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No.77. (35) GALATIANS.
Gal. 5: 10 - 6: 10 --- The Troubler and The Restorer.
Flesh 5: Spirit (5: 16 - 26).
pp. 135 - 139
The Apostle's application of the truth that `faith worketh by love', and `love is the
fulfilling of the law' is intensely practical and pointed. He does not speak in general
terms or of some far off contingencies; he applies the moral to the actual state of affairs
which marred the Christian witness of the Galatians. He opens this section with such
pointed references as:
"But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another",
and closes on the same note:
"Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another"
(Gal. 5: 15, 26).
Has Paul put his finger on the root cause of most of the strife that has marred Christian
fellowship? He does not speak of zeal for the truth that over-ran the claims of charity; he
does not speak of the strain of double loyalties, he speaks of `vain glory' and `envy' as
being close to the root.
The figures of `biting' and `devouring' are borrowed from the habits of wild beasts;
the Apostle using such terms to awaken the consciences of his hearers, and by the climax
`consume one another' indicates that such internal strife can end in but one way--the
destruction of the whole witness. In the closing words he does not actually accuse the
Galatians of desiring vain glory, or of provoking one another or of envying one another;
he rather warns them of the danger they were in. These unlovely traits can soon manifest
themselves if `liberty gives an occasion to the flesh'. Just as love indicates by its
presence the existence of true faith (Gal. 5: 6), and just as love fulfils the whole law
(5: 14), so will love prevent the appearance of these evils which spring from the flesh in
the believer and not from the spirit.
The exhortation therefore to `walk in the spirit' is tantamount to saying `walk in love'.
We have indicated in the structure that this section begins and ends with the words `walk
in the spirit', we must now record that two different words are here translated `walk'.
Peripateo. This word translated `walk' in Gal. 5: 16, often means a mode of life, so
the Apostle could speak of `good works which God hath before ordained that we should
walk in them' (Eph. 2: 10). The believer's emancipation from the dominion of sin and
death is said to set him free `to walk in newness of life' (Rom. 6: 4).
Stoicheo translated `walk' in Gal. 5: 25, looks rather to the rules whereby the walk is
regulated. Stoicheis are the `first principles' (Heb. 5: 12). This particular walk is in