by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 16 August 18, 2013 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(285)Thesis:The fundamental exhortations of Galatians consist of "walking by the Spirit" and "refraining from the pursuit of vain glory".
Introduction:From all of our studies of Galatians, I have concluded that the book was written to people who have a seriously misguided, hard core, deeply embedded, "value": seeking to gain approval from men. What this boils down to is a most deeply held fear that the "love" of God is a myth.
As we come to the end of Paul's "walking" instructions in Galatians 5:25-26, we see him returning to this deeply held "value" with a couple of exhortations. The first is rooted in the reality of the love and grace of God; the second is aimed directly at the inevitable conflict that arises from the desire to be held in high esteem by men.
I. The Fact and Proof of God's "Love" in Real Time Reality.
A. The root of the "If we live by the Spirit...".
1. That we live by the Spirit was established in 3:1-3.
2. This "life by the Spirit" is, by Paul's own testimony in 3:1, inextricably attached to "Jesus Christ crucified": the inescapable proof of God's "love" for us [there simply is no other explanation for the death of Christ "for" us].
B. The actual, historical reality regarding "life by the Spirit".
1. He sponsored Paul's preaching in Galatia.
2. He attended the preaching with potent "conviction" (note 1 Thessalonians 1:5).
3. He sponsored Paul's letter inthefaceof Galatian fickleness and infidelity (note Paul in Romans5:8).
4. Heactually gives the experience of eternal life to all who are believing (the experience of the "love, joy and peace" that mark His fruit within the believer).
C. The only reasonable, logical, rational, ethical result of "faith": walking by the same "rule" that was engaged when the Spirit brought the Galatians into the Life.
1. The verb "let us also walk" is a subjunctive, not an imperative.
a. Imperatives are seriously misunderstood and typically create a "fall-back" into the unbelief of "Law" insistence.
b. Imperatives have a legitimate place under "grace", but Paul deliberately shies away from them in this two-verse wrap-up of living by grace, under love, empowered by the Spirit.
2. The "walk" is not the typical verb used for "walking" in the New Testament.
a. The verb is used only five times in the New Testament and there is always a "rule" lurking in the background.
b. The "rule" is not a "rule" in the sense of a demand; it is a "rule" in the sense of a methodological principle.
3. What Paul is doing is tying the "method" of "Life" tightly to its "inception" and its "progression".
a. The "inception" is the actual initiative of the Spirit in bringing a person to understanding, conviction of truth, and faith in the facts of the Gospel, at the root of which is the love of the God of the Gospel.
b. The "progression" is to be maintained: life is by the initiative of the Spirit.
1) Believers are not supposed to enter into the "disciplines of the Christian life" because someone tells them that this is how we grow in Christ: we do not grow in Christ by "disciplines".
2) Believers are supposed to keep the lines of communication with God open (Acts24:16) and are supposed to yield to "truth" as it becomes clear by the Spirit.
3) It is the Spirit's "job" to provide the motivation and energy to pursue the will of God.
II. The Only Reasonable Response of "Faith".
A. Be clear on one fact: the glory men seek from others is incredibly "empty".
B. Be clear on the expression of the lack of clarity regarding the empty glory.
1. "Provoking" one another is a tactic of the fleshly pursuit of empty glory.
a. A "rare" word in the New Testament (found only here) that means "to irritate others by calling on them to 'recognize' you".
b. The "norm" in this kind of setting is "agenda conflict" where a person "irritates" others by insisting that his/her "way" is best (but there is a host of "look at me" behaviors that are just as 'irritating').
2. "Envying" one another is another result of the pursuit of empty glory.
a. This is another "rare" word found, in the present form, only here in the New Testament.
b. Its "nominal root" is a word found in nine texts in the New Testament which reveal the deadliness of "envy": murder (Matthew 27:18 and Mark 15:10).
c. Its basic identity consists of the feelings of dislike for another because that "other" has something "I" want for myself.