Galatians 5:11-15
Gal 5:11 (KJB)
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
Offence - Scandal
It appears that some thought that Paul was still in favor of the idea of circumcision. Paul curtails that belief immediately by asking them if he is still preaching circumcision, then why is he being persecuted? The word persecution carries with it the meaning of being pursued and that is what had happened to Paul. Wherever he went, he was pursued by those who wanted to stop him in his proclamation of justification by grace alone. If Paul had continued to preach circumcision, then the offence of the cross would have ceased. The offence of the cross is that salvation is available to the Elect through the Lord Jesus Christ without the keeping of the law. This was offensive to the teachers of the law for if the law was now null and void concerning salvation, there would be no more reason to keep the feasts and the physical temple. This would mean there would no longer be a position for the Scribes and Pharisees, especially if the people were to abandon the Temple for the fulfillment of the temple anti-type, the Lord Jesus Christ himself. So Paul was telling them that no longer was the Temple needed and God confirmed this in 70 A.D. when General Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. The body of believers was now the temple where God dwelled. (1 Cor 6:19 KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? There in lies the offence that the Mosaic system was now voided by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gal 5:12 (KJB)
I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
Cut off - Cut loose
Trouble - Confuse, disturb or unsettle
Paul is basically hoping that these false teachers would be cut off. They were bringing confusion into the church and made an attempt to mix law and grace for salvation. This was a false teaching and Paul wanted them cut off. It is not sure if he wanted them dead or just completely run out of Galatia but whichever, Paul wanted them out of there so they would no longer be a problem in the church at Galatia. Let this be a lesson that if someone comes to your church with a false gospel, cut them off quickly before they do damage to the whole assembly.
Gal 5:13 (KJB)
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Have been called - Named or summoned
Liberty - Freedom
An occasion - Opportunity or that from which anything proceeds
Serve - Obey or be subject to as a slave
Paul now tells the Galatian Christians that they have been called to liberty, that is, freedom from the rituals and customs of the Mosaic system. On the heels of that, he warns them that this liberty is not to be used for the purpose of avoiding involvement in their Christian life. Just because a person is saved does not mean they are to walk away from Christian responsibilities in lieu of a self-indulgent life focusing on self. Remember a few verses ago I mentioned the preacher who thought that drinking highballs and women wearing mini-skirts was Christian liberty? Well that is exactly what Paul is warning against, self-indulgence. Christ died to redeem His elect for the purpose of sending forth the gospel and to make disciples and edify those already in the faith. (Col 1:28 KJV) Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Christians are not saved to play golf or Soccer on Sunday morning . We are saved to serve the Lord God and by serving the Lord God we will be serving those already in the body of believers and those who are not in yet. Christian liberty means that Christ died for us and we were freely justified by grace alone. He did not die so I could avoid my Christian responsibilities. We are to give of ourselves and of our funds to see the Word go into all the world. Even though we have Christian liberty, we are still servants of God and must be obedient servants. Christian liberty does not negate that calling!
Gal 5:14 (KJB)
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Is fulfilled - Complete or make full
The essence of the whole law is completed in the phrase “Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself.” The way that we love our neighbor as ourselves is to desire the best for them as we do for ourselves. For example, you take your neighbor out to dinner and you order a steak but you tell them they can only have a hot dog, that is not loving them as yourself. Instead, you tell them they can have a bigger steak than yours. Now the ultimate love you can show your neighbor is to hope, pray, and witness to them for their salvation. As you are saved and already in the Kingdom, the highest good you can hope for them is that they too become saved and join you in the Kingdom. Loving your neighbor may bring you some scorn but we are to overlook the scorn and persevere in bringing the gospel. Now the term “neighbor” does not necessarily mean only those living next door or in close proximity, it can mean someone on the other side of the world. You may be supporting a missionary or a ministry with global outreach, and in essence, you will be loving your neighbor.
Gal 5:15 (KJB)
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
Bite - Bite with the symbolic usage of irritate or harass
Devour - Eat up, destroy, or swallow down
Consumed - Destroy, use up or spend (in a bad sense)
Paul here is speaking about the great contention which must have plagued this Galatian church. He continues his thought from verse 14 with “but.” Paul is stating that if they do not halt all these contentions rising from the acceptance of the false teachings, the Galatian church will become consumed. The most sufficient way that Satan has been able to destroy church assemblies over the years is to cause strife within its walls. Satan knows that once he has the Christians fighting each other, there will be no let up until the church is destroyed and a separation takes place. Then you will have two congregations singing “Oh How I Love Jesus” while they view each other with contempt. Did you ever consume a meal? After you did, was there anything left on the plate? I doubt it! This is what Paul is saying that if strife continues, there will be nothing left of this church. An animal bites, then devours, and finally consumes its prey. Who in the Bible is portrayed as an animal who would do this to Christians? (1 Pet 5:8 KJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Next time your church starts squabbling, you will know who is behind it.