James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.Galatians 5:1-6:18
In applying the doctrine Paul urges his readers to stand fast in the liberty of Christ (Galatians 5:1-12), but in doing so not to abuse that liberty (Galatians 5:13 to Galatians 6:10). He mentions four ways in which it may be abused:
1. Uncharitableness (Galatians 5:13-15) 2. Uncleanness (Galatians 5:16-25) 3. Pride (Galatians 5:26 to Galatians 6:5) 4. Selfishness (Galatians 6:6-10) The first-mentioned warning or exhortation speaks for itself. They were to cease contending on this matter and everything else, and live in peace.
The second is important as showing that sins of the mind (Galatians 5:20), as well as of the body (Galatians 5:19; Galatians 5:21), are classified as of the flesh; that the practice of such sins eternally disinherits (Galatians 5:21), and that the Holy Spirit is given to believers for the purpose of overcoming them (Galatians 5:17). Read this last verse in the Revised Version and see the different construction put upon the word “may” instead of “can” in the last phrase.
The “pride” referred to in the third instance is spiritual pride; in which connection note the contrast between Galatians 5:2 and Galatians 5:5 of chapter 5. The Greek word for “burden” is not the same in both cases and the statements are not contradictory. In the first instance Paul tells them to bear with others’ “burdens” of infirmity in sympathy; and in the second, that self- examination will make them feel they have enough to do with their own “load” of sin without comparing themselves boastfully with their neighbors.
What in the fourth place is called selfishness, might be equally described as parsimony. Galatians 6:6 seems to refer to the care they should evince for their spiritual teachers in their temporal concerns; and the reference to “sowing and reaping” in the following verses primarily alludes to the same thing.
In closing the lesson note Galatians 6:11 for its bearing on 2 Thessalonians 3:17. “How large a letter,” really means “with what large letters.” The apostle, as was stated in the treatment of 2 Corinthians, had a serious affliction of the eyes, a common disease in the East, which caused him to usually dictate his letters. He seems to have had no amanuensis at hand just now, but the urgency of the situation at Galatia made it necessary to write to them with his “own hand,” even though with pain and difficulty.
1. From the positive side, what application does Paul make of this whole epistle?
2. From the negative side, what obligations does he lay upon his readers?
3. What three great facts about sin are taught in Galatians 5:16-25?
4. Explain the twofold use of “burden” in chapter 6.
5. To what particular sin does Galatians 6:7-8 refer?
6. How would you explain Galatians 6:11?