5:16-25 The Gospel Of Grace Changes Our Character
Memory Verse: Galatians 5:25
5:16-18 Walk In The Holy Spirit
- 5:16a The Initiator in our salvation is the Holy Spirit. When we believe in the gospel of grace we also receive the Holy Spirit. From that day on, He keeps us saved and starts to sanctify us. He also gives us a new nature that we are to walk in—to live in obedience to His will and ways.
Galatians 3:2-3, 5, 14; 4:6, 29; 5:5
- 5:16b-17a Every believer has two natures: (1) the “nature of the Holy Spirit” (life-ruling righteous desires)—to live according to the will of God; (2) the “nature of the flesh” (life-ruling sinful desires)—to live contrary to the will of God. We have an option to live by either one. Once we are saved we don’t become robots who can only do one or the other, but we have to choose daily to walk in the Spirit. There is a new “struggle” in our lives between these two opposing natures inside of us. That is why it is hard to always do right even if we want to—our sinful nature still resides inside of us. The good news is that we don’t have to heed to it, because the Holy Spirit gives us power to follow Him.
- 5:17b The two natures are warring inside of us. As believers, our new desire is to glorify Jesus and to obey the will of God. But our “nature of the flesh” is warring against those desires so that we cannot do the things that we desire to do.
- 5:16, 18 As believers we are to “walk in the Spirit” or “be led of the Spirit.” This means that we are to recognize the battle going on in us and then choose to let the Holy Spirit guide us and be our motivation to obey God’s perfect will. If we do this, then we won’t “fulfill the lust of the flesh” nor will we live “under the law”.
5:19-21 Works Of The Flesh
- 5:19a The works of the flesh are manifest in the following actions and attitudes:
- 5:19b Immorality: Adultery—sexual intercourse with someone other than your spouse; Fornication—any sexual activity outside of marriage; Uncleanness—unnatural sexual desires, relationships or activity; Lasciviousness—uncontrolled sexual indulgence. Together, these would include premarital sex, pornography, homosexuality, prostitution, etc. These are all sinful. God only approves of sexual relations between a husband and wife.
- 5:20a Religion: Idolatry—making a substitute for God or worshiping something else in God’s place; Witchcraft—to trust in spells, divination or evil spirits to see a miracle or have something supernatural happen. Together, these would mean that any time we try to replace the person or power of God, often through other religions, then we are sinning against God.
- 5:20b-21a Relationship Sins: Hatred—to intensely dislike someone so much that you wish ill will towards them or are hostile to them; Variance—strife or bitter and hateful disagreements; Emulations—jealous or hateful resentment; Wrath—fury or extreme anger; Strife—selfish ambition, or the desire to personally succeed no mater the moral cost to do so; Seditions—discord and splits instead of unites; Heresies—forming groups of people with a partisan spirit (usually following false teachings); Envyings—to spite, to resent or to be discontent because of the accomplishments of others; Murders—purposely killing another human being. Together, these shows us that “hate” as opposed to “love” is a work of the sinful nature and are “relationship sins”.
- 5:21b Substance Abuse: Drunkenness—the state of being “intoxicated” after you consume an excess of alcohol, which causes you to loose control of your faculties and behavior; Revellings—carousing, binge party or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol at parties. Together, these shows that being intoxicated by and addicted to any substances (including alcohol or drugs) is sinful and wrong.
- 5:21c This list isn’t an all-inclusive list of the works of the flesh but a general list to let us know what they are like, but anything that is “such like” these is also wrong.
- 5:21d Paul has told the Galatians before and is telling them again that they which do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. As believers, our character is changed and thus our attitude and actions will change as a result. If it never does and you are unrepentantly and habitually doing the things that is described in this list, then you are an unbeliever—you will not go to heaven. Sometimes believers will commit these sins, but they are not characteristics of who they are, and when they do fall, they repent.
5:22-25 Fruit Of The Holy Spirit
- 5:22a Believers are given the Holy Spirit who produces fruit inside of them. The “fruit” referring to singular, verses plural, shows that all of the following actions and attitudes are interconnected and symmetrical. A believer won’t obtain one of the items in the list without obtaining the others as well. All of these will grow up together as a single “fruit” of the Spirit. This is how you know it is the Spirit and not just yourself.
- 5:22c-23 Fruit: Love—good, service and regard towards another because of their intrinsic value and giving up one’s rights for another; Joy—feelings of great pleasure and happiness based on knowing God; Peace—confidence in the sovereignty of God as you go through life’s changing circumstances; Longsuffering—patient endurance through hard times; Gentleness—being friendly, courteous, considerate and generous to others; Goodness—trying to be moral and honest at all times; Faith—faithful, loyal, constant, steadfast, reliable; Meekness—humble and gentle; Temperance—controlling yourself and making the right choices. (There is no law against these things.)
- 5:24-25 How do we produce this fruit? (1) Salvation—everyone who is Christ’s—every believer belongs to Christ. (2) Crucify—we have to put to death the flesh with the affections and lusts—as believers we are warring against and crucifying this sinful nature still in us until we are fully redeemed. (3) Holy Spirit—live and walk in the Holy Spirit—as believers, we were given the Holy Spirit to obey as He changes us from the inside out.
- What are the two natures inside of believers?
- What are the works of the flesh?
- What is the fruit of the Spirit?
- Which do you desire? Is there a battle going on inside of you?
- How do we produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit?