5:21 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.
(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.
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.
(b) That is, as he himself expounds it afterward, "ye are
fallen from grace."
(c) That is, seek to be justified by the Law, for indeed no
man is justified by the Law.
5:52 For we through the d Spirit wait for the hope of
righteousness by faith.
(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.
(d) Through the Spirit who brings about faith.
5:63 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any
thing, nor 4 uncircumcision; 5 but e faith which
worketh by love.
(3) He adds a reason, for now circumcision is abolished, seeing
that Christ is exhibited to us with complete spiritual
(4) He makes mention also of uncircumcision, lest the Gentiles
should please themselves in it, as the Jews do in
(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
(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.
5:76 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not
obey the truth?
(6) Again he chides the Galatians, but with both an admiration
and a praise of their former race, so that he may make them
5:87 This persuasion [cometh] not of f him that calleth
(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.
(f) Of God.
5:98 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
(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.
5:109 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.
5:1110 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do
I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross
(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.
5:1211 I would they were even cut off which g trouble you.
(11) An example of a true pastor inflamed with the zeal of
God's glory, and love for his flock.
(g) For those that preach the Law cause men's consciences
to always tremble.
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.
(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.
5:1413 For h all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even]
in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
(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.
5:1514 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that
ye be not consumed one of another.
(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.
5:1615 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall
not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
(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.
5:17 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.
(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 (Ro 7:1-25).
5:1916 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are
[these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
(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
5:22 But the k fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
(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.
(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.
5:25 If we l live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the
(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.
5:2618 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.