Galatians 5:16-26

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Text: Galatians 5:16-26



A problem developed in the churches of Galatia. After Paul preached the gospel and people were saved in this geographical area, others came along and preached a gospel of a different sort.

Paul had preached that one is saved, and hence declared to be righteous, by grace and through faith. The Judaizers came along and preached that a man is declared righteous by keeping the Law. He must believe, but he must also keep the law. This, of course, confused not only the people, but confused the truth as well.

Now, don't be surprised when things like this happen. Satan is a master at confusing the truth and counterfeiting it.

In the second half of Galatians 5 we see that those who attempt to keep the law in order to be made righteous will not gain righteousness in their lives; instead, the Law produces the works of the flesh. By contrast we see that we who are justified by faith should live our lives in the power of the Holy Spirit and, thereby, have the fruit of the Spirit produced in our lives.

Paul's critics had apparently accused him of proclaiming a message which would lead people into lawlessness and into license (the idea that they are free to sin) rather than into godliness, thereby encouraging them to sin rather than discouraging them from sinning. This is because Paul taught that people were not saved by keeping the law but by believing that Christ died on the cross to pay for their sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day. He further taught that Christ is the end of the law for all who believed. Were Paul's critics right? By abandoning the law in order to be saved by faith, would people be encouraged to live sinful lives? Absolutely not! In chapter 5 Paul answers his critics regarding Christian liberty and righteous living.


Galatians 5:16-18 - (16) This I say then, Walk (i.e. be walking) in the Spirit, and ye shall (absolutely) not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (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. (18) But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

1. Living in the power of the Holy Spirit and living according to the old sin nature are mutually exclusive - 5:16-17

2. Believers are not under the law - 5:18

It means that they are not trying to attain righteousness by keeping the law.


Galatians 5:19-21 - (19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (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.

Adultery is sexual immorality committed by someone who is married. He is unfaithful to his own wife or she is unfaithful to her own husband.

Fornication is a term which is used of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse. It includes things such as prostitution, unchastity, bestiality, incest, and adultery.

Uncleanness is literally impurity, dirt, or refuse. When it is used figuratively in an immoral sense as it is here, it means immorality or viciousness especially of sexual sins.

Lasciviousness is licentiousness, debauchery, or sensuality and is used especially of sexual excesses.

Idolatry refers to worshiping idols.

Witchcraft is sorcery or magic.

Hatred is plural in the Greek text and means enmities or hostilities.

Variance is also plural in the Greek text and means strifes, discords, contentions, or quarrels.

Emulations, when used in a bad sense, means jealousies or envies.

Wrath is also plural and means outbursts of anger, wraths, or rages.

Strife is likewise plural and means strifes or contentiousnesses. It is also suggested that it may mean selfishnesses or selfish ambitions.

Seditions are dissensions.

Heresies are dissensions or factions.

Envyings means envies or jealousies.

Murders by which he means killings or bloody deeds.

Drunkenness is actually plural in the Greek text and means drunkennesses.

Revellings is excessive feastings, carousings, or revelries.

And such like means and things of the same nature as these, with these and things like these, or and things similar to these.

Of the which is which things and refers to the works of the flesh.

I tell you before is I am telling you (saying to you, declaring to you, or asserting to you) beforehand (or in advance).

As is used to introduce a comparison.

I have also told you in time past is I told you (said to you, asserted to you, or declared to you) beforehand (or in advance).

What Paul said beforehand or previously is that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. They which do such things is the ones who are doing (i.e. are accomplishing, are committing, are busying themselves with, or are practicing) things such as these.

Shall not inherit the kingdom of God means that they are not saved and will not have a future inheritance in the kingdom of God.


Galatians 5:22-23 - (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The fruit is singular and indicates that all of the things which follow form one fruit. Thus, it suggests that all of the following is produced in the life of the believer at the same time as a result of his being submissive to the Holy Spirit or of his walking by means of the Spirit rather than one part of the fruit at a time.

Of the Spirit implies produced by the Spirit where Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit.

The first fruit of the Spirit is love by which Paul means love that gives itself completely on behalf of another without expecting anything in return.

Next is joy which suggests that the individual is delighted with God and delighted with the things of God. It suggests that he is at peace on the inside or that he is basically happy.

Peace suggests harmony.

Longsuffering is a term which means suffering long and is understood as patience, endurance, steadfastness, or forbearance toward others.

Gentleness is goodness, kindness, or generosity.

By goodness Paul means generosity or uprightness.

By faith Paul means belief or trust.

By meekness Paul means gentleness, humility, courtesy, or considerateness.

By temperance Paul means self-control.

Against such is against things such as these or against such things.

There is no law is simply law does not exist or law is not. The implication is, however, that there are laws against the works of the flesh such as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like; but there is not so much as a single law against any of the qualities which are part of the fruit of the Spirit. This means that the things produced in the life of a believer by the Spirit are always right and proper. By contrast, the things produced by the flesh are always wrong under all circumstances.

All the laws in the world have had little effect on restraining sin, but the Holy Spirit restrains sin by producing the fruit of the Spirit in the believer.


Galatians 5:24-26 - (24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (26) Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

1. Believers are not forced to submit to their old sin natures - 5:24

2. Believers should walk in the Spirit - 5:25

3. Believers should stop involving themselves in sin - 5:26


So, how does one walk in the Spirit?

Ephesians 5:18-21 - (18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

(19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

(20) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

(21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Colossians 3:16-18 - (16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

(17) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

(18) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

How does one walk in the Spirit? By living his life according to the Scripture.

How does one get the fruit of the Spirit produced in his life? By living his life according to the Scripture.

As we study the Scriptures and submit our hearts and minds to them, seeking to obey them, God the Holy Spirit produces this fruit in our lives.

Let's do it. Let's determine that we are going to study God's Word to the best of our abilities for the rest of our lives, submitting our hearts and minds to the Scriptures, and be asking God to produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. What a blessing it will be to all of us! It will give us victory over sin and produce Christlikeness in our lives.

If our lives are in shambles, it will pick up the pieces for us.

Our families will benefit. Husbands will no longer be tyrants or spineless in their homes. They will not be provoking their children to wrath. Wives will no longer be unsubmissive to their husbands. Children will honor and obey their parents.

The local church will also benefit. There will be no more church fights, and the entire community will know that believers are Christ's disciples because they have genuine love for one another.

Let's do it. Let's be walking, living, or conducting our lives in the Spirit by allowing the Word of God to master us.