SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Image Map
Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Galatians 5:19-21???

Print Thread (PDF)


Joined: 2007/6/25
Posts: 764

 Galatians 5:19-21???

I have been reading through Galatians for about a month now. I have a question about these verses:

"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities,strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

I am having a hard time understanding this portion of text. I have seen similar verses in other of the epistles. My thoughts are, Paul is speaking to Christians and possibly non believers, could Paul being saying this in way to describe the contrast of being a believer and a non believer? This is what a non-believer acts like; but you being a Christian should not be practicing those things. By implying those characteristics, he is warning them in a subtle but bold way?

I know there are some pastors and strong students of the word...just wanted to get a take and help on this.


 2008/4/25 8:19Profile

Joined: 2006/5/22
Posts: 2662
Nottingham, England

 Re: Galatians 5:19-21???

Well, I'm not a pastor, or a strong student of the word, so hesitated in replying. But here are a few observations.

The list of works given in Galatians 5 does surely contrast the life of the believer and non-believer. The 'believer' who is involved in such practices, should jump down to Galatians 22-24 and see what is expected to be displayed in the life of the believer.

Galatians 5v16 tells us to walk in the Spirit and we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

The lust of the flesh leads to the works of the flesh, due to not walking in the Spirit.

Of course, the unbeliever cannot walk in the Spirit because he does not have the Holy Spirit.

That's it for now. This was just to start the ball rolling.

God bless.

 2008/4/25 9:32Profile

Joined: 2007/6/14
Posts: 562
Indiana, US

 Re: Galatians 5:19-21???

i believe paul was addressing the christians there in galatia. in this whole letter, paul is contrasting the drastic difference between a life lived by the Spirit and a life lived by the flesh.

after addressing the difference between faith and observance of the law (chapter 3:1-14), the law and the promise (chapter 3:15-25), paul's concern for the galatians (chapter 4:8-20), difference of hagar (law) and jerusalem (promise), paul then goes into chapter 5 and our freedom in Christ.

he says that if any of us try to seek our justification through an observance of the law, then we have fallen from standing on the amazing grace of God. it is as if we have taken our eyes off of who God is and what He has done and placed them on ourselves and how "good" we can be. we have misplaced what He has done to what we are doing.

the book warns of using the flesh to try to please God through the observance of the law.

this brings us to your passage (v19-21). i see it as paul showing us what the outcome will be whenever we switch our source from God unto ourselves. those works of the flesh are naturally that which comes from our adamic strenth and ability. interestingly, these works are similar to what Jesus said in matthew 15 as those which come out of the heart making us unclean.

so unbelievers naturally have works of the flesh manifesting because their source of power is adam, not Christ. but paul is addressing christians in the letter, but why?? to warn them from losing focus of Him and subtly living by the law than by the Spirit. if we live by the law, then the works of the flesh will become manifest in our lives as well as unbelievers. so there is a constant call to come daily to the throne of God and receive His grace.


 2008/4/25 9:44Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Galatians 5:19-21???

I have seen similar verses in other of the epistles.

That seems key to apply here as well;

[i] ... of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past,[/i]

"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident ..."

"Now" is a continuing of what came before, the context and framework, what has he been speaking of?

I don't want to attempt an answer having not gone back through it myself. Appreciate this brother because it gives impetuous to something of a trait observed lately in this confine, this forum.

First for myself as guilty and neglecting but also the strong notice of scripture verses being taken out of their context and original intentions and applied in often a very haphazard way. It is just as ironic in a sense that this very verse contains the ramifications or results of what amounts to a "deeds of the flesh" approach and dissecting of the scriptures. They are 'evident' as noted;

[i]enmities,strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying,[/i]

Interesting just to take note the mix here. The ones I left out;

[i]immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery ... drunkenness, carousing[/i]

Are summed up as being all of the same ... matter;

[i]and things like these[/i]

It's interesting to note that there is no distinctions though it would seem natural to divide them up similar to the way I have done.

