Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, [yes his sacrifice has made us free from bondage to sin and free from having to pay the penalty of death] and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage, [bondage to sin]
Once we are liberated from the penalty of sin, from the penalty for breaking the Word of God; through our repentance and our faith in Christ and his sacrifice; we should not come again into bondage to sin. We should not continue in sin. We should rather turn our backs on sin and start living by every Word of God.
5:2 Behold, I, Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised [in the flesh only and not in the spirit, having a cutting in the flesh while continuing in sin], Christ shall profit you nothing.
If you insist on circumcision in the flesh instead of circumcision of the spirit [heart (Deu 10:16, Jer 4:4)], you can have no part in the New Covenant: which is a circumcision of the heart, a sincere repentance and a passionate dedication to “Go and sin no more,” coupled with faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
We are to be part of a New and better Covenant as promised in Jeremiah 31!
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
This New Covenant circumcision of heart reconciles people to God:
Deuteronomy 30:6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Paul said, circumcision in the flesh is nothing, if we are not circumcised in heart to live by every Word of God. Physical circumcision is nothing without the spiritual circumcision of heart and living by every Word of God, which brings eternal life.
It is sincere repentance from sin, continually overcoming and faith in the sacrifice of Christ to atone for repented PAST sins, and then to go forward living by every Word of God which saves us.
Galatians 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is [becomes] circumcised [in the flesh and is not circumcised in the [heart] spirit], that he is a debtor to do the whole law [including paying the penalty for having broken the law].
The convert who is circumcised in the flesh only, is joining the Mosaic Covenant and not the spiritual New Covenant of circumcision of the heart.
A convert must have his PAST sins removed by a circumcision of the heart through sincere repentance and faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice; which alone can reconcile him to God.
We can ONLY enter the New Covenant and be reconciled to God by a circumcision of the heart – through the removal of the sins that separate us from God – by sincere repentance from sin, and by faith and acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ with a whole hearted commitment to live by every Word of God in future.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you who try to justify yourselves by the law; because FUTURE law keeping cannot atone for PAST sins.
There is the key. You cannot be justified for PAST sins by future law keeping.
We are justified through grace which is the pardon that God gives to us because of our sincere repentance, after which the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is applied to us paying the penalty of death for us
Therefore when we STOP sinning, God the Father pardons us: He reaches out and gives us grace or pardon. And in so doing, we are justified by the application of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
We cannot be justified by perfectly keeping a law [in future] which we have already broken in the PAST: To be justified requires the application of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for all sincerely repented past sins, which must be followed by a diligent commitment to “go and sin no more” in future.
5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whoever of you [think you] are justified by the law; you have fallen from grace. 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision [in the flesh] ; but faith which works by love [Godly love is the keeping of God’s Word for God’s Word is love].
5:7 You did run well; who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth? 5:8 This persuasion comes not of him that called you.
They were not persuaded by God, or by Christ, that circumcision of adult converts was required. They were persuaded of this by men who wanted to force them to submit to their own ideas.
No, we need to be circumcised in heart, in the spirit; and have that covering, that veil of sin which comes between us and God: Removed!
Physical circumcision is the removal of a piece of skin, which acts a veil or a covering.
In the New Covenant, spiritual circumcision is the removal of the veil of sin which separates us from God, and which is removed by sincere repentance, a baptismal commitment to sin no more and the application of the sacrifice of Christ. That is spiritual New Covenant circumcision, the removal of the sin.
Spiritual circumcision is the removal of that veil or barrier of sin that comes between us and God. And that can only be done through sincere repentance, a dedicated commitment to sin no more, and faith in the sacrifice of Christ. We cannot be justified from PAST sin by cutting off a piece of skin from off our bodies. We must have the sin removed; and sin is the transgression of the law. Therefore, when Christ’s sacrifice is applied to us and that barrier, that veil of sin is removed, we must make sure it STAYS REMOVED by stopping our sinning.
The fleshly piece of skin is a symbol of sin which makes us insensitive to godliness, and removing it is a symbol of removing sin and sensitizes us to the spiritual things of God: The application of the sacrifice of Christ is the TRUE circumcision of the New Covenant; which is the REALITY that removes the sin that comes between us and God.
We must not sin anymore, because if we sin again, that wall, that veil, that covering; goes right back up again, and separates us from God again.
