The Fruit of the Spirit Page 3 (series: Lessons on Galatians)
by John Lowe
Against such there is no law.
This observation by the apostle reflects both irony and understatement. There is certainly no law against love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What’s more, if a person has this fruit of the Spirit, they don’t need the Law. They fulfill it already! Paul may have meant to ridicule the false apostles, who, while they enforced subjection to the law, were eager to release themselves from its yoke. The only way, he tells us, in which this is accomplished, is, when the Spirit of God obtains dominion, from which we are led to conclude that they had no proper regard for spiritual righteousness.
By the term “such” is meant the fruits, graces, and good things mentioned above; there is no law against any of them. In fact, they are perfectly agreeable to the law of God, which is holy, just, and good, and spiritual; they are so far from being forbidden by it, that they are highly esteemed and approved of by it. Accordingly, there can be no law against persons that are in possession of such fruits; because these fruits are produced by the Spirit, and these people are led by the Spirit; and therefore, they are not under the law, and have nothing to fear from it, because it is no longer terrifying, accusing, cursing, and condemning. The works of the flesh and those that are of the flesh are such that come under the curse and lash of the law; and not the fruits of the Spirit, and they that are of the Spirit.
By this observation, “Against such there is no law,” the apostle implies that the graces and virtues mentioned here are so noticeably excellent, that they were not only never forbidden by any human law, but there never has been any nation that did not acknowledge their excellence. And those who in the general course of their lives give rise to these pleasant and non-threatening fruits of the Spirit, are, by the grace of the gospel, free from the condemning sentence of the divine law; hence there can be no condemnation for those who possess them.
But even the Law condemns the works of the flesh.
Observe what these prominent theologians had to say in regard to against such there is no law:
• “This is a masterly understatement. It draws our attention to the fact that the kind of conduct that Paul has outlined is that which lawmakers everywhere want to bring about.” (Morris)
• “There is a law, of course, but it does not apply to those who bear these fruits of the Spirit. The Law is not given for the righteous man. A true Christian conducts himself in such a way that he does not need any law to warn or to restrain him. He obeys the Law without compulsion. The Law does not concern him. As far as he is concerned there would not have to be any Law.” (Luther)
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
And they that are Christ‘s.
“And they that are Christ’s” are all who are true Christians, and therefore are bound to Him by faith; who possess the fruit of the Spirit, and belong to Him, because they have given themselves over to him, as you, Galatians, once did.
“And they that are Christ’s” continue to walk in the Spirit, meditate upon the teachings of the Lord, actively seek to maintain identity with the mind of Christ, are conscious of the indwelling Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—these things will indeed "crucify" the lusts and evil imaginations which feed them. This is possible only in the spiritual religion of Christ Jesus, free from the externals and attractive allurements of spectacular Judaism, which is the blessed "freedom in Christ."
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, thus putting to death the corrupt passions of the soul. They are as good as dead, and have no power over us “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).. This is an incredibly important truth that no man is ever saved because he possesses any true righteousness of his own. All of the righteousness of God is in Christ (Ephesians 1:3); and no mortal may be saved as strictly himself. He must renounce self and become identified with Christ who is righteous. "As Christ," therefore, he is
dead to sin, he has crucified the flesh, has fulfilled the law, is alive unto God, and the heir of eternal glory "in Christ." This doctrine is one of the fundamentals of Pauline theology, and one of the concepts which gives meaning to and ties together in a coherent whole the various aspects of Paul's gospel. This forsaking of one's identity to be “in Christ" was announced by Christ himself, who said, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). Also, he said, "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit ... If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, etc." (John 15:4-6). Therefore, if a man is able to answer two questions affirmatively, there is no way he can be lost: (1) Is he "in Christ"? (The only way one can be "in Christ" is to be baptized into him.) (2) Will he be "found in him"? (Philippians 3:9). This means, will he still be "in Christ" when life ends, or the Lord comes? The person who can answer affirmatively to these questions is of them concerning whom the voice from heaven said, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord" (Revelation 14:13).
With the affections and lusts.
The word affections, or passions denotes evil passions, appetites, and inclinations, such as pride, self-will, discontent, anger, malice, envy, revenge; these are distinguished from the lusts of the flesh.
Having crucified the flesh, we have through grace overcome the reigning power of sin, and are now consistently weakening and destroying its influence; and we are bound NOT to let the flesh, with its affections and lusts, revive again and produce works. And in the next verse, he shows us how it is done.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The gist of this verse is probably, “We who are Christians profess to be under the influences of the Holy Spirit. Our Spiritual life is affected and formed by His influences and intervention. We profess not to be under the dominion of the flesh; not to be controlled by its appetites and desires. Let us then act in this manner, and as if we believed what we profess. Let us yield ourselves to His influences, and show that we are controlled by that Spirit.” It is a serious appeal to Christians to yield entirely to the operation of the Holy Spirit on their hearts, and to submit to His guidance “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5); also “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
“If we live in the Spirit,” or "by the Spirit," as all do who are spiritually alive. Sin has not only brought death into the world, but it has also made men prone to an eternal death. Moreover, it has also brought upon them a spiritual or moral death; they are dead in trespasses and sin, nor can they quicken themselves, nor can any creature give them life; not the ministers of the word, nor the angels in heaven, only the blessed Spirit of life from Christ; who upon entering into them, frees them from the law of sin and death, and implants a principle of spiritual life in them, whereby they live a life of faith in Christ, of holiness, and communion with Him: and the apostle makes use of this as an argument for believers to walk after the Spirit.
Every child of God should “live in the Spirit.” Since this is so, then let our walk be consistent with it, seeking no other motivating power except that which comes from God. To desire personal and worldly honor is just the reverse of this, since such motives are really offensive to God. Self is then puffed up, which is a most obnoxious attitude for a Christian, and may produce many evils in our associations with one another, such as—jealousy, disputes, envy, etc. You may want to think of it like this: The inner life should rule the outer life.
“Let us also walk in the Spirit,” or "by the Spirit;” with His help and assistance, according to the teaching of His word, and under His influence and direction as a guide, which He had mentioned before “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18).