Pardon my taking opportunity of your questions to latch on to my concerns, it is very much why it seems many of us would benefit from [url=]How to Get the Most from Reading your Bible[/url] if not for the first time, just as a reminder or a refresher course of study. I am certain that I have failed often here by not applying these very things and guilty of a hop-scotching, proof texting way of expression. I need to get back to a proper and disciplined course of study, resist that impulse to throw out things that haven't really been ... assimilated.

Mathew Henry's thoughts for consideration;

[b]Galatians 5 -[/b]
In this chapter the apostle comes to make application of his foregoing discourse. He begins it with a general caution, or exhortation (Gal_5:1), which he afterwards enforces by several considerations (Gal_5:2-12). He then presses them to serious practical godliness, which would be the best antidote against the snares of their false teachers; particularly, I. That they should not strive with one another (Gal_5:13-15). II. That they would strive against sin, where he shows, 1. That there is in every one a struggle between flesh and spirit (Gal_5:17). 2. That it is our duty and interest, in this struggle, to side with the better part (Gal_5:16, Gal_5:18). 3. He specifies the works of the flesh, which must be watched against and mortified, and the fruits of the Spirit, which must be brought forth and cherished, and shows of what importance it is that they be so (Gal_5:19-24). And then concludes the chapter with a caution against pride and envy.

Mike Balog

 2008/4/25 10:10Profile

Joined: 2007/7/20
Posts: 3

 Re: Galatians 5:19-21???

I believe that Paul is simply re-iterating what Jesus preached about hypocrasy...If you call yourself a Christian, you are a role model for those who aren't...For you cannot be a Christian and participate in these activities...God said "Be ye holy, For I am holy"...These are commands, not suggestions!...


 2008/4/25 11:35Profile

Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3699


Galatians 5:17-18 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Who is doing the leading? It is not us, but the Holy Spirit if you are led by the Holy Spirit, then you are not under the Law. The making a distinguishing of the Law and The Flesh and the leading of the Spirit, Paul delineates the difference in the two. By the Spirit that is in us, we are led. These will not be the things that the flesh would do. But would be the things that the Spirit leads us to do.

In the Law and the flesh: Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

In the Spirit: Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Paul is only expressing the difference in the Spirit led Christian and the not Spirit led, who are causing them problems by saying they must be under the Law.

Galatians 5:25-26 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

For this is what the Law will do to you.

Galatians 5:7-8 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.

Our Freedom is in Christ.

Galatians 5:1-4 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

This is the most important part of this text;

Ga 5:2
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

The Law of the circumcision will take you back into the yoke of bondage and we will fall from Grace and Christ will profit us nothing.

Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Galatians 3:1-3 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Praise God, NO, we are made perfect by the Christ in us and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Amen

In Christ: Phillip


 2008/4/25 20:09Profile

Joined: 2007/6/25
Posts: 764


Pardon my taking opportunity of your questions to latch on to my concerns, it is very much why it seems many of us would benefit from How to Get the Most from Reading your Bible if not for the first time, just as a reminder or a refresher course of study. I am certain that I have failed often here by not applying these very things and guilty of a hop-scotching, proof texting way of expression. I need to get back to a proper and disciplined course of study, resist that impulse to throw out things that haven't really been ... assimilated.

Thank you for the link...I agree I can also neglect proper study practices; like to add-- John MacArthur says:

[b]Step 1-Reading[/b]: Read the passage of Scripture repeatedly until you understand it theme, meaning the main truth of the passage.

[b]Step 2-Interpreting[/b]: In Acts 8:30, Philip asked the Ethiopian eunuch, "Do you understand what you are reading?" Or put it another way, " What does the Bible mean by what it says?" It is not enough to read the text and jump directly to the application; we must first determine what it means, otherwise the application may be incorrect. As you read Scripture, always keep in mind one simple question: "What does this mean?" To answer that question requires the use of the most basic principle of interpretation, called the analogy of faith, which tells the reader to "interpret the Bible with the Bible"...