We need to make sure that that veil, that wall of sin that separates us from God; which is removed upon sincere repentance due to the application of the sacrifice of Christ and is demolished through our faith in God; is NOT built up again, once again separating us from God, by our continuing in sin.
5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
Meaning, as it says in another place, that when you break the law in one point, you have broken the whole law. The whole point here is that a little bit of something which is wrong, or a false teaching; pollutes the whole person. Even a small sin pollutes us and separates us from God.
We must NEVER compromise with God’s Word and we must always be quick to repent when we learn that we are in error; in that way, we shall grow into the very children of the Most High! We shall become like HIM!
5:10 I have, confidence in you through the Eternal, that you will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubled you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he is. 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offence of the cross ceased. 5:12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
Paul points out that he does not preach a need for physical circumcision of adult converts who have already been spiritually circumcised in the heart; which is why he is persecuted by those who do demand physical circumcision of adult converts, who have already been circumcised in heart.
Paul then says that these others are making this demand because they want to avoid persecution from the larger Jewish community themselves. They are making this demand out of fear of other men.
5:13 For, brethren, you have been called unto liberty [from the bondage of sin and release from the penalty for breaking the law, which is sin]; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh or an occasion to sin [Because we have been freed from the penalty for PAST sins, do not use that deliverance to continue in sin.], but by love serve one another. 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one thing; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed of one another.
If we are continually competing for the preeminence with one another, that’s wrong. There is no love in that. Take heed lest we destroy one another or consume one another.
5:16 This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
If we walk in the Spirit of God, we are not going to be divided against God. We are not going to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. We are not going to continue in sin.
5:17 For the flesh lust against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would.
The spiritual things of God are contrary to the things of the flesh and the things of this world.
5:18 But if you are led of the Spirit [we will sincerely repent of all PAST sin], you are not under the [death penalty of] law [we are no longer facing the penalty for having broken the law in the PAST; because, being led of God’s Spirit, the Spirit will lead us to keep God’s Word in Future.]
5:19 Now, the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 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.
See our extensive articles on these Works of the Flesh
Consider, all these things also have their spiritual equivalent as well as the physical actions, and those who do such things ether physically or spiritually; shall not be in the first fruits, shall not be in the resurrection to spirit, shall not receive eternal life, shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Go back over these, and read these things, and do some meditation about envying, and emulation [of wicked men], and wrath, and strife, and heresies, sedition, and idolatry, and witchcraft. Think about these things. Look them up, define them and make that a good personal Bible Study, because these are the things [in either the physical or the spiritual context] that will keep you out of God’s kingdom.
These things are the heart and core of the lusts of the flesh which leads to law breaking. Breaking any part of the whole Word of God is sin, but sin always starts with a thought, an idea, a concept, a lust. And those are the things Paul is talking about here.
Give it some consideration and do some study because these things will keep you out of God’s kingdom.
5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof.
5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit [If we are a spiritual people we will conduct our behavior, conduct ourselves in spiritual manner.] 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory provoking one another envying one another.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual or spiritually minded, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
This work is about warning our dearly beloved brethren to turn back to a passionate zeal to live by EVERY WORD of GOD as Paul and Jesus commanded us to warn our brethren to do. This work of warning is increasing as these organizations steadfastly reject the warnings to turn back to God’s Word, and insist on cleaving to the false traditions of their idols of men.
6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself. 6:4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 6:5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
Many have falsely claimed that they are apostles or prophets or some such thing. The claims of every man will be revealed in their fruits (Matthew 7), whether they are true or not, by the Word of God; and the deeds of every man will be judged by every Word of God.
6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teaches [the other teachers] in all good things. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap. 6:8 For he that sows to his flesh, [seeks physical things and the lusts of the flesh and breaks the commandments of God] shall of the flesh reap corruption [and correction from God]; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
It is doing good to warn our brethren that they have been misled and fallen away, even though they might resent the warnings for a short time, we warn them in the hope that they might be saved.
6:11 You see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised [require adult converts be circumcised in the flesh]; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law.
Paul is getting down to the meat of why some were forcing the adult Gentile converts to be circumcised in the flesh to be considered converted. It was because they were afraid of the Mosaic Jews. They were afraid that if they consorted with Gentiles then the whole Mosaic community would reject them. They wanted to make a show of physical things; so that they could have the pretense of doing things in the Christian, Christ like way; but still be accepted by the Pharisees!
