16 I say then - He now explains what he proposed, Gal
5:13. Walk by the Spirit - Follow his guidance in all things. And fulfil
not - In anything. The desire of the flesh - Of corrupt nature.
17 For the flesh desireth against the Spirit - Nature desires
what is quite contrary to the Spirit of God. But the Spirit against the
flesh - - But the Holy Spirit on his part opposes your evil nature. These
are contrary to each other - The flesh and the Spirit; there can be no
agreement between them. That ye may not do the things which ye would -
- That, being thus strengthened by the Spirit, ye may not fulfil the desire
of the flesh, as otherwise ye would do.
18 But if ye are led by the Spirit - Of liberty and love, into
all holiness. Ye are not under the law - Not under the curse or bondage
of it; not under the guilt or the power of sin.
19 Now the works of the flesh - By which that inward principle
is discovered. Are manifest - Plain and undeniable. Works are mentioned
in the plural because they are distinct from, and often inconsistent with,
each other. But "the fruit of the Spirit" is mentioned in the singular,
Ga 5:22, as being all consistent and connected together. Which are these
- He enumerates those "works of the flesh" to which the Galatians were
most inclined; and those parts of "the fruit of the Spirit" of which they
stood in the greatest need. Lasciviousness - The Greek word means anything
inward or outward that is contrary to chastity, and yet short of actual
20 Idolatry, witchcraft - That this means witchcraft, strictly
speaking, (not poisoning,) appears from its being joined with the worship
of devil - gods, and not with murder. This is frequently and solemnly forbidden
in the Old Testament. To deny therefore that there is, or ever was, any
such thing, is, by plain consequence, to deny the authority both of the
Old and New Testament. Divisions - In domestic or civil matters. Heresies
are divisions in religious communities.
21 Revellings - Luxurious entertainments. Some of the works here
mentioned are wrought principally, if not entirely, in the mind; and yet
they are called "works of the flesh." Hence it is clear, the apostle does
not by "the flesh" mean the body, or sensual appetites and inclinations
only, but the corruption of human nature, as it spreads through all the
powers of the soul, as well as all the members of the body. Of which I
tell you before - Before the event, I forewarn you.
22 Love - The root of all the rest. Gentleness - Toward all men;
ignorant and wicked men in particular. Goodness - The Greek word means
all that is benign, soft, winning, tender, either in temper or behaviour.
23 Meekness - Holding all the affections and passions in even
24 And they that are Christ's - True believers in him. Have thus
crucified the flesh - Nailed it, as it were, to a cross whence it has no
power to break loose, but is continually weaker and weaker. With its affections
and desires - All its evil passions, appetites, and inclinations.