Gracefully Truthful

Faith,Galatians,Holy Spirit,Joy,Pain

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Galatians 5:1, 16-23

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.
Galatians 5:1

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:16-23

The Original Intent

1) What are we free from according to verse 1?

In order to gain a clear understanding of this verse we must look back to what Paul has already written to the Galatians.

Paul addresses who the Galatian believers were before Christ and what they were like compared to who they are now as new creations in Christ. (Galatians 3:27-29, 2 Corinthians 5:17) He then spends time discussing how they were once slaves of the world and their own desires, but are now a child of God heirs through Christ. (Galatians 4:1-11) He then begins chapter 5 reminding them they have been set free!

Because of Jesus, they are free from the slavery of sin. Expositor’s Bible Commentary says, “It is a triumphant assertion of liberty, a ringing summons to its defense.”

Paul desires the Galatians to embrace their freedom from sin and not revert back to the bondage that once held them captive. Instead, they are to put their focused attention on serving the God who provided their incredible freedom.

The Everyday Application

1) What are we free from according to verse 1?

As I read verse 1, I cannot help but think back to what Jesus said to His disciples, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” He then proceeds to illuminate this truth by a cultural example, “A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever.” (John 8:31-36) ​​

The very concept of freedom means there must have been imprisonment or slavery at some point. Scripture teaches that we are all sinners, and you and I are either current slaves to sin or previously imprisoned. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:16) Only trusting in Jesus for forgiveness and freedom can change our status from slave to son or daughter.

Through the gift of Jesus’ forgiveness, we are each offered freedom from sin and the opportunity to live as a child of God, an heir in His kingdom. (John 1:12) What an incredible gift of freedom Jesus provides if we will only accept it!

The Original Intent

2) What does it mean to “walk by the Spirit” and how is that accomplished? (verses 16-21)

Paul mentions this idea of “walking by the Spirit” in verse 16. To better explain this, Paul explains that to be “led by the spirit” is to not live under the dictatorship of the law (verse 18). Instead, life by the Spirit means walking by the Spirit (verse 25).

Paul is unwrapping a wondrously true reality for the believers in Galatia as he helps them understand that, because of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are now under the good, kind, loving direction of God Himself, the author of freedom and satisfaction! To further make clear the distinction between a spirit-led life and an enslaved life, Paul provides a list of items considered to be “of the flesh”. (verses 19-21)

These actions are in direct opposition to walking by the Spirit; they indicate slavery and walking in the fleshly lusts of sin. Paul is calling the Galatians to look to the example of Christ to know how to live, and ultimately, allow the Holy Spirit to guide them as they surrender themselves and their desires to the God who knows best.

The Everyday Application

2) What does it mean to “walk by the Spirit” and how is that accomplished? (verses 16-21)

The thought of “walking by the Spirit” seems like a difficult and, even unachievable, task. How can we be like Christ?! Our fleshly desires are sinful and strong! (Romans 7:14-15) After all, you and I are living long after the time when Jesus walked the earth. It’s impossible to “watch” His life.

However, God gives two gifts to ensure our success in walking by the Spirit according to the way of Christ: the Spirit and His Word!

Once we accept Jesus by acknowledging our sin and receiving His forgiveness, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, whose job is to live inside of us changing our lives to look more like Jesus. (Romans 8:9-11) However, it’s not as simple as saying yes to Jesus and then going about our everyday lives, we must know and follow the voice of the Spirit. In order to understand Him and His direction for each day, we must spend time with God through prayer and meditating on God’s Word.

Practicing the discipline of setting aside time every day allows us to learn His teachings, understand His heart, and “watch” what Jesus is like in order to imitate Him. When we intentionally spend time allowing God’s words to settle in our minds and hearts, we are able to hear what the Spirit is saying to us and frees us to walk in His way.

We cannot fail if we come to Him in surrender, for He has already provided everything we need to follow Him! (2 Peter 1:3) Ultimately, the choice is ours whether or not we desire to listen to the Spirit’s voice and choose to obey. God will never force us; the choice is ours. 

The Original Intent

3) Why is the fruit of the Spirit important? (verses 22-23)

Paul does not simply remind the Galatians of who they were, instruct them to walk in the spirit, and leave them alone to figure it all out. He provided a practical list of what it looks like to walk in the flesh, but then he also provided a practical list of what it looks like to walk in the Spirit.

Paul described nine different qualities that flow naturally, like fruit from a healthy tree, out of the life of one who is regularly “walking in the spirit” and who is living in freedom. These nine attributes are the literal outpouring of Jesus in the life of a believer and cannot be “grown” on our own strength or will-power. These are fruits that can only be birthed from the seed of the Holy Spirit and His work in a true believer.

However, whether we choose to make ourselves available to the Spirit’s work in us, is up to us. As long as we refuse to be intentional in speaking with Him in prayer and soaking in His words from the Bible, we will never grow up to maturity in Jesus.

Explore GT’s Journey Into Fruitful and Journey Into Alive for more on the Spirit’s work in us!

The Everyday Application

3) Why is the fruit of the Spirit important? (verses 22-23)

I have often read through the list Paul provided in Galatians 5:22-23 and felt overwhelmed or discouraged. If I’m honest, some of these attributes are more difficult for me than others, but I’m guessing I’m not alone.

Paul didn’t provide this list so we would work relentlessly to achieve perfection in every attribute every minute of every day. He wasn’t pushing for performance. Instead, he wrote these qualities to describe the life Jesus exhibited throughout His time on earth so we could know Christ and long for the Spirit to cultivate these things in us.

Each of these attributes are fruits the Spirit develops in us as we walk by the spirit each day in surrender. These are the visible proof to an unbelieving world we are different and have been made new! When we surrender to the Spirit, He will faithfully grow this fruit in us, allowing us to be the conduits of Jesus’ love to those around us at home, at work, in our neighborhoods and churches.

We should not be discouraged by the moments we fail, but instead look to the Spirit, return in repentance, and allow Him to work in us and make our weak areas strong. The fruit of the Spirit is important because it proves our identity as God’s true children. His work, and the fruit He offers, calls us to not stay complacent, but continue to be changed as we seek after God each and every day. 

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Christmas,grow,Holy Spirit,joy,worship
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