Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 16
Thesis: The fundamental exhortations of Galatians consist of "walking by the Spirit" and "refraining from the pursuit of vain glory".
Introduction: From all of our studies of Galatians, I have concluded that the book was written to people who have a seriously misguided, hard core, deeply embedded, "value": seeking to gain approval from men. What this boils down to is a most deeply held fear that the "love" of God is a myth.
As we come to the end of Paul's "walking" instructions in Galatians 5:25-26, we see him returning to this deeply held "value" with a couple of exhortations. The first is rooted in the reality of the love and grace of God; the second is aimed directly at the inevitable conflict that arises from the desire to be held in high esteem by men.
August 18, 2013
- I. The Fact and Proof of God's "Love" in Real Time Reality.
- A. The root of the "If we live by the Spirit...".
- 1. That we live by the Spirit was established in 3:1-3.
- 2. This "life by the Spirit" is, by Paul's own testimony in 3:1, inextricably attached to "Jesus Christ crucified": the inescapable proof of God's "love" for us [there simply is no other explanation for the death of Christ "for" us].
- B. The actual, historical reality regarding "life by the Spirit".
- 1. He sponsored Paul's preaching in Galatia.
- 2. He attended the preaching with potent "conviction" (note 1 Thessalonians 1:5).
- 3. He sponsored Paul's letter in the face of Galatian fickleness and infidelity (note Paul in Romans 5:8).
- 4. He actually gives the experience of eternal life to all who are believing (the experience of the "love, joy and peace" that mark His fruit within the believer).
- C. The only reasonable, logical, rational, ethical result of "faith": walking by the same "rule" that was engaged when the Spirit brought the Galatians into the Life.
- 1. The verb "let us also walk" is a subjunctive, not an imperative.
- a. Imperatives are seriously misunderstood and typically create a "fall-back" into the unbelief of "Law" insistence.
- b. Imperatives have a legitimate place under "grace", but Paul deliberately shies away from them in this two-verse wrap-up of living by grace, under love, empowered by the Spirit.
- 2. The "walk" is not the typical verb used for "walking" in the New Testament.
- a. The verb is used only five times in the New Testament and there is always a "rule" lurking in the background.
- b. The "rule" is not a "rule" in the sense of a demand; it is a "rule" in the sense of a methodological principle.
- 3. What Paul is doing is tying the "method" of "Life" tightly to its "inception" and its "progression".
- a. The "inception" is the actual initiative of the Spirit in bringing a person to understanding, conviction of truth, and faith in the facts of the Gospel, at the root of which is the love of the God of the Gospel.
- b. The "progression" is to be maintained: life is by the initiative of the Spirit.
- 1) Believers are not supposed to enter into the "disciplines of the Christian life" because someone tells them that this is how we grow in Christ: we do not grow in Christ by "disciplines".
- 2) Believers are supposed to keep the lines of communication with God open (Acts 24:16) and are supposed to yield to "truth" as it becomes clear by the Spirit.
- 3) It is the Spirit's "job" to provide the motivation and energy to pursue the will of God.
- II. The Only Reasonable Response of "Faith".
- A. Be clear on one fact: the glory men seek from others is incredibly "empty".
- B. Be clear on the expression of the lack of clarity regarding the empty glory.
- 1. "Provoking" one another is a tactic of the fleshly pursuit of empty glory.
- a. A "rare" word in the New Testament (found only here) that means "to irritate others by calling on them to 'recognize' you".
- b. The "norm" in this kind of setting is "agenda conflict" where a person "irritates" others by insisting that his/her "way" is best (but there is a host of "look at me" behaviors that are just as 'irritating').
- 2. "Envying" one another is another result of the pursuit of empty glory.
- a. This is another "rare" word found, in the present form, only here in the New Testament.
- b. Its "nominal root" is a word found in nine texts in the New Testament which reveal the deadliness of "envy": murder (Matthew 27:18 and Mark 15:10).
- c. Its basic identity consists of the feelings of dislike for another because that "other" has something "I" want for myself.