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Published by: Andrew Bacon on Nov 03, 2010
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The Wave

Week of October 31, 2010

Galatians 5:13-26

Andrew Bacon


Galatians 5:13-26 Preparations
Think about last week’s question: Does freedom mean we can do whatever we want? Read Galatians, Chapter 5:13-26 Read the study guide and familiarize yourself with the lesson. Make sure you read the “Take Aways” section so you know what the aim of this study is. However, be open to other truths as they may present themselves! Print this guide out so you can have it handy if needed. Pray for your ability to guide and for those in your group!

Hang Time
Catch up/Small talk

Recap and Share
Ask how they would summarize Chapter 5:1-12 from last week.

In last week’s study, Paul urges the Galatians to stay on the path of truth, which tells them that they are free in Christ. They need not think that following certain rules will earn them merit with God and they should avoid the agitators that would lead them astray. Ask them last week’s ending question and discuss. (answer may be found in today’s study)
Does freedom mean we can do whatever we want?

Read and Ask
Read Galatians 5:12-26. (Have someone read each section, separated by paragraphs. Go around the group until everyone reads and continue until the end of the chapter.) Ask for some General Observations: If no one gets to these on their own, here are some great questions to get things rolling… - How does this connect with Chapter 4? Paul continues explaining -

freedom and how the Galatians can do that by the Spirit. What does Paul seem to be doing in this Chapter? Explaining how living in the Spirit keeps us free and free from acts of sin.

Chapter 5:13-15 – Freedom v. Indulgence What does Paul mean by saying not to “indulge the sinful nature”? As a free person, have you ever indulged the sinful nature in your life? Any examples? If you have, and I trust that we all have indulged the sinful nature, does that mean we aren’t free? Not at all! It just means we keep returning to prison. The short story by Don Everts might help a bit:

Released. After 26 years of unconscious living in a cement square of shame and sin and boredom: a haircut, a used suit, a lead on a small job. (And the world in front of him.) Released. Released, but he comes back on weekends. He lingers outside the cold fence with its sharp razor wire. He gazes in at his old cement square of shame and sin and boredom. Released. (And the world in front of him.) But he comes back on weekends. The guards shrug and slowly shake their heads.1

Now what are we to do instead of indulging the sinful nature? What does Paul say will happen if they don’t do this?


The Smell of Sin, by Don Everts, Intervarsity Press, 2003


Chapter 5:16-21 – How to Use our Freedom So if we live by ______ then we will not gratify the desires of the _______? That easy, huh? What do you think? Be careful here. Does Paul say that we alone have the power to not live by the desires of the sin nature? Who has the power? V. 17 says that the sinful nature is in conflict with the Spirit. Ok, that makes sense, but what about the end of the verse, “so you do not do what you want”?

You see, we either follow the flesh, or the Spirit, and in either case neither allows us to do what we want. What we want may be evil or good. Either way, we follow a greater power. Following the Spirit doesn’t give us a “license” to then do what we want, even if those things “appear” to be good. BUT, it says that when we are led by the Spirit, we are not under the law. It is easy to think that when you are under the Spirit, you must abide by the 10 commandments against your desire, because this is what you are supposed to do. But that is wrong! Paul is now going to show what is a result of following the Spirit.
We read now the acts of the sinful nature. How do these play out for you in your life today? What are they? Paul then says, “those who participate in such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God” Does this scare you? Does this mean that if you do any of those things, that you are not in the Kingdom?

The ASV translation says this, “those of you who PRACTICE these things…” When I practice something, I want to get better at it. I am doing it over and over again. Paul seems to be using extreme language to describe those that might “follow the law” but still continue to participate in lusts of the flesh over and over again, marking them as an unbeliever, with not spirit in them. For example, before Paul was converted, he practiced those described vices. I hope that you will study this for yourselves, but know that Paul does not say “those who struggle with these will not inherit the Kingdom…” Nowhere does it say that you will not inherit the Kingdom because you struggle.


Chapter 5:22-26 – The Results in us by Walking in the Spirit!

Here are listed the things produced in us BY the Spirit. How do these play themselves out today? A few examples? What does Paul mean when he says “against such things there is no law”?

He means that the Spiritual results in us are not the result of legal correction and guidelines, which many are in danger of thinking. They are the result of YEILDING one’s life to the Spirit which is free. Free to do what is described in verses 22,23 and free to not do what is in 19-21.
V. 24: How do you belong to Christ? By believing in what He did for you and

associating with Him and His death and resurrection.
So the sinful nature was crucified, well why do I still struggle?

We still struggle because while the long-term affects have been dealt with (eternal separation from God) we are still very much in a transformation process. This requires a yielding to God and His Spirit so we become more like Him! And, the forces at work have not been removed entirely yet. (sinful nature, flesh, satan, ect)
Consider the last verse. How do we not become conceited? If you answered

that by saying that we avoid being conceited by following a list of guidelines or remembering to do or not to do something, than you have missed the lesson entirely. We avoid the things of the sinful nature by keeping in step with the Spirit. The call to Spiritual things is a call to be super human. Literally. Only the Spirit has the power in us to have victory. This does take time, though, and does not happen over night. I very much doubt Paul didn’t ever struggle with anything the morning after his encounter with God on the road to Damascus.


Take Aways
Don’t return to your prison of sin as you attempt to find freedom. True freedom is found in being bound to the Spirit! The ONLY way we avoid sin is by the power of the Spirit. Those who practice (consistently continue) in sin must evaluate their lives and if they have really placed belief in what Christ has done them which will lead to putting themselves under the Spirit’s direction.

Questions for Reflection
Have you returned to your prison by continuing to indulge in struggles? (this does not mean you are not saved) Have you returned to your prison by trying to follow a bunch of seemingly good rules and guidelines to achieve spirituality? Is there any area of your life where you are practicing the desires of the sin nature? Are you marked by a yielded life to the Spirit?

Wrap Up
Thank them for coming. Remind them of next week and what time. Let them know that they can invite someone else to join if they want. Pray or take prayer requests.


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