Galatians 5:21-26
Gal 5:21 (KJB)
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Envyings - jealousy which is always in a negative connotation - It was the envy of the Pharisees and Scribes that delivered Jesus to the Romans. They did not want anyone else being chief among them. (Mark 15:10 KJV) For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. Envy of others, especially those in leadership positions in a church can lead to dire consequences. We must learn to be satisfied where the Lord has placed us and if it is His will, then we may be placed in those positions but envy is not the door to promotion, it is the door to disaster.
Murders - Anyone who kills another person not out of self-defense or in war is guilty of murder. Not only can we physically murder someone but one can also murder a person’s character with false stories. Throughout history the true believers have always been subject to being murdered for their belief especially during the inquisition by the Roman Catholic Church.
Drunkenness - Intoxication or strong drink - This is one of the subjects which also divides Christians. Many Christians feel it is fine to drink and they do it. The Bible teaches us that we are to abstain from all appearance of evil and walking around with a beer in your hand is imitating the world and its ways. Some Christians feel it is okay as long as you don’t get drunk but drunkenness occurs when you cross a line in drinking alcohol. That line could be 3 or 4 beers when you get to a point when the alcohol takes over. The Bible warns us not to even look at the wine in the glass, never mind drinking it. (Prov 23:31-32 KJV) Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. {32} At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Revellings - A feast connected with the false god Bacchus which ended up with people going to the streets with torches and music. This feast goes on today and we know it as Mardi Gras in New Orleans where Bacchus is the main god. There are parades, floats, and processions involved. However, the principle can be transferred to local feasts and gatherings. Have you had a Super Bowl party at your church? If so, where were the Bibles when the TV was on? Was the church designed for parties or for the place where believers come to grow in the faith?
Paul tells the Galatians that all those who partake of these things will never inherit the Kingdom of God. He means that while these people are still in the flesh, they cannot be part of the Kingdom of God. These show a distinction between God’s people and the people of the world. Now from these people God does save some of His Elect. (1 Cor 6:10-11 KJV) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. {11} And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Gal 5:22 (KJB)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Fruit - Outcome, offspring, or produce
Those who are truly saved will definitely exhibit the following spiritual characteristics.
Love - This is the Agape love of God which is the unconditional, self-giving, and self-sacrificial love. We see this first and foremost in the Lord Jesus Christ who gave His life for the salvation of the Elect. Then we see this love in missionaries who give everything they have to bring the gospel to foreign lands at the risk of their own lives. This is the love that all Christians should be exuding toward the unsaved knowing their fate if they do not become saved and it should be given especially to other Christians, regardless of denomination.
Joy - It is the inward gladness of the believer which is not affected by outward circumstances. A person can be happy but then something may happen where they will lose their happiness but joy is a steady inward condition of the believer, even when the body on the outside is hurting.
Peace - Harmony or tranquility - Probably the greatest example of peace is that through the Lord Jesus Christ, the believer now has peace with God. (Rom 5:1 KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Notice the passage states “justified by faith.” This is what Paul had been emphasizing to the Galatians. In other words, those who are still keeping the law do not have peace with God, instead they are still at enmity with God. This peace also allows Christians to live in harmony with each other and even to be at peace with our enemies. (Rom 12:18 KJV) If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. This peace is most visible when times get tough and the Christian remains in a peaceful state when those around him or her are all filled with anxiety.
Longsuffering - Patience or forbearance - This trait gives the Christian the ability to be patient where others are hurrying forward. It also allows Christians to be patient with other Christians plus the ability to wait on God when His timing is not ours. Long suffering is also a major trait of God concerning salvation. God is patient to work out His salvation plan. He is not willing that any of the Elect of God should perish but that they should all come to repentance. (2 Pet 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. He will wait until the last one becomes saved that He has named before the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:8 KJV) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Longsuffering is also a trait which helps us bear up under persecution.
Gentleness - Kindness or mercy - This trait helps us to be kind to others when they are unkind to us. It helps us understand that the unbeliever is still walking opposite of God and does not possess the ability to be kind all the time. As believers we can show the compassion of God by showing kindness to others.
Goodness - A person who is basically ruled by goodness and takes aim at the good in all things. The word also takes into account the generosity of a person. This person does not fear to give money and themselves to help in a situation.
Faith - This is the ability to believe God when the conditions say don’t. In this usage it carries with it the meaning of “faithfulness.” The believer is faithful in their dealings with the Kingdom of God and also with those out in the world.
Gal 5:23 (KJB)
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Meekness - Gentleness or humility - This is the trait a Christian exudes when those around him are arrogant or self-serving. The false teachers in Galatia would not have had this trait because they would have been proud of their knowledge of the law and their ability to draw people after them. Humility is the ability to allow others the prominent place when you worked as hard as they did.
Temperance - Self-control - This is the trait that allows a Christian the strength not to strike back or verbally respond to an attack. The temptation is always there to respond according to worldly ways but temperance allows us to live a consistent peaceful life. This does not mean we never respond to a situation but if we do, it is done in a very civil manner, keeping in mind our testimony.
Paul states that these seven spiritual characteristics cannot be legislated against. The law has no prohibitions against being good or acting in concert with our Christian testimony. We may be attacked for doing good as the old adage goes, “no good deed ever goes unpunished.” We just do good and leave the results to God, no matter how misunderstood we are.
Gal 5:24 (KJB)
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Affections - Passions or sinful desires
Lusts - Desires, longings, or cravings
Those who are true Christians have crucified the flesh with all it sinful desires. Crucifixion means total death to the things of the world. When someone was crucified, they were unable to move or come off the cross until they died and then they were removed. This passage is telling us that the Christians must reject the things of the flesh that we used to look forward to in our unsaved lives. This means those desires have been put to death. (1 Cor 15:31 KJV) I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. The Christian must die daily to the things that would cause him to go astray or else it could lead them back into bondage. This is what the Galatians had to learn, that they could not engage in the things of the law and still try to maintain the outlook of justification by grace alone. Eventually, the keeping of the law would drag them back under bondage.
Gal 5:25 (KJB)
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Since we have been saved by grace alone, then we are to walk (live) in the spiritual life and not try again to go back under the law. The Galatians could not live under two systems because eventually the law would pull them back under bondage,. Paul is stating that since salvation was by free grace alone, then we must never give the appearance that we must do something to achieve salvation. We receive salvation by the hand of God and therefore we give all glory to God for His wonderful salvation. For if we could keep the law for salvation, then all glory would go to us for being a perfect person with the ability to obey God perfectly. We know that this could never happen because of our sinful nature. So instead of trying to draw people to ourselves, let us point people to God for salvation by free grace alone through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gal 5:26 (KJB)
Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Desirous of vain glory - Eager for empty glory, conceited, or having a false estimate of self
Provoking - Irritate or challenge
Envying - To be jealous of or resent
Paul warns the Galatians not to be puffed up with self-glory especially if some had a more affluent upbringing because all earthly glory is fleeting. Some may have been envious of the richer folks and it may have caused strife within the congregation. This envy would definitely lead to people provoking one another, but not in the sense of spiritual growth. It would be for the purpose of needling them and this would cause a major strife among the Christians. Paul is basically saying that all worldly glory is vain and we should never seek after it because of its corrupting, temporary nature. We are to be satisfied in the position God has placed us in. (1 Tim 6:6 KJV) But godliness with contentment is great gain. Once we realize that we have God, we will realize that we have everything and that whatever we need, He will supply. (Psa 24:1 KJV) The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Provocation and envy are two sure ways to ruin relationships and congregations.