Just like most of today’s Ekklesia they wanted to be as inoffensive to this world as possible while still having a pretense of conversion; To appear as much like the mainstream as possible to avoid offending them and to be respected in the mainstream religious community.
These folks were hypocrites, being themselves circumcised on the eighth day, but not keeping the law themselves.
The Pharisees did all kinds of sins. You can read that in the Gospels in the words of Christ. They did a lot of things that were not right. But they were physically circumcised and they were proud of that circumcision, and they were zealous for their own traditions and had no zeal for the Word of God, just like today’s Ekklesia.
Matthew 15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
It is the same today as people say: “We are a part of GOD’S CHURCH” as they then seek to be as worldly as possible! as they compromise with God’s commandments and follow their own traditions instead of living by God’s Word!
Galatians 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
That is, these people don’t keep God’s Words themselves but they are trying to force you to be circumcised in the flesh so they can claim, “oh look at the converts I made and look at how righteous I am because I got these people to agree with me and MY traditions.”
This is just like today’s Ekklesia who seek followers after themselves and their own traditions, rather than working to call all to a genuine zeal to live by every Word of God.
6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, [that is, in the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ] by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither [physical] circumcision avails anything, nor [physical] uncircumcision, but a new person [spiritually circumcised in heart]. 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule [According to the New Covenant and its spiritual circumcision of the heart, to sincerely repent and have all PAST sin removed by the application of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and then to go and live by every Word of God from the heart in future.], peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 6:18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
The whole subject of Galatians is about true conversion and certain Pharisees infiltrating the faithful, who wanted to make a show in the flesh that they would not associate with Gentiles unless those Gentiles were circumcised in the flesh; to gain a following after themselves.
Paul says over, and over, and over again; that people are justified from PAST sins by sincere repentance and FAITH in the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
Sin is atoned for through sincere repentance, a baptismal commitment to sin no more and faith in the sacrifice of Christ. And we are to go forward from there, living in a spiritual manner by keeping the whole Word of God in Christ-like zeal through the indwelling of God’s Spirit!
We must stop sinning, and sincerely repent, turning away from sin. But the only atonement that exists for PAST sin, is the sacrifice of Christ and our faith in that sacrifice.
All people of faith who have sincerely repented and resolved to sin no more, and had their sins atoned for through the application of the sacrifice of Christ; are the spiritual children of Abraham and the children of God; circumcised in heart!
Those who are sincerely repentant and follow God in faith, need to put God first and then associate with like minded brethren.
We should never look down our noses on somebody in the faith because they are of a different race or because they have minor non scriptural differences.
This idea that some group of people doesn’t want to associate with another part of the brotherhood because of race, culture or non scriptural issues is wrong. It is not godly love, it is not loyalty to the household of faith and it is not consistent with the Word of God. Therefore, it is sin.
All those who have repented of sin and been reconciled to God the Father, who work just as hard as they can with the help of God’s indwelling Spirit to live by every Word of God our Father with deep passionate love and zeal: Are sons of the SAME FATHER and spiritual brethren!
That is what the book of Galatians is about. It is about faith, about justification from sin through the sacrifice of Christ, about turning AWAY from commandment breaking and about refusing to build again the sinful conduct of the past: and it is about brotherly love, and loyalty, and not being afraid of persecutions.
Galatians is about the difference between the Mosaic Covenant of the purely temporary physical; and the spiritual and permanent New Covenant of justification through sincere repentance, commitment to sin no more and faith in the application of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Galatians is about the New Covenant which circumcises the heart and reconciles to God for all Eternity; as long as we work diligently to root all sin out of our lives.
Let us not turn our backs on God the Father and Jesus Christ to exalt any man or corporate religion as our ultimate moral authority; rather let us exalt God the Eternal Father as Christ did.
Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
The Book of Galatians is about LOVE FOR ALMIGHTY GOD AND THE BRETHREN: A LOVE BORN OF FAITH AND TRUST IN GOD!!!
NOTE: It is not necessary for those already circumcised in heart to be circumcised in the flesh; however our sons are not born circumcised in heart and we must obey God’s command to circumcise our sons in the flesh on the eighth day. This is a matter of our obedience to God and is a prophetic symbol of their future circumcision of heart.