The Galatian churches included those in the cities of Lystra, Iconium, Antioch of Pisidia, and Derbe which were established on Paul’s first missionary journey and revisited on his subsequent missionary trips.
The six chapters of this epistle are divided into three main sections of Paul’s teaching.
Chapters 1 & 2 are personal in nature and deal with Paul’s authority.
Chapters 3 & 4 are doctrinal in nature and deal with justification by faith.
Chapters 5 & 6, are practical in nature and deal with the application of the doctrine of justification.
Chapter 5 - Stand Fast In The Liberty of Faith
I. Liberty verses Law (Gal. 5:1-6).
A. The Law verses the Spirit.
1. Outward works compared to inward faith (v.1-3, Ro.2:25-29).
> Both of these show that if you want to be justified by works, then you must keep all of the law.
> Circumcision was an act commanded of the Jews by God to show outwardly of their obedience inwardly.
> Much like Baptism, we perform an outward act to show what we have done inwardly.
> Neither of these provide salvation; Both are merely outward expressions of inward faith.
2. If you believe a person is justified by these works, then you must hold them accountable to ALL OF THE LAW.
> (Rom. 2:25) Your obedience in one point is made null, by your disobedience in another.
> (Rom. 2:26-27) Suppose a person obeys all the other commandments, but does not obey the commandment of circumcision? Is he then justified?
> If you by obeying this law, and breaking others, are justified, shouldn’t it work the other way around?
> And, if they keep more laws than you do, will they not be your judges (Rom. 2:27)?
> Either your saved by keeping ALL the law, or your not saved by the law at ALL.
3. But, it is not the OUTWARD that pleases God (Rom. 2:28-29).
> It is not the circumcision of the flesh, but of the heart.
> Or, in other words, it is not the act of obedience that God is looking at, but the spirit of obedience.
> A man could perform outward acts of obedience and hate God. But, a man who loves God obeys by choice.
> A prisoner may obey his oppressors outwardly, while inwardly hating them. But, a free man obeys his Lord, with the restraints of chains and bars.
> NOTICE THE PHRASE: "not in the letter"!
B. Not in the letter, but in the Spirit.
1. We were once under the letter of the law.
> We didn’t know any better than to obey out of fear.
> The commandment was a law unto death. It showed us how far from holiness we were.
> It brought judgement, not peace.
2. But, we have been redeemed from the curse of the law.
> We are no longer obligated to obey the letter of the law (Rom. 7:1-6).
> The illustration given is that of a wife whose husband has died. And, so she is no longer under obligation to her late husband. He is dead!
> If she marries another, she is not in adultery, because her obligation to her deceased husband has been removed.
> She can now live at liberty with her new husband!
3. Should we live worse lives, now that we are no longer under the law?
> Over and over the question is answered by the same phrase (Rom. 3:30-31; Rom. 5:20-6:2; Rom. 6:14-15; Rom. 7:6-7; Rom. 7:12-13).