mandate to be filled with the Spirit and under the filling of the Spirit learn Bible doctrine so that you later will apply it to life. This command is, as is Gal 5:16, a reference to Experiential Sanctification.
Eph 5:8, “For you were formerly in darkness (spiritual death), but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.”
Being “light in the Lord” speaks to our positional sanctification, while “walking as children of Light” speaks to our experiential sanctification. The former is achieved at positive volition towards the Cross for forgiveness of our sins at the moment of salvation, John 3:16-18, 36; Act 16:31; the latter is achieved at positive volition towards the Cross for the experiential forgiveness and cleansing of sins we have committed post salvation, 1 John 1:9.
By way of analogy:
- In literal walking, you are moving forward. In spiritual walking, you are advancing in the Plan of God for your life.
- In literal walking, you are using physical energy. In spiritual walking, you are using Divine energy, i.e., the omnipotence of God.
- In literal walking, you are putting one foot in front of the other and shifting weight from the back foot to the front foot. In spiritual walking, we shift from using our own human power to using Divine power. This is accomplished by adjusting to the justice of God by applying 1 John 1:9, (the confession of our sins, if we have sinned) and utilizing the two power options from God; the Filling of the Holy Spirit and His Word.
Eph 5:15-18 and 3 John 4, are mandates to keep walking in the Spiritual life, that means keep being filled with the Holy Spirit and keep learning Bible doctrine to keep advancing spiritually in the Christian way of life. When we do so consistently, we will advance in His Plan for our lives, 1 Thes 4:1-2a.
3 John 4, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”
1 Thes 4:1, “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification…”
As Eph 5:8 said, “For you were formerly in darkness…”
Walking in the darkness is:
- Incompatible with walking in light.
- Means operating by means of our Old Sin Nature and carnality, which is incompatible with the Plan of God.
- Christian moral and immoral degeneracy, which is incompatible with the righteousness of God and the freedom of the Christian life.
- Incompatible with the status quo of being in the light.
Yet, God is light and therefore to have fellowship with Him we too must operate in the light, 1 John 1:5-10, which means:
- Walking in the light is compatible with the status quo of being in the light.
- Walking as children of light means executing the Plan of God for your life.
- Walking as children of light means we are to become spiritually mature and invisible heroes.
1 John 2:6, gives us the precedence for “walking in the light.”
1 John 2:6, “the one who says he abides in Him (Jesus Christ) ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
The Lord Jesus Christ during His hypostatic union, (and not Old Testament believers), is our precedence for fulfilling the Plan of God in the Church Age, and walking in the light. He was consistently filled with the Holy Spirit as He applied God’s Word. He walked faithfully, relying on Divine Power and not His human power, resources or assets. Our Lord walked in the prototype of God’s Power System (GPS); we are to walk in the operational type GPS.
So in Gal 5:16, “walk by means of the Spirit,” is a command to remain in fellowship with God the Holy Spirit where we consistently apply God’s Word in faith daily. Being in fellowship is the only way we can execute God’s plan for our lives.
Walking also describes the purpose of living inside of God’s Power System (GPS); to glorify God in the Church Age. We are commanded in 1 Thes 2:12, “So that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”
The challenge of walking is found in Rom 6:4, “Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism (of the Holy Spirit), in order that as Christ has been raised from the dead, so that we too might walk in newness of life.”
We walk in newness of life because we are in union with Christ.
- Walking in newness of life means we walk in the light of the Word of God.
- Walking in newness of life means utilization of all of the invisible assets God has provided for us: The availability of Divine power; the indwelling of the Trinity; our predestination and election; our Portfolio of Invisible Assets; our universal priesthood and ambassadorship, etc.
The Faith-Rest Life is a Major Aspect of Our “Walking.”
In Col 2:6, “As you have received Christ Jesus to yourselves, so keep walking by means of Him.” That means we received Christ by faith; so now we walk by faith after our salvation.
2 Cor 5:7, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” The Faith-Rest Drill is the poise of the Christian life. It is the control of your own life under God’s plan as you constantly and consistently trust in Him, His Word and the Holy Spirit, to lead you and provide for you in all aspects of life.
“Walking” includes tolerance for one another in love.
Eph 4:1-2, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.”
