Paul sought to move the Galatian Christians away from false teaching by his personal testimony (chapters 1-2) and a direct attack (chapters 3-4). He ends this letter by giving practical teaching Christians must follow. In this chapter he first exhorts them to persevere in the Christian faith (vv. 1-15). If they put themselves under the jurisdiction of the Mosaic Law they must obey all of it and are subject to all its penalties. The Law is a yoke that enslaves and it cannot make one right with God. Living under the Law leads away from Christ and salvation (v. 4).
The second command Christians must follow is to be governed by the Holy Spirit, not the sin nature (vv. 16-26). The idea of “walk in the Spirit…be led by the Spirit” means to by faith obey the Holy Spirt, depending on his strength to do so. This is in the context of “walking in the flesh (sin nature),” which involves being controlled by one’s sinful tendencies and inclinations. The Law is powerless against the flesh; not so the Spirit!
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- There is no hope in the Law; putting yourself under it to gain self-righteousness is a guaranteed-to-fail effort. In contrast, there is absolute confidence (“hope,” v. 5) of being right with God when by faith resting on Christ alone. Resist the temptation to depend on your works; depend on Christ!
- False teachers and their teaching cannot be allowed to be considered a legitimate option (v. 9).
- Christians are not under the jurisdiction (governance) of the Mosaic Law but the Law of Christ. The Mosaic Law can only command and condemn; Christ’s Law is written on the heart by the Holy Spirit through Scripture and he provides the ability to obey it.
- What kind of “fruits” and “works” does your life show right now? (vv. 19-23) Such will show whether you are controlled by your sin nature or the Holy Spirit.