[b]Gaps to Bridge:[/b]
1. Language
2. Culture
3. Geography
4. History

1. [b]Literal Principle[/b]. Scripture should be understood in its literal, normal and natural sense.
2. [b]The Historical principle[/b]. Interpreting a passage in its historical context. We must ask what the text meant to the people to whom it was first written.
3. [b]The Grammatical Principle[/b]. This requires that we understand the basic grammatical structure of each sentence in the original language. To whom do the pronouns refer? What is the tense of the main verb? You will find that when you ask some simple questions like those, the meaning of the text immediately becomes clearer.
4. [b]The Synthesis Principle[/b]. This is what the Reformers called the [i]analogia scriptura[/i]. It means that the Bible does not contradict it self. If we arrive at an interpretation of a passage that contadicts a truth taught elsewhere in the Scriptures, our interpretation cannot be correct. Scripture must be compared with Scripture to discover its full meaning.

[b]Step 3-Evaluating.[/b] You have been reading and asking the question, "What does the Bible say?" Then you have interpreted, asking the question, "What does the Bible mean?" Now it is time to consult others to insure that you have the proper interpretation. Remember, the Bible will never contradict itself. Read Bible introductions, commentaries, and background books which will enrich your thinking through that illumination which God has given to other men and to you through their books. In your evaluation, be a true seeker. Be one who accepts the truth of God's word even though it may cause you to change what you always have believed, or cause you to alter your life pattern.

[b]Step 4-Applying.[/b] The next questions is:
"How does God's truth penetrate and change my own life?" Studying Scripture without allowing it to penetrate to the depths of your soul would be like preparing for a banquet without eating.

[b]Step 5-Correlating.[/b] This last stage connects the doctrine you have learned in a particular passage or book with divine truths and principles taught elsewhere in the Bible to form the big picture. Always keep in mind that the Bible is one book in 66 parts, and it contains a number of truths and principles, taught over and over again in a variety of ways and circumstances. By correlating and cross referencing, you will begin to build a sound doctrinal foundation by which to live.

 2008/4/25 21:03Profile

 Re: Galatians 5:19-21???

Reformer, I will attempt to give what I understand from this passage. First let me say that we as believers should all consider ourselves theologians. I say this because a theologian is someone who studies about God, whatever level of knowledge we may be at. We all need to know HIM better whatever level we may be at.

Paul was referring to the Jews, the circumcised Jews and warning them not to put any faith in that fleshly practice. CIRCUMCISION.

In Gal 5:2-3 Paul tells the Jews who have been circumcised that if they are counting on a fleshly circumcision for standing right then they also must obey the whole law, which they knew as well as we know we can't do that. That's why Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost.

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.

These Jewish people Paul was referring to was under the impression that if they were circumcised they could live anyway they choose to and be right before God.

Here is other scriptures that will explain further.
Rom 2:25-29
25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Phil 3:3-10
3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Another aspect of the flesh is our fleshly desires. When have realized we are sinners and ask for grace and mercy and have been born again but we are still fighting that fight against fleshly desires that are not pleasing to the Lord. When will it be over? I don't know, you will have to ask someone else. I haven't got there yet.

I heard a good explaination on this subject. After we have been born again, we need the Word of God in order for us to grow strong in HIS SPIRIT. We have two dogs in a pen, a white dog and a black dog. We feed the white dog and starve the black dog. Which one is going to win out eventually? If we starve the white dog, who needs the Word of God to grow strong, he will be weak and get beat up by the black dog. Put on the full armour of God where we can stand against the wiles of the devil. The black dog.

Heb 5:14
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 2008/4/26 0:55

Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3699


This is when the bus arrived from Jerusalem.

Galatians 2:4-6 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

With even Peter, James the head of the circumcision church and John.

Paul went straight to Peter and said he was wrong.

The Bus arriving from Jerusalem put Peter into a situation that Paul could not go for.

Galatians 2:12-15 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

This is what all of Galatians is all about, Jews spying out the freedom The Galatians Had in Christ which Paul Preached to them.

Galatians 2:16-21 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 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. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Paul is saying that this Judgement of the Jews upon the Gospel of Christ which Paul preached to the Galatians is sin.

If They fall for it Christ will prophet them nothing.

Galatians 5:1-2 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

In Christ: Phillip


 2008/4/26 1:38Profile

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Privacy Policy