To have tolerance you must first have humility within your soul, then gentleness and great patience.
Humility and gentleness are synonymous terms referring to what you think of yourself. This is the believer “who does not think too highly of himself,” Rom 12:3, and therefore is not arrogant and self-centered. Instead he recognizes that he too is a sinner and relies upon the grace of God in faith. Patience means you are longsuffering with others, giving them grace in all situations. With this right kind of balance in your soul regarding yourself and others, you are then able to “show tolerance for others.”
Tolerance is the Greek word ANECHO, ανεχω that means, “to hold up, bear with, endure, be patient with, give patient attention to.” Tolerance is, “the capacity for or practice of allowing or respecting the nature, beliefs or behavior of others.” In other words, you are not prejudice, impatient, or self-righteous in terms of your thoughts and relationship with other people. You are not judgmental towards others and are able to give of yourself when there is need, unconditionally.
This is a part of the freedom you have been given by Christ. When you are tolerant towards others you are free to love as you should. So this means operating in AGAPE Love and is “walking in love” as you apply the grace of God in the spiritual life to serve others through love.
Paul admonished believers to tolerate and love each other and to have a forgiving attitude toward each other. If you cannot endure the small irritations of everyday life, how will you be able to endure the greater trials, (sickness, persecution, death, etc.) when they come?
In Galatians, we see the reason for God’s adoption of us as adult sons and giving us the freedom that was won at the Cross of Jesus Christ, that is, “to serve one another through AGAPE love by means of the filling of God the Holy Spirit.”
In Eph 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma,” we see that this type of love is what our Lord commanded in John 15:13, “laying down our lives for others.” Just as Christ gave of Himself so that all of mankind could be saved, you and I are to walk in love, giving of ourselves so that others might be saved.
Then in Gal 5:22-23 we are told of the expression of “Christ Formed in You,” which is to produce the “fruit of the Spirit,” as also noted in Eph 2:10; Col 1:9-10.
Eph 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Col 1:9-12, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
There are nine different walks in the New Testament:
- “Walk in the newness of life,” Rom 6:4. This means that we walk into a supernatural life.
- “Walking honestly as in the day,” Rom 13:13. This is the result of being filled with the Spirit.
- “Walk by faith,” 2 Cor 5:7. This is the operation of the faith-rest technique.
- “Walk in the Spirit,” Gal 5:16. This is means by which we product AGAPE Love.
- “Walk in good works,” Eph 2:10. Our walk should result in Divine good production.
- “Walk worthy of the vocation,” Eph 4:1. Your vocation is to represent Christ.
- “Walk in love,” Eph 5:2. This is the filling of the Spirit producing impact.
- “Walk worthy of the Lord,” Col 1:10. This is walking from the standpoint of results.
- “Walk in wisdom,” Col 4:5. This is living the Christian life by means of the application of Bible doctrine to experience.
Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
These verses continue the exhortation of Paul to the Galatians, not to make their liberty from the Law a base of operations from which to serve the flesh, but rather to live their Christian lives motivated by Divine love.
The list of vices and virtues in vs. 19-23, was a common form of ethical instruction in the Greco-Roman world. Here we note the list of virtues in Gal 5:22-23 called “fruit”, KARPOS, καρπος in the singular, indicating the crop of nine qualities produced by the Spirit in those who walk in dependence on Him, Gal 5:16. Since this list also depicts how our Lord walked, this list is the manifestation of the AGAPE Love characteristic of “Christ Formed in You,” and should be seen in our lives.
This introduces the subject of the “Fruit of the Spirit” as a contrast and in antithesis to the works of the flesh that the Galatians went back to by following the Law.
The use of the word “fruit” here, instead of “works,” is due to the conception of the Christian life as the product of a new and divine life implanted in the believer. The word “fruit” is singular, which serves to show that all of the elements of character spoken of are a unity, making for a well-rounded and complete Christian life. They are the manifestation of “walking by the Spirit” which is necessary to fulfill the 7th Characteristic of “Christ Formed in You,” which is “serving one another through AGAPE love.”
