Galatians 5: Guided by the Holy Spirit, Not the Flesh

What can we do to lighten the burden of pleasing the Lord?

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Matthew 11:28–30 “Come to me, all who are overburdened and weary. Like the lead ox on a team, I will help pull your heavy load. Take my yoke upon you, and learn to walk my way, for I am gentle and humble of heart. In me, you will find rest for your souls, because my yoke fits and your share of the load is light.”
Galatians 5:1 Therefore, we should live in the freedom that Christ has provided, and not be servants to the laws and traditions that were an impossible burden.
1 Peter 5:6–7 Be content with who you are, confident in who you will become by surrendering yourself to the hands of almighty God, for in due time, he will lift you up. Since you know how much God cares, you can surrender all your worries to him.
King James
Matthew 11:28–30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
1 Peter 5:6–7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Why does being bound to rules and traditions work against our freedom to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit?

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Galatians 5:2–4 Listen to what I, Paul, am telling you as a Jew. If you think circumcision makes you righteous, then Christ is no benefit to you. I repeat, if circumcision is important, then so is every other detail of the Law and all must be kept. If you are made right with God through the Law, then you separated yourselves from Christ and his unmerited favor.
King James
Galatians 5:2–4 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Why might our walk with the Lord be a process of change toward greater righteousness rather than an immediate and total transformation?

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2 Corinthians 3:18 Like someone looking into a mirror, when we see the Lord in the glory of the new contract, we become more like him, being changed from glory to greater glory by the work of his Spirit.
Galatians 5:5 Our path to righteousness depends on our faith in Christ and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
King James
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

In our relationship with Jesus Christ, why is circumcision of the flesh not important?

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Genesis 17:10 This is my agreement that you and your descendants must keep: every male child shall be circumcised.
Romans 2:29 We belong to God when we are like-minded with him, when our spirit agrees with his Spirit, not when we are recognized for our teaching credentials.
Galatians 5:6 Whether we’re circumcised doesn’t affect our relationship with Jesus Christ. What matters is our faith in him, which is revealed in the way we show love to others.
Colossians 2:11 Your identity with him is not a circumcision of the flesh but is rather a circumcision by the Spirit in cutting away our sinful desires.
Hebrews 8:13 With promise of a new agreement, God made the old one obsolete, decaying and about to disappear.
King James
Genesis 17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Why might the finish of a journey be much harder than the start?

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Galatians 5:7–8 You started so well, so what has sidetracked you from following the truth now? The enticement to go a different way did not come from the Lord Jesus who called you to freedom in the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 3:13 Friends, I haven’t figured everything out yet, but I know one thing: the past needs to be forgotten so I can focus on doing better in the future.
Hebrews 10:36 We can be thankful for delays that bring patience, because endurance is essential for receiving God’s promise.
Hebrews 12:1 Since so many people have witnessed God’s glory and the value of knowing him, we should throw off every burden and the pursuit of self-serving desires that hinder us. As the witnesses cheer us on, let’s patiently run the race that God lays before us.
King James
Galatians 5:7–8 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Why do you think some people are easily deceived by false teaching?

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Matthew 16:6 “Watch out,” Jesus said. “Be careful to avoid the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Romans 7:11 Although we were told what to do, we were still deceived into thinking our ways were better, until it was too late.
Galatians 5:9 Like a little leaven affects the whole batch of dough, just a pinch of false teaching can mess up your life.
Ephesians 4:13–14 This effort must continue until we are in complete agreement in our faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ, when we are fully grown to be like him. Then we will no longer be immature children tossed about by every wind of doctrine, easily blown in different directions by deceivers who cleverly manipulate lies to look like the truth.
King James
Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Romans 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Ephesians 4:13–14 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Paul was confident that the Galatians would reject false teaching and follow the truth he had preached. What do you think his confidence was based upon?

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Galatians 5:10 I have confidence that you will hear and follow the Lord, and God will judge your detractors, whoever they are.
King James
Galatians 5:10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

Why was the message of Jesus Christ such a problem for many Jews?

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Galatians 5:11 My friends, if I preached that people needed to follow the Law in circumcision, the Jews wouldn’t attack me so strongly. They would take no offense if I didn’t show Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as our means to be free from sin.
King James
Galatians 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

Do you think Paul was wishing for calamity to strike the circumcision preachers? Why?

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Galatians 5:12 I wish these circumcision preachers would quit troubling you with their doctrine.
King James
Galatians 5:12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.

When freed, captives must decide what they will do outside the prison bars. If Grace is freedom from the Law, what changes should we see in our behavior?

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John 1:17 Moses gave us the Law, but Jesus Christ gave us grace and truth.
Romans 6:14–15 God should be your master, not sin, because God’s love and forgiveness, not the Law with its many regulations, should be the driving force in your lives. What do you think? Should we continue to sin because we are not bound by rules and regulations but live under his forgiveness? Absolutely not!
Galatians 5:13–14 You have been called to freedom from the Law. But my friends, do not use that freedom to satisfy your selfish desires, but show the love of Christ by serving the needs of others. In the freedom we have in Christ, all that the Law intended to accomplish is fulfilled in just one directive: Love your neighbor as much as you love yourselves.
King James
John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:14–15 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Galatians 5:13–14 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

How do the benefits compare with the consequences of greed?

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Galatians 5:15 If you are taking advantage of one another, watch out. In greed, you’ll wind up destroying instead of growing your relationships.
King James
Galatians 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

Exactly how do we go about hearing the Holy Spirit and heeding his direction?

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John 16:13 “But when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own authority but will say only what he hears. He will reveal to you things to come.”
Galatians 5:16 Let me make this perfectly clear: if you listen to God’s Spirit within, you will seek to please him and to benefit others, not to satisfy your selfish desires.
James 4:17 Sin is failure to do the good you know you should do.
King James
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

What happens if we ignore what God is speaking to our hearts but choose to go our own way that seems right?

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Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right but ends in death.
Matthew 12:31–32 “Understand this: all kinds of sin and evil speaking may be forgiven, but speaking evil of the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven. You may speak against the Son of Man and be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Not now. Not ever.”
Romans 6:23 Sin’s paycheck is death, but God rewards us with eternal life because of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Galatians 5:17 If your self-serving motives oppose what the Holy Spirit wants to do, you will live in conflict, not fulfilling the purpose you feel called to.
1 John 5:17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is a sin that does not lead to death.
King James
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Matthew 12:31–32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
1 John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

How is following the direction of the Holy Spirit more important than obeying the Law or what we would otherwise think was right?

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Genesis 22:1–2 After this, God spoke to Abraham, testing him.
Abraham said, “Yes, I’m listening.”
God said, “Take your only son Isaac, the one you love so much, and go the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him as a burnt offering on the mountain that I will show you.”
Matthew 9:13 “Go learn what the prophet meant when he said, I wanted you to show love, not make sacrifices. I have not come to invite to repentance those who think they are righteous. I have come for those who know they are sinners.”
Mark 12:33 “To love him with our whole heart, with all our being and all our strength, and to love others as much as ourselves is more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Galatians 5:18 When led by the Spirit, you yield to a directive that supersedes the Law.
King James
Genesis 22:1–2 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

The apostle Paul gives us a long list of symptoms. How would you describe the disease, and what medication would you prescribe?

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Galatians 5:19–21 Your self-serving nature can lead you to such things as infidelity, pornography, and other sexual impurity—contentions, anger, and resentment—false doctrines, psychics, and misplaced worship—envy, jealousy, and preying upon others—alcohol, drugs, and mindless partying. As I’ve said before, don’t think for a second that you can do such things and have any place in the Kingdom of God.
King James
Galatians 5:19–21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 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.

How could people who know the Lord be excluded from God’s Kingdom?

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Matthew 7:22–23 “On Judgment Day, many will say, ‘Lord, didn’t we prophesy, cast out evil spirits, and do many wonderful deeds in your name?’ Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you disobedient lawbreakers.’ “
Mark 11:26 “If you do not forgive, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.”
Luke 13:2–5 Jesus said, “Do you think, because they suffered in this way, that these Galileans were greater sinners than others? I assure you, they were not. But unless you turn to God, you will suffer a similar fate. What about those eighteen people who died when the tower of Siloam fell? Do you think they were greater sinners than everyone else in Jerusalem? I assure you, they were not. But unless you turn to God, you will suffer a similar fate.”
Galatians 5:19–21 Your self-serving nature can lead you to such things as infidelity, pornography, and other sexual impurity—contentions, anger, and resentment—false doctrines, psychics, and misplaced worship—envy, jealousy, and preying upon others—alcohol, drugs, and mindless partying. As I’ve said before, don’t think for a second that you can do such things and have any place in the Kingdom of God.
King James
Matthew 7:22–23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Luke 13:2–5 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Galatians 5:19–21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 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.

What do you think stands in the way of people being led by the Holy Spirit?

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Matthew 6:24 “You cannot be the slave of two masters. You will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and earthly treasure.”
Matthew 19:16–24 A man came to Jesus and said, “Most excellent Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
“Why do you call me most excellent?” Jesus said. “No one is most excellent except God. If you want to enter that life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?”
Jesus said, “Do not murder, commit adultery, steal, or give false testimony. Honor your parents, and love your neighbor as much as yourself.”
“I’ve done all that since I was young. What else must I do?”
“If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you own, and give the money to the poor. You will have treasure in Heaven and can follow me.”
After hearing this, the young man walked away sad, because he was very wealthy.
Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is nearly impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is harder for a man of great wealth to enter the Kingdom than for a camel to get through a needle’s eye.”
Galatians 5:22 If the Holy Spirit is guiding your life, you show true love—giving to people without regard to whether they can return the favor. You have joy, peace and patience in stressful situations. Kindness, generosity, and faithfulness expresses who you are, not what people deserve.
1 Timothy 6:10 The love of money is the root of all evil. Coveting the independence, power, and control that money provides, they have strayed from the faith, creating many sorrows for themselves and others.
King James
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 19:16–24 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Why is there no law against expressions of love?

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Romans 13:10 Love never wishes harm upon someone, which explains why love is the fulfillment of the law.
Galatians 5:22–23 If the Holy Spirit is guiding your life, you show true love—giving to people without regard to whether they can return the favor. You have joy, peace and patience in stressful situations. Kindness, generosity, and faithfulness expresses who you are, not what people deserve. You are gentle and even-tempered. There’s no law against such behavior.
King James
Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Galatians 5:22–23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

What is the benefit of abandoning our self-serving desires?

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Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ have put to death their self-serving desire for prosperity and pleasure.
King James
Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

What would prevent our following the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

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Psalm 20:7 Some people think their horses and chariots will save them, but our confidence comes from being under God’s direction and authority.
Psalm 37:5 Surrender your desires to whatever God wants, trusting him, and he will be there to help you.
Galatians 5:25 If the Holy Spirit is your source of life, then you should make him your constant guide.
1 Timothy 4:1–2 The Holy Spirit plainly says that in these last days, people will forsake their faith, loving the deception and doctrines of evil spirits. With dead consciences, they embrace and promote lies as if they were the truth.
King James
Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
Psalm 37:5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
1 Timothy 4:1–2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

What encourages and what discourages competition?

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Galatians 5:26 Don’t seek glory for yourselves, competing with others. Don’t be jealous of someone who has something you don’t have.
King James
Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

What motivates people to be jealous?

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Galatians 5:26 Don’t seek glory for yourselves, competing with others. Don’t be jealous of someone who has something you don’t have.
King James
Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.