From The Letter To The Galatians, Chapters 5 and 6: Admonitions Concerning Charity And Perseverance: We Boast Only In The Cross Of Christ

V. Exhortation to Christian Living

The Importance of Faith.*

1For freedom* Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.a

2It is I, Paul, who am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you.b

3Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcisedc that he is bound to observe the entire law.*

4You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

5d For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness.

6e For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.*

Be Not Misled.*

7You were running well;* who hindered you from following [the] truth?

8f That enticement does not come from the one who called you.*

9A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough.g

10I am confident of you in the Lord that you will not take a different view, and that the one who is troubling you will bear the condemnation, whoever he may be.h

11As for me, brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision,* why am I still being persecuted? In that case, the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.i

12Would that those who are upsetting you might also castrate themselves!*

Freedom for Service.*

13For you were called for freedom, brothers.j But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve* one another through love.

14For the whole lawk is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”*

15But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.

16l I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.*

17For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.m

18But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.n

19* Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness,o

20idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions,p

21occasions of envy,* drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,q

23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.r

24Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.s

25If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.t

26Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.u

* [5:16] Paul begins the exhortations, continuing through Gal 6:10, with an appeal to the Galatians to side with freedom instead of slavery (Gal 5:1). He reiterates his message of justification or righteousness by faith instead of law and circumcision (Gal 5:25); cf. Gal 2:163:3. Faith, not circumcision, is what counts (Gal 5:6).

* [5:1] Freedom: Paul stresses as the conclusion from the allegory in Gal 4:2131 this result of Christ’s work for us. It is a principle previously mentioned (Gal 2:4), the responsible use of which Gal 5:13 will emphasize.

* [5:3] Cf. Gal 3:1012. Just as those who seek to live by the law must carry out all its contents, so those who have faith and live by promise must stand firm in their freedom (Gal 5:113).

* [5:6] Cf. Rom 2:25261 Cor 7:19Gal 6:15. The Greek for faith working through love or “faith expressing itself through love” can also be rendered as “faith energized by (God’s) love.”

* [5:712] Paul addresses the Galatians directly: with questions (Gal 5:711), a proverb (Gal 5:9), a statement (Gal 5:8), and biting sarcasm (Gal 5:12), seeking to persuade the Galatians to break with those trying to add law and circumcision to Christ as a basis for salvation.

* [5:7] Running well: as in an athletic contest; cf. Gal 2:21 Cor 9:2426Phil 2:163:14.

* [5:8] The one who called you: see note on Gal 1:6.

* [5:11] Preaching circumcision: this could refer to Paul’s pre-Christian period (possibly as a missionary for Judaism); more probably it arose as a charge from opponents, based perhaps on the story in Acts 16:13 that Paul had circumcised Timothy “on account of the Jews.” Unlike the Gentile Titus in Gal 2:3 Timothy was the son of a Jewish mother. The stumbling block of the cross: cf. 1 Cor 1:23.

* [5:12] A sarcastic half-wish that their knife would go beyond mere circumcision; cf. Phil 3:2 and the note there.

* [5:1326] In light of another reminder of the freedom of the gospel (Gal 5:13; cf. Gal 5:1), Paul elaborates on what believers are called to do and be: they fulfill the law by love of neighbor (Gal 5:1415), walking in the Spirit (Gal 5:1626), as is illustrated by concrete fruit of the Spirit in their lives.

* [5:13] Serve…through love: cf. Gal 5:6.

* [5:14Lv 19:18, emphasized by Jesus (Mt 22:39Lk 10:27); cf. Rom 13:810.

* [5:1625] Spirit…flesh: cf. Gal 3:3 and the note on Rom 8:113.

* [5:1923] Such lists of vices and virtues (cf. Rom 1:29311 Cor 6:910) were common in the ancient world. Paul contrasts works of the flesh (Gal 5:19) with fruit (not “works”) of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Not law, but the Spirit, leads to such traits.

* [5:21] Occasions of envy: after the Greek word phthonoi, “envies,” some manuscripts add a similar sounding one, phonoi, “murders.”

a. [5:12:44:59Jn 8:3236.

b. [5:22:21Acts 15:129.

c. [5:33:10Rom 2:25Jas 2:10.

d. [5:5Rom 8:2325.

e. [5:63:286:151 Cor 7:19.

f. [5:81:6.

g. [5:91 Cor 5:6.

h. [5:101:7.

i. [5:116:12141 Cor 1:23.

j. [5:135:1 / Rom 6:181 Cor 8:91 Pt 2:16.

k. [5:14Lv 19:18Mt 22:39Rom 13:810.

l. [5:165:2425Rom 8:5.

m. [5:17Rom 7:15238:6.

n. [5:18Rom 6:148:14.

o. [5:1921Rom 1:29311 Cor 6:910Col 3:568.

p. [5:20Rev 22:15.

q. [5:22Eph 5:9 / 1 Cor 13:472 Cor 6:61 Tm 4:122 Pt 1:6.

r. [5:231 Tm 1:9.

s. [5:242:19Rom 6:68:13.

t. [5:255:16.

u. [5:26Phil 2:3.

Life in the Community of Christ.*

1Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted.a

2Bear one another’s burdens,b and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.*

3c For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deluding himself.

4* Each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason to boast with regard to himself alone, and not with regard to someone else;

5for each will bear his own load.d

6e One who is being instructed in the word should share all good things with his instructor.*

7Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows,

8because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit.f

9Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.g

10So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all,h but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.*

VI. Conclusion

Final Appeal.*

11See with what large letters* I am writing to you in my own hand!i

12* It is those who want to make a good appearance in the flesh who are trying to compel you to have yourselves circumcised, only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.j

13Not even those having themselves circumcised* observe the law themselves; they only want you to be circumcised so that they may boast of your flesh.

14But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which* the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.k

15For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision,l but only a new creation.*

16Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule* and to the Israel of God.m

17From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus* on my body.n

18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.o

* [6:110] The ethical exhortations begun at Gal 5:1 continue with a variety of admonitions to the community (brothers: see note on Gal 1:2). Nearly every sentence contains a separate item of practical advice; the faith and freedom of the gospel underlie each maxim. Tensions and temptation within communal life have previously been addressed in Gal 5:1526 and Gal 6:1 continues with a case in which a person is caught in some transgression such as those in Gal 5:1921; cf. Gal 2:17.

* [6:2] The law of Christ: cf. Rom 8:21 Cor 9:21Gal 5:14. The principle of love for others is meant. To bear one another’s burdens is to “serve one another through love” (Gal 5:13).

* [6:45] Self-examination is the cure for self-deception. Compare what you are with what you were before, and give the glory to God; cf. Rom 6:1922. Load: used elsewhere of a soldier’s pack. Correcting one’s own conduct avoids burdening others with it.

* [6:6] Implies oral instruction in the faith by catechists; these are to be remunerated for their service; cf. Rom 15:27.

* [6:10] The family of the faith: the Christian household or church. Doing good has a universal object (to all), but the local community makes specific the reality of those to be served.

* [6:1118] A postscript in Paul’s own hand, as was his practice (see 1 Cor 16:212 Thes 3:17). Paul summarizes his appeal against his opponents (Gal 6:1213), then returns to his message of glorying in the cross, not in circumcision, as the means of salvation (Gal 6:1415; cf. Gal 5:11). A benediction follows at Gal 6:16. In the polemical spirit that the attack on his apostleship called forth (Gal 1:112:21), Paul reasserts his missionary credentials (Gal 6:17) before giving a final benediction (Gal 6:18).

* [6:11] Large letters: in contrast to the finer hand of the scribe who wrote the letter up to this point. The larger Greek letters make Paul’s message even more emphatic. Some find a hint of poor eyesight on Paul’s part. See note on Gal 4:13.

* [6:1215] The Jewish Christian opponents wished not to be persecuted, possibly by Jews. But since Judaism seems to have had a privileged status as a religion in the Roman empire, circumcised Christians might, if taken as Jews, thereby avoid persecution from the Romans. In any case, Paul instead stresses conformity with the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; cf. Gal 2:19215:11.

* [6:13] Those having themselves circumcised: other manuscripts read, “those who have had themselves circumcised.”

* [6:14] Through which: or “through whom.”

* [6:15] New creation: or “new creature”; cf. 2 Cor 5:17.

* [6:16] This rule: the principle in Gal 6:1415. The Israel of God: while the church may be meant (the phrase can be translated “to all who follow this rule, even the Israel of God”; cf. Gal 6:101 Cor 10:18), the reference may also be to God’s ancient people, Israel; cf. Ps 125:5128:6.

* [6:17] The marks of Jesus: slaves were often branded by marks (stigmata) burned into their flesh to show to whom they belonged; so also were devotees of pagan gods. Paul implies that instead of outdated circumcision, his body bears the scars of his apostolic labors (2 Cor 11:2231), such as floggings (Acts 16:222 Cor 11:25) and stonings (Acts 14:19), that mark him as belonging to the Christ who suffered (cf. Rom 6:32 Cor 4:10Col 1:24) and will protect his own.

a. [6:1Mt 18:15Jas 5:19 / 1 Cor 10:1213.

b. [6:2Col 3:13 / 1 Cor 9:21.

c. [6:341 Cor 3:188:22 Cor 12:11.

d. [6:5Rom 14:12.

e. [6:61 Cor 9:14.

f. [6:8Prv 11:18Rom 8:613.

g. [6:92 Thes 3:13Heb 12:13.

h. [6:101 Thes 5:15.

i. [6:111 Cor 16:21.

j. [6:125:211.

k. [6:142:201 Cor 2:2.

l. [6:155:61 Cor 7:19 / 2 Cor 5:17.

m. [6:16Ps 125:5128:6.

n. [6:172 Cor 4:10.

o. [6:18Phil 4:232 Tm 4:22Phlm 25.

This is taken from The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, Bible, Galatians Chapters 5 and 6, https://bible.usccb.org/bible/galatians/6

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