The Fruit of the Spirit is what we call “Divine Good Production.” It means the righteous actions that you produce while under the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit. It means being in the directive will of God, which is only possible through the Filling of the Spirit or residence inside of God’s Power System under the enabling power of the Spirit. Whatever counts for good in our lives must be related to the filling of the Spirit. There is no effective function of good in our lives or effective Christian service apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:22f; Eph 5:18f.
Mechanically, Divine Good is produced by the “Balance of Residency” between the filling of the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine applied from the soul, Heb 13:10. The only production which counts as Divine Good is production based on something in your soul which is there as a result of grace. The filling of the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine exist in your soul as a result of grace. The production of Divine Good in the human race is impossible apart from the grace of God for your salvation, indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit and the application of Bible Doctrine from your soul.
There are three types of good in history.
- Human Good, the production of evil. It began in the garden right after the fall with operation fig leaves. Evil is the thinking of Satan, while human good is the application of that thinking. Human good is the production of the unbeliever and reversionistic believer.
- Moral Good, the observance of the laws of Divine establishment or the Law of Moses, which can be produced by both believer and unbeliever.
- Divine Good is the production of the growing or mature believer, while under the enabling power of the filling of God the Holy Spirit.
Titus 2:7-8, “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”
2 Tim 2:21, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”
Cleansing here is analogous to the application of 1 John 1:9 as a result of changing your mind away from sin and then adjusting to the justice of God where in grace you are cleansed from your sins experientially, known and unknown, when you confess them to God the Father. Without this you cannot produce Divine Good.
Only Divine good is of intrinsic value, acceptable to God and rewardable in heaven. All other forms of good are considered by God to be “wood, hay and straw”, burnt up with no lasting benefit, 2 Cor 3:10-15; cf. Col 1:9-10.
Col 1:9‑10, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Jesus spoke about our Divine Good production in the Upper Room Discourse of John 15:5-11, there He noted we must “abide in Him” which means be as He was, filled with the Holy Spirit, and have His Word resident within your soul. When you do, and grow in spiritual maturity, you will produce fruit, more fruit and much fruit. Notice in these verses that to abide in Christ to have Divine good production also requires operating in AGAPE Love.
In Gal 5:22-23 there are nine characteristics mentioned. This is not all that is produced by the Spirit, but it gives us a good idea. Remember that the context of the second half of Galatians Chapter 5 is the 7th Characteristic of “Christ Formed in You,” which is AGAPE Love. Therefore, these are all manifestations of walking by the Spirit to “serve one another through AGAPE Love,” as also noted by “love” being the first in the list. As a result, each manifestation in this list is a form of AGAPE Love in action.
The action of “Love” in this list is then broken down into three categories for the production of the Spirit. Each category speaks to a specific manifestation of the inner workings of the Holy Spirit in your soul and has an expression towards God and mankind, as we walk by the Spirit in the AGAPE Love of God.
- The first category is directed self-ward or inward. All three of these are inside of man, they are not something you do, but something you think: love, joy and peace.
- The second category is directed outward or neighbor-ward, towards man, directed toward other members of the human race: patience, kindness and goodness.
- The third category is directed God-ward, that have an expression towards man as we have fellowship with God: faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. In other words, we maintain a right relationship with God as we exercise these characteristics towards God with the result that they positively impact man.
So now we will now explore the “Christ-like” characteristic of AGAPE Love through its nine manifestations that are the “Fruit of the Spirit.” Remember that “Christ being formed in you” is not something you do on you own, through your own human power and resources, but is the inter-working of God’s Word and the Filling of the Holy Spirit within your soul. Therefore, these nine manifestations of our transformation to Christ’s nature are created supernaturally within us by God the Holy Spirit. As Oswald Chambers notes, “Our Lord’s making of a disciple is supernatural. He does not build on any natural capacity of ours at all. God does not ask us to do the things that are naturally easy for us—He only asks us to do the things that we are perfectly fit to do through His grace, and that is where the cross we must bear will always come.” (My Utmost for His Highest.) Therefore, the list of nine in Gal 5:22-23 are not created by ourselves, but the Spirit who works mightily within us when we make ourselves available through non-meritorious faith to God’s Word, will and plan for our lives.
Category 1: Towards Self.
