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Life and Leading by the Spirit of Love

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Walk by the Spirit

16 But I say, vwalk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify wthe desires of the flesh. 17 For xthe desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, yto keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are zled by the Spirit, ayou are not under the law. 19 Now bthe works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, cdivisions, 21 envy,4 drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that dthose who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But ethe fruit of the Spirit is flove, joy, peace, patience, gkindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 hgentleness, iself-control; jagainst such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus khave crucified the flesh with its lpassions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, mlet us also walk by the Spirit. 26 nLet us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. [1]

Paul is defending the core of the Gospel.  A lot of the early reformers used Galatians.

Paul’s boldness is rooted in love.

Problem:  There is a group trying to influence the church to add to the gospel works.  Specifically the work of circumcision.

Paul first talks about his authority as an apostle.  One who received revelation direction from Christ.  Affirmed by the other men.  Also his confrontation with Peter – that he was willing to publicly confront Peter for the gospel.

Contrasts the two covenants.  Two mountains and two women.  That the true son of Sarai was the true recipient of the covenant.

Ends Chap 6with our boasting can only be IN THE CROSS.

Can’t understand the fruits of the spirit without understanding the first 5 chapters.  We all stand before the cross first.

Galatians 5:

Vs 16:  The Freed.

We are now enabled to walk and live by the spirit.  It is not physical or spiritual works that we can do before God.  The gift of faith in love is what counts.

We are free in Christ so we can die to ourselves.

Our standing before God is only made possible as righteous in Christ.

Circumcision by the very power of Christ.  This is hard work!

Vs. 17-18  The War.

We have to acknowledge that there is a war going on.   (Rom 7 too)

Either I am my own God – or God is God.

Either myself or the lordship of Jesus Christ.  There is no neutrality in this.  CS Lewis – “Jesus was either lord, liar, or lunatic.”

We are never left nor never forsaken by Chrst.  Because of His work in us, He can never forsake himself.

There are struggles in our lives.  But if we are lead by the spirit then we are never under the law.

Specifically – we are not under the curse of the law.  Anyone who tries to fulfill the law – will fail.

He is the victor over life, death, the curse, and death in us.  “Sin will always take you farther than you wanted to go.”

The Acts (of the flesh).  Vs. 19-21

The list has a few key points – the way the flesh works out its own glory.

The devil did not make you do it – anything.  It could happen – but not likely.

It’s not that we don’t love God… we love ourselves more!  Pleasure in place of God.

Love your neighbor as yourself!  This list loves self at the cost of loving others.

Sexual immorality ->  idolatry…  selfishness, envy of Paul for the gospel, etc.

Four major groupings…

  1. sexual
  2. religious
  3. relational
  4. intemperant

Mostly – “Being my own God feels better”

“Free to be what I want to be”  is the real root.

The Fruit.  Vs. 22-23

The fruit of the spirit is singular… they are a package deal.  Blessings rewarded/received –or- we pull up our boot straps.

The law shows us our sin, also the fruit shows us our deep need for mercy for Christ – at the cross.  Only the fruit of the spirit can change us from the inside out.

This is the exclusivity of Christ.  Rather than our works – it the fruit of Christ in the indwelling. 

We cannot allow our earthly sense of the fruits to confuse us.

Joy is not the same as happiness.  Joy is deeper and permeates.  It doesn’t come from within – but from with-out as a gift.

To try to divide these eight things doesn’t work,  It is a package deal.  (Ritterhouse commentary.)

This is NOT a character count list.  The fruit is not a new law, but the result of a life in Christ.

The Cost.  Vs. 24-26

We ARE the new creations in a real kingdom of God.

Since we are to live by the spirit – we must be founded on the spirit.

This is what contrasts the law from grace.  “Do we have to do the fruit of the spirit?”  No – we want to do them.  Paul makes this clear… the winner is clear, Christ is victor in our lives.  We then want to live for him, we want to do the things we are called to do.

The spirit regenerates our lives.  Hermaneutic of love… self-giving love.

Self-giving love for the other.  We don’t know each other – so we are called to break down the divisions.


Paul is saying – “become what you are”  It is written to the entire corporate body.  Not human hands but by God.  Our flesh may rage – and it will – and our affections wane/soar – it is Christ who reigns.

A kingdom of love – a city on a hill – by the work of the Holy Spirit.


v ver. 24, 25; Rom. 8:4; See Rom. 13:14

w Eph. 2:3

x Rom. 7:23; 8:5–7

y Rom. 7:15, 18, 19

z Rom. 8:14

a See Rom. 7:4

b 1 Cor. 3:3; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; James 3:14, 15; [Matt. 15:18–20]

c 1 Cor. 11:19

4 Some manuscripts add murder

d [Col. 3:6]; See 1 Cor. 6:9

e [Rom. 7:4; 8:5; Eph. 5:9]

f See Rom. 5:1–5; Col. 3:12–17

g 2 Cor. 6:6

h Eph. 4:2

i Acts 24:25

j 1 Tim. 1:9

k [ver. 16]; See Rom. 6:6

l Rom. 7:5

m [ver. 16]

n Phil. 2:3

[1]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ga 5:16-26.

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