In this chapter, Paul addresses three major things. First, he clarifies that if someone seeks to obey the law in order to gain a right standing with God they have to keep the entire law. They are enslaved to following every part of the law perfectly. Because of this, Christ and the law cannot go together because Christ frees believers from the law. Second, Paul addresses the slander against him; people have lied by saying he supports circumcision. It’s at this point that Paul expresses his distaste for the Jewish competing “authorities” who are leading the Galatian believers away from the gospel of Christ. Lastly, Paul explains that the Spirit and the flesh are complete opposites, and exhorts the Galatians (and all) believers to walk in the Spirit. Following rules is me-centered and leans into the flesh, but, there is no law against what the Spirit produces.

Galatians 5:1-6

These Galatians believers have replaced the freedom found in Christ with a slavery to the law. They have ignored God’s grace and have replaced it with rules that will only show their sinfulness and failure to obey. Instead, they should follow the Spirit, which they received when placing their faith in Christ’s work on the cross.

Galatians 5:7-12

The Galatians were running well, following Christ, until these competing Jewish “authorities” misled them into believing that they needed the law and the gospel of Jesus. Paul also addresses the slander that he supposedly supports the competing Jewish “authorities’” message.

Galatians 5:13-16

Christ’s sacrifice has given believers a freedom; freedom to follow the Spirit and not the flesh.

Galatians 5:17-21

The flesh and the Spirit are not only opposed to one another; Paul’s description here makes it clear that they are mortal enemies. The desire of the flesh is set against the desire of the Spirit. And these are in direct opposition to one another.

Galatians 5:22-26

The Spirit produces those things that are in direct opposition to what the flesh produces. Instead of following sinful desires, believers should walk by the Spirit.