(Gal 5:1 NASB) It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Gal 5:1: The “yoke of slavery” is the yoke of adult circumcision necessary to become a Jew.
Keep in mind that Paul does not actually speak of a “works righteousness” as we think of it today 1950 years after the fact in a Gentile manner. The Jews in that day, and many in our day also, believed they were righteous through their bloodline and by wearing the title of being a “Jew.” They considered themselves to have a declaration of righteousness because they were Elohim’s chosen people by descendency and maintaining their covenant relationship by keeping the commandments. Their “works salvation” of keeping the law kept the Jews individually as part of the Jewish community who declared themselves “whole” without the blood of Messiah and without the need of redemption. This is what Paul is battling.
Paul says we are “free” in Messiah. We are no longer slaves to sin. It is through Messiah that we are “free” in Torah. We now have the freedom to be obedient to Him. A good analogy to this is that I do not have the freedom to play the piano. I could bang away at the keys, but that freedom to make beautiful music that is edifying to others is not a freedom that I have. There are a couple of ladies in our assembly that have that freedom. Why do they have freedom that I do not have? Because they followed the rules and regulation (Instructions, or “Torah”) of how to play the piano for many years and learned. They have a “heart” for the Torah, or instructions of playing the piano, therefore they have the freedom to play it.
Yeshua said that if you abide in His Word then you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free. We must remember what “Truth” really is (Psalm 119:43, 45, 142, 155, 160). This is why James calls Torah, the “perfect Torah of Liberty” (James 1:25).
(Gal 5:2 NASB) Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.
(Gal 5:3 NASB) And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.
Gal 5:3: If they wanted salvation through converting to Judaism, then they are in debt to all of Torah, including the curses. There is no room for sin.
(Gal 5:4 NASB) You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
Gal 5:4: Many Christians interpret these verse as saying, “if you do what God says in your life, then you have fallen from grace….” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Paul is saying that if they insist on justification through Judaism, they have rejected Yeshua as Messiah. They are not depending on the precious blood of Yeshua for salvation, but on the works of converting to Judaism.
(Gal 5:5 NASB) For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
(Gal 5:6 NASB) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
Gal 5:6: Whether one is circumcised or not (becomes Jewish or not) does not make any difference to righteousness. Righteousness only comes through faith, or faithfulness, in Yeshua as Messiah.
We cannot be sanctified through the Word of Elohim until we are justified through Messiah. This is the quandry the Judaizers were putting the Galatians in.
(Gal 5:7 NASB) You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
(Gal 5:8 NASB) This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.
Gal 5:8: Paul says that these false teachers have deceived them and they are being led astray. He informs them that justification through Judaism does not come from the Spirit of Elohim.
(Gal 5:9 NASB) A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.
Gal 5:9: Paul knew the words of Yeshua that reflect this false teaching of the Judaizers (Matt. 16:6, Mark 8:15, Luke 12:1). Yeshua was certainly not saying that the people should not obey the Father. He is saying that the Pharisees teach a salvation through their bloodline and it is evil!
John the Baptist told them how it truly is (Luke 3:8). Yeshua told the Pharisees that they will be going to damnation and they will look up and see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in glory without them (Luke 13:28-31).
(Gal 5:10 NASB) I have confidence in you in the Lord, that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
Gal 5:10: Paul is not treating these false teachers as if they are slightly misguided men. He says they will bear their own judgement for teaching lies and trying to bring the Galatian people into subjection under them
(Gal 5:11 NASB) But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.
Gal 5:11: Paul said that he preached this same false message at one time. Paul was the “Pharisee of Pharisees.” But he now knows that it was wrong.
If these false teachers were trying to tell the Galatians that this is the same message Paul taught, then why are the Pharisees persecuting him??
(Gal 5:12 NASB) Would that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.
Gal 5:12: These are very harsh words. Paul is saying that he wishes they would cut off their own members and leave his people alone.
But the fact is, these false teachers were attempting to destroy the salvation of people that Paul was trying to reach.
(Gal 5:13 NASB) For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Gal 5:13: Redemption has nothing to do with converting to Judaism. They have the liberty of redemption through faith alone in Yeshua Messiah. But just because they have liberty from Judaism, they are not to turn to sin. They are still to follow Torah.
(Gal 5:14 NASB) For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
Gal 5:14: Torah is fulfilled (made full) in love. We are to love one another and we do that by joyfully observing Elohim’s law and His commandments.
The word “fulfilled” is the Greek word “ple-roo” which means “made full.” It is the same word used in Matt. 5:17. Christianity attempts to say that this verse claims Jesus “fulfilled the law” so we do not have to follow it any longer. If that is the case, then according to this comment of Paul in this verse, we no longer should love our neighbor because that has been “fulfilled.” Obviously the Greek word “ple-roo” means to make full, not to destroy, abolish, or do away with.
(Gal 5:15 NASB) But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.
Gal 5:15: Apparently they were arguing amongst themselves to a great degree. I’m sure it had to do with the false teachers.
(Gal 5:16 NASB) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
Gal 5:16: How does one “walk in the Spirit?” Churches have often taught that we should “walk in love” or “follow our hearts” or some other foolish nonsense. The Word of Elohim tells us EXACTLY what it means to walk in the Spirit (Ezek. 36:27). To walk in the Spirit is to keep His commandments and walk according to His Torah.
(Gal 5:17 NASB) For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Gal 5:17: The Spirit and the flesh are at war with one another. You cannot claim to be saved through Judaism and through Messiah at the same time. They are diametrically opposite beliefs.
(Gal 5:18 NASB) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
Gal 5:18: Paul states here, and in Romans 6:14, that there are two groups of people: Those under Torah and who will be judged by Torah (Judaism), and those led by the Spirit of Elohim who are under grace (redeemed by faith and led by the Spirit to follow Torah).
If you have the Spirit of Elohim within you, you will not be judged according to the curses in Torah. You will be judged according to the grace of Elohim. In the previous verses, Paul makes it very clear that since they are redeemed, they are to avoid all sin (lawlessness).
(Gal 5:19 NASB) Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
(Gal 5:20 NASB) idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
(Gal 5:21 NASB) envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:21: Paul’s message in Galatians is often misinterpreted by many church teachers as saying “if you believe in Messiah, you should not follow the laws of God.” This is not only a silly message, but is a total contradiction to verses 19-21.
Paul says that if they practice these things (lawlessness), they will not inherit the Kingdom of Elohim. He just told them that they are true heirs and sons of Abraham through faith in Yeshua Messiah. Therefore, they should act like it.
(Gal 5:22 NASB) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
(Gal 5:23 NASB) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Gal 5:23: These are the fruits (outward signs in ones life) of walking in the Spirit (which is obeying Elohim’s Torah).
(Gal 5:24 NASB) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
(Gal 5:25 NASB) If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Gal 5:25: If we are redeemed through Messiah, we are free from the bondage of sin. If we are to live in the Spirit of Elohim, we must also walk in obedience to the Spirit of Elohim.
(Gal 5:26 NASB) Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
Gal 5:26: It would appear that the Galatians were divided by strife. Paul is urging them to walk in love, according to Torah.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas