Explore the Bible
October 7 2018
Galatians 5:13-26 (HCSB)
The Galatians were being confronted with two kinds of living: fleshly and spiritual. They had freedom because of their relationship with Christ but they were not to use their freedom as an opportunity to live fleshly. Christian freedom is not freedom to sin but freedom from sin. As Christians we have the freedom to serve others and pursue godliness.
Paul said we are free to “serve one another through love” (Gal. 5:13). The word “serve” literally means “to be a slave.” In Galatians 4 he spoke about the Galatians not becoming slaves again. In Galatians 5 he was telling them to become slaves. Martin Luther said it like this “A Christian is free and independent in every respect a bond servant to none. A Christian is a dutiful servant in every respect owing a duty to everyone.” Our freedom in Christ is a call to oneness in Christ and to loving service within the community of faith.
Paul told us that we need to walk by the Spirit; if we do we will not carry out the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16-18). He contrasted the evidences of living by the Spirit to living in the flesh. His list related to living in the flesh can be divided into four categories: sex religion relationships and indulgences. He followed it up with a warning “Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21).
That list was contrasted with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). This list of nine virtues begins with love. The other eight are practical expressions of love. It is important to note that this fruit is not our fruit but the fruit of the Holy Spirit. When we accept Christ these are the fruit or characteristics the Holy Spirit produces in our lives. These become evidence of a person’s salvation.
Christians don’t live by the flesh because they have crucified the flesh. To follow the Spirit is to keep in step with the Spirit allowing Him to lead us and to produce godly characteristics in us.