This Bible Study is provided by http://www.theseason.org with permission from it's author R. Christopherson.
Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
In other words, don't try to follow the precedence of the law that these legalists teach. Free yourself from them, and go directly to the Scripture. Our heavenly Father promised us the freedom that we have in Christ, and don't let some legalist bind you up in their yoke of bondage.
Galatians 5:2 "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing."
Paul is telling them to pay special attention to what he is about to say. He is saying that if you are circumcised for the purpose of religion, circumcision will not profit you anything, nor will Christ be of profit to your either, for you have placed yourself back under the law. There is nothing wrong with circumcision, but don't do it for a religious reason. Do it for cleanness and health reasons, and not for any Spiritual purpose.
The law is good, and right to follow in our lives, but if you make a religion out of any one of those laws, then you have brought all the laws down on you, and you then live under the law, and not under God's grace, which is the blood of Jesus Christ which was shed for the sins of those that would repent of them.
Galatians 5:3 "For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law."
Paul is repeating verse two here, that every person that is circumcised for a religious purpose, he is required to keep every last word of the law, and he or she will be judged by them all. When you put yourself under the law, then even the laws that are unknown to you, you will be judged on them by God.
The law is a set of rules that are good, but it is man that falls short. When you look back on your life, every time you got in trouble with a neighbor, the police, your family members, or financially more then likely you broke a law. The law is our schoolmaster telling us just what is right to do, and what is forbidden, for one reason or another. When you know right from wrong, you are saying, I know the law. There is no man that can live and keep all the laws, which include the ordinances and statutes [these include the ten commandments]. Jesus was the only person that lived in the flesh and was perfect.
However when you are not under the law, but in Christ, when you break one of the laws then through repentance it is not held against you where it counts, and that is before the throne of God. It is like running a stop light, and the police officer issues you a ticked. When you show up in court before the judge, The ticket issued by the officer has been torn up, and there is no charges against you. Without the ticket, as far as the judge is concerned you did not run the light, even though the act was committed. This is the same manner of what our freedom in Christ is. When we sin and break the law, the blood of Christ has already neutralized the act [tore up the ticket] when we show up in court. However, we must show up and this is what repentance is, for when you miss a court appearance [repentance] then a warrant is issued for your arrest, and you will stand in judgment for that violation [sin].
Repentance of your sins in Jesus name gives you the credentials to go before the throne of God, and have a fresh start. But if you for any religious reasons make one of those laws special, when you have Christ, you had better take them all in, for you have removed your credentials, which is the blood of Christ and you will be judged on them all. You are either under the grace given under the blood of Christ, or you are under the law, and it is you that does the choosing. When you teach that there is no forgiveness under a specific one of those laws, you have condemned your self under the whole law, for Christ's blood is sufficient to cover any sin that is repented to the Father in Jesus name.
Galatians 5:4 "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
"Grace" is unmerited favor, favor that you can never earn. Christ paid the price for all sin on the cross at Calvary's Hill.
Galatians 5:5 "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith."
The law will snare us, but through our faith in Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit at repentance we have complete forgiveness. That is our freedom that we have in Jesus Christ, freedom from the guilt that sin brings.
Galatians 5:6 "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
Love is the most powerful thing in the world. "Circumcision" that is done under religious beliefs has nothing to do with salvation. It is done to fulfill part of the law, so when it is done for religious beliefs, it takes you out of your "hope of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ". This is why in the time of Grace that we are now under, all circumcision is of the heart, and that is why it is for both men and women, for it becomes a spiritual matter, and not a physical act. Both male and female have an active part in serving the living God.
Galatians 5:7 "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?"
Paul is telling the Galatians that in the beginning they were doing very well in the grace and freedom that we have in Christ. Then he asks, What happened? Of course Paul knew; these false teachers came in and tried to bring their legalism into their doctrines. Through their false doctrines of legalism, and misinterpreting God's Word these false teachers were demanding them to be brought back under the acts of the law. How did they spy out Timothy, they spied him out in the john, they were a bunch of perverts.
Galatians 5:8 "This persuasion cometh not of Him That calleth you."
Galatians 5:9 "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
When you put a little yeast or leaven in a loaf of bread, it leaveneth the entire loaf and makes the whole loaf rise.
Galatians 5:10 "I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be."
Paul, being the one to establish these churches in Christ, speaks on his own behalf. Paul is telling them don't worry about that false teacher, or teachers for God knows who they are, and He will take care of them in judgment.
Galatians 5:11 "And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased."
Paul is saying that he went ahead and circumcised Timothy, just to quiet their mouths. Paul is now saying that if I went ahead and done it your way to satisfy you, then why are you still persecuting me? The act was done not for religious purposes to Timothy, but for the sole purpose of shutting them up.
Galatians 5:12 "I would they were even cut off which trouble you."
There is a lot left off of this in the good old King James version. What Paul is saying here is rather then just circumcising the foreskin, he would rather cut the entire thing off. Paul was angry with the whole tribe of legalist. The Greek is very specific on this matter. There was a religion that practices of this amongst the Phrygians in the worship of Cybele. This practice was in response to the Phrygian's misunderstanding of what Christ said as is recorded in Mark 9:43.
Mark 9:43 "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:"
Galatians 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."
Paul is reminding them that they were called as free men, to be free. You were not called to follow a bunch of laws and restrictions and have your eternal salvation depend on those laws. If that were the case, there would be none saved, but in Christ you have the liberty of your own conscience, and if you are drawn back into legalism, it is your own fault. Christ did not call you to any form of legalism.
If you ever have any doubt as to what was nailed to the cross with Christ, then check it out in Colossians 2. It will set your mind free of all the confusion that is being taught today in churches. Lets list just a few things.