Love: Here it is AGAPE, αγαπη. “In the New Testament, it expresses a love that wills to initiate a relationship and show kindness and self-sacrifice regardless of whether the object of the love is worthy or even likable. Thus, it is a love that does not depend on emotional response. Rather, it is an expression of the nature and character of the one who loves.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary.)
That is why we call it “impersonal and unconditional” love. It is the love that God is, 1 John 4:16, produced in the heart of the yielded believer by the Holy Spirit, Rom 5:5. Its chief ingredient is self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved, John 3:16, and its other elements are listed in 1 Cor 13:4-8.
1 Cor 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never fails.”
1 Cor 13:13, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
As we noted above, this is the 7th Characteristic of “Christ Formed in You,” Gal 4:19, and is manifested in the following eight terms.
The first manifestation of AGAPE love is: Joy, which is from CHARA, χαρα it is used most frequently in the New Testament of joy that has a spiritual basis, for instance, “joy of the Holy Spirit,” 1 Thes 1:6. Therefore, “joy” is inner mental happiness from the power of God’s Word and Spirit resident within your soul, Rom 14:17; 1 Thes 1:6.
Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
1 Thes 1:6, “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit.”
Beyreuther also notes: “It is no accident that the words appear particularly where there is express mention of the eschatological fulfillment in Christ, of being in Him, and of hope in Him.” Therefore, joy is the way believers view the present in light of God’s plan for the future.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
The second manifestation of AGAPE love is: Peace, which is EIRENE, ειρηνη that means, “Peace, harmony, tranquility, or good health.” It is similar to SHALOM of the Hebrew. The Stoic philosophers sometimes used the word to indicate “inner peace, tranquility or peace of mind.” In its root, it means “to bind together” and was used as the antithesis to war. It is related to a condition of peace, a respite during an endless series of wars. Therefore, since Christ won the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict at the Cross, signified by the Indwelling Spirit for the believer, it means the peace we have in the Angelic Conflict due to the victory over Satan, sin and our Old Sin Nature. Thus, Jesus Christ through the blood of His Cross, Eph 4:2; John 14:27, binds together that which was separated by human sin; the sinner who puts his faith in the Lord Jesus, and God. Here it is not the peace with God which we have in justification, but the peace of God in our hearts that is defined as tranquility of mind based on the consciousness of a right relation to God, Col 3:15; Phil 4:7.
Col 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Phil 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Category 2: Towards Others.
The third manifestation of AGAPE love is: Patience / Longsuffering, which is from MAKROTHUMIA, μακροθυμια that also means, “forbearance or endurance.” It is a compound word made from MAKROS meaning, “long,” and THUMOS meaning, “passion or anger” that is in the heart or mind. In the sense of spirit it is feelings or disposition. It, as all of these characteristics, is a quality of love, 1 Cor 13:4; Eph 4:2; Col 3:12. It is steadfastness and patience toward others. It means being patient and lenient toward others even when self-vindication may seem justified. Therefore, it speaks of the steadfastness of the soul under provocation. It includes the idea of forbearance and patient endurance of wrong under ill-treatment, without anger or thought of revenge. It does not mean simply to put a cork on your temper; it means much more than that. It means stability of temper.
The fourth manifestation of AGAPE love is: Kindness / Gentleness, which is from CHRESTOTES, χρηστοτης which refers to “goodness, uprightness, kindness, mercy, or generosity.” Gentleness is the mental attitude of grace which expresses itself in kindness toward others. It is a quality that should pervade and penetrate the whole nature. It can mean several things like, a kind act or kind deed, saying the right thing at the right time, or saying something that is encouraging or helpful. There are also times when kindness/gentleness means to keep your mouth shut, if what you are going to say will be hurtful or slanderous. As our example, God shows us kindness representing His grace applied toward man, Eph 2:7ff; Titus 3:3-4. Therefore we too are to “clothe ourselves” with grace orientation, (kindness), towards others, Col 3:12.
The fifth manifestation of AGAPE love is: Goodness, which is from AGATHOSUNE, αγαθωσυνη that means “goodness or kind actions,” and simply implies generosity. It is similar to CHRESTOTES, but yet different. It was not used in classical Greek and first appears in the Septuagint. The word is formed from the adjective AGATHOS, meaning “good,” plus the suffix SUNE which denotes quality. Therefore, it refers to that quality in a man who is ruled by and aims at what is good, namely, the quality of moral worth. It is used this way in Eph 5:9, 2 Thes 1:11, Rom 15:14.
