Galatians 5

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Read Galatians 5

Freedom in Christ

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised,Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Life by the Spirit

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the fleshwith its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Go Deeper

This chapter is split into two segments: 1) the freedom found in Christ, and 2) walking in the Spirit. Finding our freedom in Christ is Paul’s first appeal in this passage. Finding this freedom enables us to walk in the Spirit. Christ is the cornerstone on which freedom is found. There is no freedom apart from Him. For believers, we depend on Jesus for freedom through salvation. We are dependent on Him to walk by the Spirit. This dependence is an abiding relationship founded on God’s endless love for us and nothing can be added to or taken away from this love. Christ offers this freedom to everyone! No one is ineligible. 

We have witnessed how broken this world is, and our own shortcomings contribute to this universal sin problem. Sin is hurtful, unjust, cruel, and wrong regardless of how large or small. God’s faultless Son (Jesus) was the perfect sacrifice that paid all sin in full. Jesus asks us to put our trust in Him as Savior (accepting His sacrifice on our behalf) and Lord (submitting ourselves to His authority). Rather than forever punishing humankind for our wrong-doing, which we deserve, Jesus Christ offers the freedom of being eternally reconciled with God to us out of boundless, immeasurable, and unthinkable grace! For those who have accepted Christ’s life, death, and resurrection on their behalf, we live in freedom (v. 1-15). 

When our understanding of freedom is set on the foundation of Christ, we walk by the Spirit (v. 16-25). Lies, temptation, hardships, and sin will vie for our heart, yet walking in the Spirit and carrying out the desires of the flesh are not compatible (Matthew 6:24). We will want to sin because we are susceptible to believe the lies spun by the enemy and this world. Yet, for those of us in Christ, our flesh has been crucified with Him (Galatians 2:20). Christ’s Spirit remains, and we can all too easily forget or ignore the Spirit’s presence. Truly sit in that for a minute. God—sovereign, infinite, glorious God—placed His very Spirit within you. Satan is not even close to touching God’s power. While we can struggle to walk by the Spirit, God does not struggle. This is all the more reason to abide in Him.


  1. What does it mean that Jesus alone is our righteousness and freedom?
  2. How are you tempted to go back into sin? 
  3. Do you understand what the Holy Spirit’s presence within you means for walking in the Spirit?

A Quote

C.S. Lewis once said the following:

“Our desires are not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Take time to confess today how you are too easily pleased, and reflect on what God’s infinite joy means for your life now and eternally.


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5 thoughts on “Galatians 5”

  1. LOVE, that tiny 4 letter word, carries a powerful punch in Paul’s words throughout this chapter:
    V6-Faith in Jesus expresses itself through love.
    V13-We are free to serve one another in love.
    V14-We are to love our neighbor as ourselves.
    V22-The first fruit of the Spirit is love.
    The only way we truly love well is by loving Jesus 1st, who then enables us to live unselfishly. Luke 7:47 reminds us of Christ’s words, “Those who are forgiven much, love much.” Lately, I’ve been struggling with and pushing back against a critical spirit in a particularly hard situation. I’m recognizing that when I go to that unhealthy place, I’m certainly not motivated by love. I’m having to take every thought captive unto the obedience of Christ. His sacrifice for me trumps all the hard and ugly places that want to take root in my heart. I’m choosing to rely on the Holy Spirit to transform my life, beginning with my thoughts, for most of all, I deeply desire the nature of Christ above my own.

  2. This chapter especially verses 16-25, capsulate JP’s new book, “Why Do I Do What I Don’t Want to Do”. Vices vs virtues; we all have things that we desire to change in our lives and his book explains how to enact this change we desire in our life. Read the book; but above all else, walk by the spirit of God living inside of you. Have a blessed day.

  3. If you have been reading this BRP and comments, then you will know that my favorite word (of which I have several, LOL) is HESED. It is the Hebrew word for God’s love for us Hesed expresses an essential part of God’s character.( Paul is trying to get these guys to remember this but now God through his son Jesus has given the ultimate sacrifice so that we have that essential part of God’s love living and abiding within us for all eternity!! WOOHOO!! BUT GOD knew we would still need a list of what not to do and what to do so here it is in black and white. LOVE with it comes so much more.

    God thank You for loving me and desiring the relationship that comes with this LOVE. God help me to defog and get my love goggles in place to see others that You so love. Thank You for words to speak that help them know You. Thank You for direction every day to be a light in a dark place. Thank You for HESED love of You overflowing in and out of me in Jesus name amen

  4. Robert Denniston

    Through Christ example we learn to love. May we all be intentional today about showing love to one another. 1 John 3:16-18 [16] By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. [17] But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? [18] Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

  5. Thank you for sharing this inspiring post! It’s amazing to be reminded that Christ has set us free and that we should stand firm in our faith. I appreciate the reminder to not be burdened by the yoke of slavery and to instead focus on faith expressing itself through love. It’s interesting to note Paul’s warning that being circumcised could nullify the value of Christ in our lives. I wonder why that is and how it relates to our faith today? How can we ensure that we are not falling away from grace and instead running a good race towards righteousness?

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