By many church standards, they would have you believe that once you divorce, you become a second class citizen. That my friends, is a lie. A divorcee is not a second class citizen, because if you claim to be a Christian, and you teach that Christ paid the price on the cross for our sins, and if you are in a church system that will still put bonds on you for being divorced, or on any point of the law, then you are in a house of bondage. The beauty of true Christianity is that you are free, and there are no second class citizens in the body of Christ.
This also goes for those Christians that act like second class citizens. You do not have to lay down and let the world run over you, it is clear that we are to get along with our brother if it be possible. When the Word of God says that when someone slaps you on one cheek, you should turn the other, it is talking about when you are teaching God's Word and you upset someone even a false teacher over the Word of God, then go ahead and turn your other cheek. But when you are approached on the street and slapped for no reason, then you are to defend yourself. Christians don't have to put up with that kind of stuff. God said to love our enemy; he also said to love our children, and when either gets out of hand that is the time to set them straight and use a little discipline. It is another way of showing your love for them. If it be possible, live peaceably with all men.
Romans 12:18 "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
When an person of the world walks all over you, for no reason at all, you use what is necessary to straighten him out, and then he will respect you as a man or woman of God. Christians are not second class citizens, and when the walk gets a little tough, that is the time to show your worth.
Galatians 5:14 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word even in this; "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Many times your neighbor may not have the depth of truth that you have, then you become the mature on, and it is up to you to forgive that neighbor. In Christ we are to be patient, and love and help your neighbor. If he is a trouble maker, then love him enough to correct him. You have that right to stand up for your positions.
Galatians 5:15 "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."
In the Greek, this is saying; If you are cannibalistic [katesthio] Christian, out to devour one another. In other words, arguing for the sake of arguing is a waste of time, and it is equally not good for Christians to set out to backbite, or gossip about one another. There is a time though when it is necessary for all Christians to stand up for their principles. Arguing is not the same thing as standing up of the right of a principle, for when two Christians are at odds over a understanding of a principle, stand your ground, and respect the other Christian's position in love for the brother.
Galatians 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
Paul taught us in I Corinthians 15 that there are two bodies to man. We have this flesh body, and dwelling within this flesh body is our spiritual body called our "soul".
I Corinthians 15:44 "It is sown a natural body; it raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."
When this natural body of the flesh dies, that spiritual body instantly goes back to the Heavenly Father that gave it. It goes back whole and complete, without any of the limitations that the soul had while in the flesh. Ecclesiastes 12:7 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the sprit shall return unto God Who gave it."
You may have parts of you physical body missing in this age of the flesh, however upon your return to the Father, you will not have any parts missing, for you will return whole, and complete. So make you flesh body be in submission to you spiritual body, and when the flesh gets unruly, make it get back in control.
Galatians 5:17 "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
This is just a simple basic fact. We in the flesh simply cannot do the things that we would really like to. The flesh will cry out to do something that your spiritual nature know that it should not do. Make sure that your spiritual part of you is boss over the flesh part of you.
The majority has been wrong since the beginning of time, and it is wrong to go along with the crowd when your heart knows what is right, and according to God's Word.
Galatians 5:18 "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."
When you are under the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, then you are not under the law. Christ fulfilled the law, He did not destroy it.
Galatians 5:19 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,"
There is quite a list of these works of the flesh.
Galatians 5:20 "Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,"
Galatians 5:21 "Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
This is a very bold statement, that if anyone does any of these things, they will not inherit, or become part of the kingdom of God. They are not of our Lord Jesus Christ. But it is time to stop and think on this matter, which supercedes? and Paul is giving us a little test here. People cannot enter the kingdom of heaven EXCEPT WHAT? Except they repent.
If you came to a time where you have broken any of these things, and you did it out of your flesh nature [part of you], do you think that that would put you under the category of not being able to inherit the kingdom of heaven" Of course not, because of the law of repentance. Under repentance, once you repent and Christ forgives that sin, that sin doesn't exist any more. God has said, I don't want to even hear about it again. It is blotted out.
Paul restates this in I Corinthians 6:9 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,"
I Corinthians 6:10 "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
I Corinthians 6:11 "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
It is only in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that we have credentials to approach the throne of God for forgiveness in repentance, for it is only through Jesus' blood on the cross that we can be forgiven and become saved. Then through repentance we become sanctified, or made pure because our sins have been washed away.
Acts 3:19 "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord."
Acts 3:20 "And He shall send Jesus Christ, Which before was preached unto you:"
Acts 3:21 "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began."
Once you have repent of any and all sin in your life, then you can and will inherit the kingdom of heaven because you then have no sin. That is the liberty that we have in repentance. That is the law of repentance.
Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Romans 10:10 "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Once you have repented you are in good standing with our Heavenly Father and will inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,"
Galatians 5:23 "Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Faith makes the entire Christian walk a reality. There is no law against doing good, against love of your fellow man, and to live in peace with your neighbor.
Galatians 5:24 "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
In Christ we are to try to end those natures that exist within the flesh man, even though it may be impossible. However, when we do fall there is forgiveness through repentance in Jesus' name.
Galatians 5:25 "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
Galatians 5:26 "Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."
We are all brothers and sisters in the Lord, and when you provoke another brother or sister in Christ, you are to seek forgiveness, and forgive those that have said or done something against you. We are all one in the body of Christ, and if we claim to live in the Spirit, we should walk in the Holy Spirit and allow Him to lead us. Friend in Christ you have nothing to boast, nor any pride given to yourself, for our boasting is in Christ, and all that we have is His, not ours.
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