Like CHRESTOTES the word “goodness” is an overt activity of grace toward someone else that stems from the mental attitude of grace. Goodness means to do something which comes from the motivation of grace, and only from the motivation of grace, with special reference to generosity. It means to do something which is beneficial for someone else because of grace; they do not earn it or deserve it, but you still do it for them. Therefore, it is a manifestation of the “fruit of the light” in Eph 5:9, as a quality properly belonging to believers, Rom 15:14, which comes from a relationship with God, cf. 2 Thes1:11.
In comparison, CHRESTOTES primarily involves mildness or gentleness, a description of how you act towards others, where AGATHOSUNE speaks to moral perfection and holy righteousness, a description of the act itself.
Category 3: Towards God.
The sixth manifestation of AGAPE love is: Faithfulness / Faith, which is from PISTIS, πιστις that can mean, “Faith, trust, trustworthiness, reliability; confidence, assurance, conviction; belief, or even Bible doctrine.” It denotes the trust one has in another, but it also indicates the trustworthiness, or reliability of someone, as it does here. Here it does not refer to faith exercised by the saint, but to faithfulness and fidelity as produced in the life of the yielded Christian by the Holy Spirit. It means faithfulness or the expression of faith; faith-rest in action, especially referring to one’s relationship with God as expressed through your actions to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Cf. Eph 1:1; 6:21; Col 1:2-7; 4:7, 9; 1 Tim 1:12; 3:11; Titus 1:9; 1 Peter 4:19; 5:12; Rev 2:10
The seventh manifestation of AGAPE love is: Gentleness / Meekness. In Gal 5:23 we have the Greek word PRAUTES, πραυτης that was used by Greek writers to refer to the qualities of “mildness, gentleness, and meekness” in dealing with others. It can also mean, “humility.” Humility is that inner quality identifying the child of God, cf. Mat 5:5; Titus 3:2; 1 Peter 3:4.
1 Peter 3:4, “Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”
The words “gentleness and meekness” do not mean what most people try to make them mean, self-effacement. Instead it is a mental attitude of grace, recognition of the principle of grace, thinking grace, realizing grace and knowing grace. It is having genuine humility where you have no illusions about yourself and where you do not deal with the human race on the basis of merit. Gentleness/Meekness means to think, to understand before God that you are not worth anything and neither is anyone else; that we are all here by the grace of God. Therefore, as a “fruit of the Spirit” in the believer’s life, it is an inner quality characterizing an entire life-style, cf. James 3:13. In Gal 6:1 and 2 Tim 2:25, we are given the application of this God-ward mentality expressed towards our fellow brethren.
James 3:13, “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.”
The eighth manifestation of AGAPE love is: Self-control / Temperance, which is from the Greek noun EGKRATEIA, εγκρατεια that means “possessing power, strong, having mastery or possession of, continent, self-controlled.” It expresses the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites. The Stoics understood the concept as someone having control over all things and maintaining personal freedom in spite of anything that sought to deprive him of it. Philo, a Jewish philosopher in Egypt during the time of Christ, used this word to signify restraint in relation to bodily desires, especially sex, food, or idle chatter. This characteristic is a result of the indwelling of the Spirit, not primarily the willpower of the believer, cf. 2 Peter 1:6. In 1 Cor 7:9, it is used of the control of sexual desire. In 1 Cor 9:25, it is used of the control of the athlete over his body and its desires, during his training for the stadium athletic games. So it refers to the mastery of one’s own desires and impulses of any sort or kind.
The context in which this word is found will indicate what particular desire or impulse is meant, if one is referred to. So EGKRATEIA refers to applying God’s Word in faith with the filling of the Holy Spirit to lead you to have self-restraint from the giving over to the temptations of your OSN or Satan’s cosmic system, so that you maintain your fellowship with God. This fulfills Gal 5:17, “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
Then in the second half of vs. 23, we have the phrase “against such things there is no Law,” which is an understatement and is used for rhetorical effect. This mild assertion has the effect of an emphatic statement that AGAPE Love, as manifested in the list of nine in vs. 22-23, fully meets the demands of the Mosaic Law.
