GALATIANS – GRACE APPLIED (Part 2)

(3). Fruit of the Spirit  
Paul now describes the contrast in the lives of individuals that have been changed through faith in God, and by His indwelling Holy Spirit, and is displayed in the way they live and conduct themselves: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” , and it should be noted he emphasises that this behaviour is not controlled or produced by the Law. These deeds are the direct result of the righteousness of God that has been granted to us through faith in Him, and the work of the Holy Spirit who indwells each believer.
He proceeds to explain that  “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” , which simply means that we “put to death”  the old sinful nature with all it’s desires, through the help and work of the Holy Spirit , and concludes this section by encouraging us: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” ; that is, we should march in step like a marching company of soldiers, be of one mind and spirit, acknowledging the fact that we are under the control and direction of our captain – God’s Holy Spirit who helps us not to boast in anything that we have, or can do, to achieve the acts of the “new nature”, but to fully understand that our character is now that of Christ Himself.
(d). Performance in Liberty: Do Good to All Men 
(1). Bear One Another’s Burdens   
Liberty through Christ also gives the believer the ability to carry out acts of kindness to others who we live and work with on a daily basis; but Paul begins this section with a caution: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” It is important to understand that when sin  is identified in the body of believers something must be done before it affects the life of the body, for failure to do so will cause the whole body to be contaminated by the sinful act of the one who is guilty, and the blessing of God will be withheld from the body of believers , and instead of caring for each other there will be only gossip and accusations.
In bearing each other’s burdens we fulfill the Law of Christ in showing our love for each other as he taught in the previous chapter; “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” , and in doing so we should not be arrogant in carrying out such duties; “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” .Bearing someone’s hardship should cause self-examination as to the motive for our action so that pride is  not the intention; “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else” since we are individually responsible before God for our actions and shall give account to God; “for each one should carry his own load.” .  
(2). Do Not Be Weary While Doing Good  
The act of “doing good” or in sharing each other’s difficulties is an act of involvement and we should be invigorated in doing so; “Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.” In our attempt to doing good we should not deceive ourselves, we must be aware that actions that evolve from the sinful nature cannot produce good works, or works of righteousness; righteous acts can only come from the work of the Holy Spirit; “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
So Paul concludes that we should be refreshed by our good deeds and not be fatigued, God will eventually reward us for our good deeds especially when they are offered to members of God’s family, so we should grasp every opportunity to do so; “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
(e). Conclusion 
                       
(1). Motives of the Circumcised  
Motive: Concern, desire, emotion, or need that energizes people to action and determines their choice of behaviour. Motive is a common expression of our present social environment and a determination of behavioural actions, no different to what occurred in Paul’s day. Here Paul is expressing his belief concerning the actions and demands of the Judaizers in that they desired to make a good outward impression by their determination to have the Gentile converts agree to circumcision, reasoning to themselves that such action would avoid, or make it less possible for them to experience opposition or persecution, or as Paul states: “The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.” .To be a true disciple of Christ one must face persecution in some form ,particularly on the grounds that salvation is by faith only and not by works. He concludes that, “Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh.” indicating that such demand is no guarantee that the requirements of the Law will be obeyed, but rather will be a show of pride in what they have accomplished.
(2). Motives of the Apostle Paul  

Paul now concludes his letter by expressing his motives as opposed to the motives of the Judaizers; he will not be proud in any outward expressions of attempting to be “Law abiding”; he expresses “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” . The believer in Jesus Christ has nothing to be proud of considering that we are all sinners who were unable to help ourselves, but through our faith in Christ we have been redeemed from the curse and demands of the Law under which we were condemned to death. We can only be eternally thankful to God for saving us through the work of the Cross of Christ, the only thing that is significant is that we now are a new creation, being changed into the image or character of Christ; “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.”
Those of us who so desire will experience; “Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.”, we will experience the peace and mercy of God as opposed to His wrath, even to those who are the Israel of God as opposed to those Jews or Gentiles that hold to the belief that salvation is of works or Law-keeping.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.”

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