Threats to Christian Freedom: License, Part 4
Scripture: Galatians 5:13–5:24
Threats To Christian Freedom: License
Text: Galatians 5:13-24
I. Paul Defines the Nature of Christian Freedom. vv. 13-15
II. Paul Describes the Conflict of Christian Freedom. vv. 16-18
III. Paul contrasts the fruit of Christian freedom. vv. 19-23
A. A Description of the works of the flesh, vv. 19-21
B. A Warning Against the Works of the Flesh, v. 21b
What does a life look like that fulfills the law?
“All the graces of the Spirit belong together, which perhaps explains why the word “fruit” occurs in the singular. The fruit of the Spirit is one whole spiritual life that is rooted in the one Spirit of God. To change the image for a moment, these virtues are not nine different gems, but nine different facets of the same dazzling jewel” (Philip Ryken, Galatians, p. 234).
C. A Description of the Fruit of the Spirit, vv. 22-23a
1. Group 1: Love, Joy, Peace
“It would have sufficed to list only love, for this expands into all the fruit of the Spirit” (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 27, p. 93).
2. Group 2: Patience, Kindness, Goodness
3. Group 3: Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control
D. The source of the Fruit of the Spirit, v. 23b
How is such a life possible?
IV. Paul Announces the Triumph of Christian Freedom. v. 24
When did I crucify the passions and desires of my flesh?
“The word crucified is employed to point out that the mortification of the flesh is the effect of the cross of Christ” (Calvin’s Commentaries, vol. 21, p. 169).
“The flesh is not yet indeed entirely destroyed; but it has no right to exercise dominion, and ought to yield to the Spirit” (Calvin’s Commentaries, vol. 21, p. 169).
1. We do not grow fruit on our own. v. 23b
2. We can cultivate the soil in which fruit can grow.
3. The Holy Spirit is not lawless.
By the doctrine of faith, the law is also established as a rule of life to believers. According to this doctrine, it is established in the hand of the Son of God, the glorious Mediator…According to that doctrine, all believers are bound by infinite authority to obey; they are enabled sincerely to obey; they are constrained by redeeming love to obey; they resolve and delight in dependence on promised grace, to obey; and they cannot but obey the law as a rule of duty. The love of Christ, as revealed in the gospel, urges them; the blood of Christ redeems them; the Spirit of Christ enables them; and the exceeding great and precious promises of Christ encourage them to obey and yield spiritual and acceptable obedience” (John Colquhoun, A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel, p. 181).
© John Fonville
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