“Against such” means when you have these things in operation, i.e. the filling of the Spirit producing Divine Good through you, “there is no law.” When you are filled with the Spirit, you are on a higher plain, a higher law. You are executing a supernatural way of life by supernatural means. That is why Rom 10:4 says that the man who is saved is not under the Law, “Christ is the end of the Law for all who believe.” That is why the Mosaic Law is not a part of the Christian way of life, and that is why we have in Rom 8:2-4 a new law, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”
Rom 8:2-4, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Then in vs. 24, we have; “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus” is every member of the human race who has believed on the Person and Word of Jesus Christ, all believers.
“Have crucifying the flesh” is the Aorist, Active Indicative of the verb STAUROO with the Noun SARX.
This phrase does not mean we have taken some action(s) to make ourselves stop responding to the temptations of the world and our Sin Natures. It means what we have received as a result of our faith in the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. The key here is “have crucified.” In the Aorist tense it refers to a point of time when we believed. At the moment we believed in Jesus Christ, we have crucified the flesh. It speaks to our Retroactive Positional Truth or identification with Christ in His death for the payment of our sins.
The “flesh,” once again, is our Old Sin Nature, and “passions and desires” are the lust patterns coming from the temptations of our Old Sin Natures.
To be crucified means death. As Romans 7 tells us we have died to our sin nature. Therefore, believers crucified that evil nature with its passions and lusts, in the sense that when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus as Savior, we received the actual benefits of our identification with Him and His death on the Cross. Our faith in the Cross broke the power of the sinful nature over our lives. That is, the victory over sin which the Lord Jesus purchased for us at the Cross is made actual and operative in our lives, as we yield to the Holy Spirit and trust Him for that victory.
This is the twofold ministry of the Holy Spirit for the believer; He first makes functional Christ’s victory over sin in our lives, and secondly utilizes that victory so that we can produce His fruit, (Divine Good). But He can only perform both of these ministries when we, the believer, place our self under subjection to Him in faith. Our initial faith that resulted in the crucifixion of our “passions and desires” as an unbeliever, is followed by our new life in Christ that freely recognizes we have died to those things, and in faith, say no to sin and temptations, thereby yielding ourselves to the Spirit rather than to sin.
This is a fact for all believers. Even though this STAUROO is in the active voice, this is not something we do; this is something that was done for us by virtue of positional truth. The active voice emphasizes the credit we received from Christ’s work upon the Cross as if we had done it ourselves. By virtue of being in union with Christ, this was done for us at the moment we believed. We are identified with Christ in His death, and Christ died in reference to the Old Sin Nature. That is the point of Rom 6:11, “Consider yourselves to be dead to sin.”
Remember that you do not try to crucify your flesh, (sin nature), because first it would be nothing more than a human work which is evil in God’s eyes, and secondly because the fact is you cannot do it anyway. As Rom 6:11 said, you can only “consider” it, which means to apply the doctrine of Positional Truth and realize that you no longer are under the total control of your sin nature and can make decisions for righteousness. That is the exhortation of the next verse.
Vs. 25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
“Living by the Spirit” is Retroactive Positional Truth, and “walking by the Spirit” is our Current Positional Truth, walking in righteousness experientially.
Retroactive Positional Truth, means that prior to your salvation you were bound / married to your sin nature / “the flesh,” Rom 7:1-2. But now, through the Baptism of the Spirit, based on the death of Christ, God the Father legitimately divorced you from your bond to the flesh, sin nature, and placed you in a new life betrothed to Christ. Baptism means identification with someone or something. Through baptism you were identified with Christ’s death on the Cross, Rom 7:3-4. Retroactive P.T. is the backward-looking work of Christ on the Cross where He paid the price for every sin.
Current Positional Truth, is identification with Christ as He is seated at the right hand of the Father in His resurrection, ascension, and session, Rom 6:5; Eph 2:6.
Rom 6:5, “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death (and we have), certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.”
This tells us that our eternal relationship with Christ is accomplished by this conditional sentence. In other words, if we have retroactive positional truth, then we have current positional truth.
