Galatians 5

Stand fast; be firm, steadfast, and persevering.

Yoke of bondage; to Jewish ceremonies.
If ye be circumcised; that is, circumcised as a profession of your dependence for salvation on the law of Moses. Ac 15:1. It was not against the simple rite of circumcision that the apostle contended, for Timothy was circumcised under his direction as a prudential measure, to avoid the prejudices of the Jews, Ac 16:3; but against circumcision as necessary to salvation, which was the error of the false teachers among the Galatians.

Christ shall profit you nothing; for ye have left him for the law.
He is a debtor to do the whole law; for by circumcision he professes his dependence on his works for salvation, and must therefore perfectly obey the whole law. Salvation, if obtained, will then be of debt, not of grace. Chap Ga 3:12; Ro 4:4. Justified by the law; are depending upon the law for justification.

Fallen from grace; have renounced God's gracious mode of justification through faith in Christ.
We; true Christians.

Righteousness; the righteousness which God gives through faith. Ro 1:17. True Christians to the end of life depend on Christ for salvation, and expect it only through faith in him. Those who depend on their works, must through their whole lives neglect no duty and commit no sin, but in all things obey perfectly the whole law of God, or they will be lost.
In Jesus Christ; in obtaining salvation through him.

Faith which worketh by love; that confidence in him which has love for its foundation, and which leads to obedience.
This persuasion; that it was needful to be circumcised and observe Jewish rites in order to be saved.

Of him that calleth you; of God.
A little leaven; error introduced by a few false teachers.

Leaveneth the whole lump; corrupts the whole body of the church. As error begun in a church tends to increase and to corrupt the whole, it should be renounced and abandoned as soon as discovered; and all should watch and be on their guard against the beginning of evil.
None otherwise minded; that they would, on reflection, agree with him in this matter.

He that troubleth you; by propagating error.

Bear his judgment; receive punishment.
If I yet preach; that circumcision is needful to salvation, as the false teachers maintained.

Then; if he had so preached he would have agreed with the Jews, and escaped their persecutions.
Liberty; freedom for Jewish ceremonies, and from the condemning power of the law.

For an occasion to the flesh; as a pretext for the indulgence of fleshly lusts. The apostle is careful to distinguish between true Christian liberty from the bondage of Judaism and Antinomian licentiousness.

Serve; do good to one another. Freedom from the ceremonial law, and through faith in Christ, from the condemning power of the moral law, and from the necessity of perfectly obeying it in order to salvation, do not lessen but increase a man's obligation to keep it; and such freedom will secure a hearty obedience.
All the law; the requirements of the law with regard to our fellow-men. If ye bite and devour; contend with and injure one another. Walk in the Spirit; live under his influence and follow his directions.

Not fulfill the lust of the flesh; not follow sinful inclinations or comply with temptations to sin.
Lusteth against; strongly desires what the Holy Spirit forbids.

The Spirit against the flesh; the Holy Spirit and all that is right in Christians oppose the indulgence of sinful desires. Hence a warfare in the soul, and thus they do not the good they otherwise would, and which they desire to do. Compare Ro 7:15-25.
Led of the Spirit; follow his guidance.

Not under the law; as a covenant of works, but are delivered from its condemning power. No one is delivered from the condemning power of the law, or overcomes the corruptions of his heart, except under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
The works of the flesh; those to which corrupt human nature prompts, and when not restrained, produces. The fruit of the Spirit; that which he produces in those who follow his guidance. Have crucified the flesh; have, through grace, overcome the reigning power of sin, and are now habitually weakening and destroying its influence. If we live in the Spirit; if our inner life be in the Spirit; that is, received from the Spirit, sustained by him, and conformed to him in character.

Let us also walk in the Spirit; let our outward life also be in the Spirit; in other words, let it be conformed to him in character, so that our inward principles and outward conduct shall be in harmony with each other.
Vainglory; empty applause, which puffs up with pride.

Provoking one another; by claims of superiority, or haughty, imperious behavior.

Envying one another; for any real or supposed excellence or distinction. For every thing excellent and praise worthy, men are indebted to the grace of God. They have therefore no good reason for self-complacency or exaltation, but much for humility and gratitude.
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