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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
* [5:1–6] 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 5:2–5); cf. Gal 2:16; 3:3. Faith, not circumcision, is what counts (Gal 5:6).
* [5:1] Freedom: Paul stresses as the conclusion from the allegory in Gal 4:21–31 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.
* [5:7–12] Paul addresses the Galatians directly: with questions (Gal 5:7, 11), 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.
* [5:11] 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 16:1–3 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.
* [5:13–26] 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 5:14–15), walking in the Spirit (Gal 5:16–26), as is illustrated by concrete fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
* [5:19–23] Such lists of vices and virtues (cf. Rom 1:29–31; 1 Cor 6:9–10) 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.”
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