5:2 1 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be a circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
(1) Another entreaty in which he plainly witnesses that justification of works, and justification of faith cannot stand together, because no man can be justified by the Law, but he that does fully and perfectly fulfil it. And he takes the example of circumcision, because it was the ground of all the service of the Law, and was chiefly urged by the false apostles. 5:4 Christ is b become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are c justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
(a) Circumcision is in other places called the seal of righteousness, but here we must have consideration of the circumstance of the time, for now baptism is a sign of the new covenant, just as circumcision was the sign of the old covenant. And moreover Paul reasons according to the opinion that his enemies had of it, which made circumcision a essential to their salvation.
(b) That is, as he himself expounds it afterward, "ye are fallen from grace." 5:5 2 For we through the d Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
(c) That is, seek to be justified by the Law, for indeed no man is justified by the Law.
(2) He privately compares the new people with the old: for it is certain that they also did ground all their hope of justification and life in faith, and not in circumcision, but in such a way that their faith was wrapped in the external and ceremonial worship. But our faith is without such ceremony, and content with spiritual worship. 5:6 3 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor 4 uncircumcision; 5 but e faith which worketh by love.
(d) Through the Spirit who brings about faith.
(3) He adds a reason, for now circumcision is abolished, seeing that Christ is exhibited to us with complete spiritual circumcision. (4) He makes mention also of uncircumcision, lest the Gentiles should please themselves in it, as the Jews do in circumcision. (5) The taking away of an objection: if all that worship of the Law is taken away, in what than shall we exercise ourselves? In charity, Paul says: for faith of which we speak cannot be idle; no, it brings forth daily fruits of charity. 5:7 6 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
(e) So is true faith distinguished from counterfeit faith: for charity is not joined with faith as a fellow cause, to help forward our justification with faith.
(6) Again he chides the Galatians, but with both an admiration and a praise of their former race, so that he may make them more ashamed. 5:8 7 This persuasion [cometh] not of f him that calleth you.
(7) He plays the part of an apostle with them, and uses his authority, denying that any doctrine can come from God which is contrary to his. 5:9 8 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
(f) Of God.
(8) He adds this, that he may not seem to contend upon a trifle, warning them diligently (by a metaphor which he borrows of leaven, as Christ himself also did) not to allow the purity of the apostolic doctrine to be infected with the least corruption at all. 5:10 9 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.
(9) He moderates the former reprehension, casting the fault upon the false apostles, against whom he denounces the horrible judgment of God. 5:11 10 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
5:12 11 I would they were even cut off which g trouble you.
(10) He wishes them to consider that he seeks not his own profit in this matter, seeing that he could avoid the hatred of men if he would join Judaism with Christianity.
5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; 12 only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
(11) An example of a true pastor inflamed with the zeal of Gods glory, and love for his flock.
(g) For those that preach the Law cause mens consciences to always tremble.
5:14 13 For h all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
(12) The third part of this epistle, showing that the right use of Christian liberty consists of this, that being delivered and set at liberty from the slavery of sin and the flesh, and being obedient to the Spirit, we should through love help each other to mature in their salvation.
5:15 14 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
(13) He sets forth the love of our neighbour, as a mark unto which all Christians ought to refer all their actions, and to that he cites the testimony of the Law.
(h) This particle "all" must be limited to the second table of the ten commandments.
5:16 15 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
(14) An exhortation to the duties of charity, by the profit that follows from it, because no men proved worse for themselves than they that hate one another.
5:17 For the i 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.
(15) He acknowledges the great weakness of the godly, because they are but in part regenerated: but he exhorts them to remember that they are endued with the Spirit of God, who has delivered them from the slavery of sin, and so from the Law, inasmuch as it is the power of sin, so that they should not give themselves to lusts.
5:19 16 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
(i) For the flesh dwells even in the regenerated man, but the Spirit reigns, even though not without great strife, as is largely set forth in ( Romans 7:1-25 ).
5:22 But the k fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
(16) He sets out that particularly of which he spoke generally, reckoning up some principal effects of the flesh, and opposing them to the fruits of the Spirit, that no man may pretend ignorance.
(k) Therefore they are not the fruits of free will, but only as far forth as our will is made free by grace. 5:23 Meekness, temperance: 17 against such there is no law.
5:25 If we l live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(17) Lest that any man should object that Paul plays the deceiver, as one who urging the Spirit urges nothing but that which the Law commands, he shows that he requires not that literal and outward obedience, but spiritual, which proceeds not from the Law but from the Spirit of Christ, who gives us new birth, and must and ought to be the ruler and guider of our life.
(l) If we are indeed endued with the quickening Spirit, who causes us to die to sin, and live to God, let us show it in our deeds, that is, by holiness of life. 5:26 18 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
(18) He adds special exhortations according as he knew the Galatians to be subject to different vices: and first of all he warns them to take heed of ambition, which vice has two fellows, backbiting and envy. And out of these two many contentions necessarily arise.