In view of his previous exhortations, Paul urged the Galatians to return to their freedom in Christ and to reject the bondage of the old law. A person who continued to practice circumcision or any other part of the law as a command of God was obligated to keep the whole law and that made Christ’s death useless.
One who held to the law had refused to be under the grace of Christ. Paul said that such a person had “fallen from grace.” Instead, we are to live a life of loving service for God’s Son.
Paul reminded the Galatians that at one time they were doing well in their obedience to Christ. He was puzzled and asked them why they had departed from his teaching after having wholeheartedly obeyed it from the beginning.
The Galatians had allowed a small number of Judaizers to come in and weaken their faith in the gospel. Paul made the same statement that Jesus had made to His disciples years earlier. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” This principle is true whether the leaven of influence is good or evil.
Paul urged the Galatians to cut off those false teachers if they did not remove themselves from the church. He admonished them to serve one another through love. True Christians will look out for the good of one another and love their neighbors as themselves.
The Galatians were instructed to walk in the Spirit (inward man) instead of the flesh (outward man) as they war against each other. One walks in the Spirit by following the words of Scripture that were written by inspired men who were guided by the Holy Spirit.
In order for the Galatians to see the contrasts between the works of the flesh and Spirit, Paul listed several of each. One should have no problem recognizing either of them in anyone’s life.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Paul pointed out that those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh and refuse to indulge in the works of the flesh. They live and walk in the Spirit seeking to do the will of God. When they face the judgment, they will receive the reward of the faithful.