Galatians chapter 5 is one of my favorite chapters. In it, Paul talks about freedom and fruit! Good stuff! I did a podcast on the Fruit of the Spirit as one of the 22 benefits of the salvation of Jesus Christ and it’s embedded towards the bottom. So, let’s dig into Paul’s letter to the Galatians. It starts with a potent declaration of the truth.
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision [or Catholic rituals] to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised [or ritualistic], you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses [or the Roman Catholic Church]. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised [or being baptized as a child or not]. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. 9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! 10 I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you.
11 Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. 12 I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.[bold additions mine]
Living by the Spirit’s Power
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses [or any other church rules for that matter].
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.Galatians 5 NLT [bold additions and emphasis mine]
The Fruit of the Spirit
What Does Freedom in Christ Actually Mean?
Born-Again Christians are not only set free from bondage of law, but they are also free from the bondage of sin because of the power of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.
Freedom in Christ is not an excuse to indulge in the sins and lusts of the flesh; rather, it provides the privilege of bearing the fruit of the Spirit by relying on Jesus and His guidance.
Roman Catholics are Slaves to the Rules, Rites and Regulations of the Church
Like sinning during the week because you can go to confession on Saturday & “be absolved” of yours sins. That makes no sense! What if you die on the way to church on Saturday — nowhere near it — and the priest can’t perform “last rites”? You are doomed to hell! Moreover, when you look at it, the Roman Catholic Church actually encourages sinning during the week!
Just the fact that the Roman Catholic Church pushes you to worship statues of Mary and the saints is wrong! That’s idolatry! It’s one of the “the desires of your sinful nature” that Paul mentions in this chapter. That’s breaking God’s law!
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23…
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’“Matthew 7:21-23 NLT [bold emphasis mine]
That’s going to be very disheartening when you get to the Great White Throne Judgement and you’re told, “I never knew you.” You’ll argue everything you did to gain “grace points” but it won’t be enough, it won’t matter. It’s never enough. You’re going to hell.
God will judge all Catholic church leaders — along with everybody else — at the Great White Throne Judgement found in Revelation 20 for their false teachings.
People worship idols because they lack a personal relationship with Jesus! You cannot be justified by following rules, rituals and regulations. The Catholic church has misled you all these years!
To reiterate Paul’s first line in this chapter…
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.Galatians 5:1 NLT
How do you do that?
With the help of the Holy Spirit in your heart! How do you get the Spirit? You repent of your sins, ask Jesus for forgiveness and invite him into your heart. Then you get baptized again! Yes, again! As an adult who is dying to his/her old sinful nature and being “born again” to a new life with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit!
If you don’t know how to invite Jesus into your life, just pray this prayer, humbly, sincerely, and wholeheartedly.
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I surrender my whole life to you and I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great daily devotionals and Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!
Jesus Christ is coming back soon! Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!