Your old self keeps wanting to drag you back into sin. Be reminded of your continual need for Christ.
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Galatians 5 (ESV)
1 For freedom Christ has set us free;
stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that
if you accept circumcision,
Christ will be of no advantage to you.
3 I testify again
to every man who accepts circumcision
that he is obligated to keep the whole law.
4 You are severed from Christ,
you who would be justified by the law;
you have fallen away from grace.
through the Spirit,
for the hope of righteousness.
6 For in Christ Jesus
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,
but only faith working through love.
7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you.
9 A little leaven
leavens the whole lump.
10 I have confidence in the Lord
that you will take no other view,
and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is.
11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted?
In that case the offense of the cross has been removed.
12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers.
Only do not use your freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another.
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
if you bite and devour one another,
watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say,
walk by the Spirit,
and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,
and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh,
these are opposed to each other,
to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
if you are led by the Spirit,
you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident:
sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things
will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus
have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
5 If we live by the Spirit,
let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
26 Let us not become conceited,
provoking one another,
envying one another.
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Galatians 5 Summary
Remember the overall context of Galatians: Christians are people who
first believes in Christ,
then are immediately justified before God,
then proceed to keep God’s law.
But the Galatians were messing this order up. The way they understood it was that Christians:
first believe in Christ
keeps the law of God the best he can,
and then they are justified depending on how well they did.
The Galatians had been told they needed to comply with all sorts of Old Testament laws and rituals like circumcision in order to stay right with God. We may not be hugely tempted to rely on those customs, but if we're not careful, we begin to think that like our church attendance, volunteer work or other good things are requirements that our salvation depends on.
Paul wrote this letter to disavow this idea in the strongest terms possible, telling the circumcisers that they might as well go all the way and emasculate themselves (v12)!
He makes it as plain as possible in v1:
For freedom Christ has set us free
Yet this chapter also makes clear that we're not to selfishly waste this freedom, rather we must use our freedom... to serve one another (v13).
A little leaven leavens the whole lump (v9).
I'm confident that of all the problems we have amongst us, trying to earn our salvation isn't near the top of the list.
That's the problem.
Often times it's the little sins, which are easily ignored, that suddenly permeate our entire lives, in the way that a tiny bit of yeast quickly works its way through an entire batch of dough.
Once again you have a big reminder to read books like Galatians often, so that you're continually reminded of your total reliance on Christ, and that the evidence of this reliance is good Spiritual fruit.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful and mighty. He not only is like these attributes, He defines them. He is them (v22).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify sinful desires (v16).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: