Introduction

This chapter is a continuation of the argument in the previous chapter, and is designed to induce the Galatians to renounce their conformity to the Jewish law, and to become entirely conformed to the gospel. The argument and the exhortation consist of the following parts:

(1.) He exhorts them to stand firm in the liberty of Christianity, and not to be brought again under bondage, Galatians 5:1.

(2.) He solemnly assures them, that if they depended on circumcision for salvation, they could derive no benefit from Christ. They put themselves into a perfect legal state, and must depend on that alone; and that was equivalent to renouncing Christ altogether, or to falling from grace, Galatians 5:2-6.

(3.) He assures them that their present belief could not have come from him by whom they were originally brought to the knowledge of the truth; but must have been from some foreign influence, operating like leaven, Galatians 5:7-9.

(4.) He says he had confidence in them, on the whole, that they would obey the truth, and that they would suffer him who had troubled them to bear his proper judgment, gently insinuating that he should be disowned or cut off, Galatians 5:10,12.

(5.) He vindicates himself from the charge that he preached the necessity of circumcision. His vindication was that if he had done that he would have escaped persecution, for then the offence of the cross would have ceased, Galatians 5:11.

(6.) He assures them that they had been called unto liberty; that the gospel had made them free. Yet Paul felt how easy it was to abuse this doctrine, and to pretend that Christ had freed them from all restraint, and from the bondage of all law. Against this he cautions them. Their liberty was not licentiousness. It was not freedom from all the restraints of law. It was not that they might give indulgence to the passions of the flesh. It was designed that they should serve one another; and not fall into the indulgence of raging passions, producing strife and mutual hatred, Galatians 5:13-15.

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