Eph 2:6, “And raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Both “raised,” SUNEGEIRO, and “seated,” SUGKATHIZO are in the Aorist tense which views the entirety of the action. They have already happened.
Therefore, the Baptism of the Spirit puts us in permanent relationship with God; we are “raised” or set apart forever in Christ Jesus. This is our Positional Sanctification. It is related to the imputation of Divine righteousness by the justice of God at salvation through the Baptism of the Spirit, 2 Cor 5:21; Rom 6:5-10, placing us in union with Christ, giving us eternal life, as we have been created as a new spiritual creation, (new spiritual species).
2 Cor 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Now with newness of life, as a new spiritual species we are qualified to walk by means of God the Holy Spirit for our experiential sanctification, as we have noted previously in the outline of “walking.”
So, Paul is reminding believers that if they have been made alive by the Spirit, which they have, they are also to walk by the Spirit, which means functioning inside of God’s Power System (GPS) that also speaks of our Experiential Sanctification.
It tells us that the Spirit leads and we are to follow, where it emphasizes our walking, not with PERIPATEO as in vs. 16, but with the Present, Active, and Subjunctive of STOICHEO, στοιχεω that means to “march in order.” That is, we are to get in line with Him and keep in step with Him.
The verb is also used of those who walk in “the steps of the faith of Abraham” by believing as he believed, Rom 4:12, and by having confidence in their Positional Sanctification, Gal 6:16, for Experiential Sanctification. It means “keep in step with the Spirit,” do not run ahead and do not lag behind, but be in lock step with Him. This involves application of the Word, prayer, worship, praise, and fellowship with God’s people.
Paul then wraps up this discourse in Chapter 5 in vs. 26 by reminding us of the detrimental effects sin has on our lives and the lives of others, so that we will avoid the temptations of our flesh and instead walk by means of the Holy Spirit to produce Divine Good.
The analogy of the cultivation of the fruit is important. Paul warns us that there has to be a right environment before fruit will grow. Just as fruit cannot grow in every climate, so the fruit of the Spirit does not grow in every believer’s life or in every church. Fruit grows only in an environment blessed with an abundance of the Spirit and the Word.
To produce the fruit of the Spirit by walking in unison with the Holy Spirit also means “pulling out the weeds” and “pruning the branches” so that the seed of the Word implanted in us can take root, grow and bear fruit. The self-righteous, legalistic and arrogant Judaizers were anxious for praise and approbation, which led them to inordinate competition and division. Fruit can never grow in that kind of environment.
Also, keep in mind that the fruit of the Spirit is produced to be consumed by others, not to be admired and put on display. As Warren Weirsbe notes, “People around us are starving for love, joy, peace, and all the other graces of the Spirit. When they find them in our lives, they know that we have something they lack. We do not bear fruit for our own consumption; we bear fruit that others might be fed and helped, and that Christ might be glorified. The flesh may manufacture “results” that bring praise to us, but the flesh cannot bear fruit that brings glory to God. It takes patience, an atmosphere of the Spirit, walking in the light, the seed of the Word of God, and a sincere desire to honor Christ. In short, the secret is the Holy Spirit. He enables us to fulfill the law of love, to overcome the flesh, and to bear fruit. Will you yield to Him and let Him work.” (Weirsbe, Bible Exposition Commentary – Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Free (Galatians).)
And as we have noted in this chapter, if you are to have “Christ Formed in You,” then you must:
- Live in your freedom from the bondage of your sin nature, sin and Satan’s cosmic system, which Jesus won for you at the Cross, 1.
- Apply the two power options of God’s Word and the Filling of God the Holy Spirit in your soul, 2-4.
- Have faith that eagerly waits on God, believing and trusting in God and His Word in all areas of your life, i.e., having faith-rest and living the faith-rest life, 5-6.
- Keep running the spiritual race and finish the course, 7-9
- Reject all False Doctrines to protect your soul, 10.
- The Persecution Factor, which brings maximum glorification to God, 11-12
- Have AGAPE Love for your neighbor by walking by means of the filling of God the Holy Spirit with the result that you produce the Fruit of the Spirit, (Divine Good Production), 13-26
And as 1 Cor 13:13 tells us, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Gal 5:14, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”