Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 4
May 5, 2013
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these
; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
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.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
1901 ASV Translation
18 But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these
: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties,
21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.
24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.
25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.
26 Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.
- I. The Big Question: If We Are Not Led By the Spirit, Are We "Under Law"?
- A. It has been a large issue in Galatians that being "under Law" is a deadly, judicial, problem that is totally resolved by justification.
- B. It would make little, to no, sense for Paul to declare the freedom those who are led by the Spirit if everyone has that same freedom.
- C. Is this current claim an insertion of "Law" into "sanctification" (being "perfected" as in Galatians 3:3)?
- 1. In Romans 7:9 Paul said that "Sin" could be "revived" in a person "once alive" who was subjected to Law by misunderstanding its purpose and function and the result would be a "death" of some kind. "Sin revived and I died." "Death", in the Scriptures is always some form of incapacitation. The essence of "death" is always some form of "inability" to do something that would lead to an "experience" of "Life".
- 2. There appear to be two kinds of conditions described as "under Law": one has to do with an objective status of being subject to the curse of the Law unto eternal destruction (Paul's argument in Romans 2:12-15 deliberately puts even those who are "lawless" under some form of "law" so they can be judged, a legal activity) ; the other has to do with a person's attitude toward Law as a mechanism for the pursuit of "Life". The former has to do with God's attitude toward a person; the latter has to do with a person's own attitude toward him/her self as one who is charged with "life" and is seeking "Life".
- a. There is clearly a difference between being "under Law" as a judicial, condemning instrument of Justice and simply being of a wrong mind and thinking of oneself as under that judicial, condemning instrument of Justice even though one is, technically, not under that objective form of Law.
- b. It is beyond obvious that a person can be absolutely free of the condemnation of Justice and not know/believe it so that that person lives as if he/she is under that condemnation. This reality is the reason Paul spent so much effort in his letters attempting to get his readers to accept the truth of their absolute freedom.
- II. The Next Question: Why Is This Declaration in Our Text at This Point in Paul's Teaching?
- A. In respect to the Joy of Life, there appear to be three basic positions.
- 1. There are those who walk by God's Spirit and enjoy the Joy of Life.
- 2. There are those who have no joy in life and are seeking for a way to satisfy the Joy-Giver so that they might enter into joy and think that the "way" is "Law".
- 3. There are those who have no joy in life and have despaired of getting it from God so that they live in active and aggressive antagonism toward Him in wickedness.
- B. In respect to Paul's appeal to the Galatians, he is addressing those in "category 2" above; they have tasted of the Joy of Life and want it and are severely tempted to move into "Law" as a way to get/maintain it (they had, and want, that "sense of blessedness" that was theirs in the beginning: Galatians 4:15).
- 1. Thus, Paul's statement that those who are being "led" by the Spirit are not "under Law" is not a statement about being "under Law" as an objective reality that has eternal destruction in view.
- 2. What he is attempting to do is show that life comes from the Spirit by faith and that approach frees the "believer" from the major (and, perhaps, even minor) issues of being "under Law".
- a. The major issue of being "under Law" is the view of God that comes from a fixation upon Justice. That "view" boils down to a hyper-critical Judge Who waits in the wings to "whack" all who step out of line. The other issues revolve around the mental gymnastics of attempting to deal with "the Judge" in light of our own propensities, weaknesses, and ignorance.
- b. The major issue of being "led" by the Spirit is the confidence that we have a Father Whose fixation in our regard is a kind of maturity that maximizes the Joy of Life. This is a different "view" of God. He is ready, willing, and able to "succor" those who are attempting to live Life. In this "view", the "Father" is pretty "hard nosed" about one thing: He insists upon being "believed". It is by "promises" that we get to partake of His input (2 Peter 1:4). And "promises" are only effectual for those who "believe" them.
- 3. Thus, Paul is not "threatening" his readers with an "under Law" reality if they fail to walk by the Spirit; rather, he is "promising" his readers that there is a genuine escape from the condemning impact of "Law" because the "Father" simply does not do things that way in regard to His children.