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Read Introduction to Galatians

 

“…gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

 

In verses 22 and 23, Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit and then makes the terse and cryptic statement, “Against such there is no law.” No law can produce the fruit of the Spirit; only the Holy Spirit can do that. 

Against such

The word “such” indicates that this list of the fruits of the Spirit represents the fruits of verses 22-23 and other fruits of the Spirit not listed in Galatians. This is not an exhaustive list. The Holy Spirit will do more for us than simply what this list indicates.

there is no law

God puts no ban on the fruit of the Spirit. No law forbids the fruit of the Spirit because it fully discharges the demands of God’s character (the law). Obedience by pulling on our bootstraps cannot fulfill the demands of the law. The law cannot prevail over the fruit of the Spirit because the fruit of the Spirit transcends the law. Paul says, in effect, “So you want to merit God’s favor by obedience to the law? No law prohibits the fruits of the Spirit, and no law is necessary to produce them. There is no obedience to produce the fruits of the Spirit.” The fruit of the Spirit does not require an act of Congress to gain God’s approval.

We do not produce the fruit of the Spirit by the law; it is not by human effort but by the power of the Spirit just as the branch derives its nourishment from the vine, so the believer derives strength from the Spirit. 

The fruit of the Spirit is the natural outflow of walking in the Spirit. No law makes a person love, forgive, or give peace. A person walking in the Spirit does not need a law for anything except something that establishes God’s standards. Living a Spirit-controlled life goes beyond anything the law can provide. The law attempts to keep sin in check but does not have the power to do so. The Holy Spirit can do what the law cannot.

Principle:

The power of the Holy Spirit can do what obedience to the law by operation bootstraps cannot do.

Application:

The purpose of the law is to bring sin under control, but in doing so, it provokes greater rebellion against God’s standards. On the other hand, walking in the Spirit (Ga 5:16) wars against the flesh (Ga 5:17). This life goes against our natural tendencies.

The law cannot reach the scope of a Spirit-filled life because spirituality goes far beyond morality. The government cannot pass legislation to control man’s sinful appetites to help him control his behavior. Even the law of God cannot legislate spirituality. On the other hand, a believer controlled by the Holy Spirit does not need a law to govern their life because they have the Holy Spirit’s dynamics within them.

Motivation comes from within the Spirit-filled believer. Christianity is not primarily a system of morality but a system of spirituality. Christian dynamics do not come from legislation but from life, the life of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes the life of Christ and makes it real in our lives (John 16:14).

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