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This is a follow up to the preceding post. They belong together, as they are commonly misunderstood together.


Galatians 5 (Amplified Version)

In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].

[Who is free? Those in Christ. ~ my note]

Notice, it is I, Paul, who tells you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no profit (advantage, avail) to you [for if you distrust Him, you can gain nothing from Him].

I once more protest and testify to every man who receives circumcision that he is under obligation and bound to practice the whole of the Law and its ordinances.

[The one who puts himself, or anyone else, under obligation of the law, likewise is bound to practice the whole Law and it’s ordinances. ~ my note]

If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from God’s gracious favor and unmerited blessing).

[Fallen from the benefits of grace, but still Christ’s. ~ my note]

For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope.

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.

[In other words, we are in Christ.  ~ my note]

You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth?

This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ].

A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].

[Who was unsettling them? It was the Judaizers – law keepers. If any are putting law on others, they are law-keepers too ~ my note.]

[For my part] I have confidence [toward you] in the Lord that you will take no contrary view of the matter but will come to think with me. But he who is unsettling you, whoever he is, will have to bear the penalty.

But, brethren, if I still preach circumcision [as some accuse me of doing, as necessary to salvation], why am I still suffering persecution? In that case the cross has ceased to be a stumbling block and is made meaningless (done away).

I wish those who unsettle and confuse you would [go all the way and] cut themselves off!

For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another.

For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

But if you bite and devour one another [in partisan strife], be careful that you [and your whole fellowship] are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).

[Walking by the Spirit applies to those who are in Christ. ~ my note]

For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do.

But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.

Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

[Who? Those who are not led by the Spirit but who are subject to Law.

Believers do fleshly things, but grace teaches them godly things. They are righteous and the “sins” that they commit are not imputed to them. ~ my note]

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.

If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]

Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.

[Paul is talking about how the world lives, which is not in Christ and not free, but is in bondage to the flesh. He is not saying that members of the body of Christ could or are doing things that would or could keep them from the kingdom!

He is actually talking about selfishness versus serving one another.

We are dead to the law, and therefore to sin.

This passage cannot legitimately be used to put any under condemnation or say they are not saved. It’s not about actions proving anything. It’s about what the flesh selfishly does and how in Christ we are walking in the spirit and are not controlled by the flesh.

 Again, we believers do fleshly things, but they are not counted against us.

 Further, fleshy things are not bad. Things are neutral, and all are lawful. But all are not expedient.  Why? Some things we do are abusive and harmful to others and that is not profitable or expedient, nor is that godliness.

Love is not selfish!

~ my note]

The following is the passage used to say that there is a spiritual act of worship:

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (KJV)

Notice that verse one does not say “spiritual service, or “spiritual act of worship”, as some versions have it. The Greek literally says, “I am inviting (parakaleo – to call near or invite) then, you brothers, through the pities of the God, to stand/proffer/be at hand, the bodies of you (your bodies) sacrifice (act or victim, literal or figurative), living, holy, fully agreeable, to the God, the logical ministration/latreia (or “divine” service) of you (your)….” And so on.

(From the Thayer and Smith Greek Lexicon, latreia: service rendered for hire – any service or ministration: the service of God – the service and worship of God according to the requirements of the Levitical law – to perform sacred services)

The word spiritual is not even there.

The passage draws its language from the old type of service under the law, after the flesh. But by the mercies of God, it is reasonable to present ourselves to Him – for we are wholly His.

Notice that it also says, “living”. It’s a new and living way we are walking in. Not the way of death, but life. We “surrender” to God’s way, the living way, and the only sacrifice we can logically bring is our living selves – our hearts and our hands and our feet. Lively stones of God’s building.

We are in the spirit if we are Christ’s. We are therefore spiritual, before we “do” anything else!

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord…

Romans 8:9-10 – But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Those who are Christ’s are spiritual, the old man being dead.

We all may not be mature, but we are all spiritual because our very nature has been changed – we are a new creation. Everything we do is actually spiritual. God fully accepts our acts done by our living flesh, for we are accepted in Christ.

I like it put this way: Romans 12:3 – (The Message) I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

Here is another, grace-based, take on that passage.  Paul is inviting them, because of God’s grace given by His mercies (he just spent 11 chapters talking about grace) to be ready as flesh and blood human bodies, to serve in the temple made without hands (for elsewhere it is written that God is not served by human hands).

In other words, we serve in the body of Christ, we who are now living in newness of life, with him working through us. The rest of the passage is the result of what the grace-walk looks like. 

It isn’t true spirituality to do anything in order to be spiritual; it will only fail. True spirituality is recognizing and acknowledging that we are already spiritual – and then walking in it.

Steps to Spirituality?

1. Be born of the spirit

Gee, it seems like there aren’t any others…..

Romans 8:1-9 (Young’s Literal Translation – modified)

1 There is, then, now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; 2 for the law of the Spirit of the life in Christ Jesus did set me free from the law of the sin error (of Adam) and of the death; 3 for what the law was not able to do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, His own Son having sent in the likeness of sinful (man’s) error-prone flesh, and for sin error, did condemn the sin error in the flesh, 4 that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh, the things of the flesh do mind; and those according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit; 6 for the mind of the flesh [is] death, and the mind of the Spirit — life and peace; 7 because the mind of the flesh [is] enmity to God, for to the law of God it doth not subject itself, 8 for neither is it able; and those who are in the flesh are not able to please God. 9 And ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God doth dwell in you; and if any one hath not the Spirit of Christ — this one is not His;

Romans 8:6 (Easy-to-Read Version – modified)

If a person’s thinking is controlled by his sinful self, then there is spiritual* death. But if a person’s thinking is controlled by the Spirit, then there is life and peace.

*The Greek word is zoe, and the original wording does not support the insertion of the word, “spiritual”.

“Spiritual death” is not a scriptural concept. It is a construct of man’s theology, misunderstanding the penalty of death that was put on mankind in Eden.

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