Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
The hope of the true child of God is heaven. Notice that the true child of God is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit encourages the true child of God to look for the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ. We look for that by faith. We know it is true and we trust in God to take His children home in His time.
Paul is reminding the saints that everything about the Christian life is by faith. Salvation is by faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The walk of the Christian is by faith as we humbly submit to God’s will for us.
In verse 6 Paul reminded the saints that circumcision has no merit with regard to salvation. Circumcision was a part of the covenant that God made with Abraham. That covenant was made after Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Circumcision did not make Abraham righteous. It was a command of God to him and because Abraham believed God he obeyed him. Circumcision was a command to the Jews. Most of the Jews who were circumcised were never believers in God. They did it as a ritual, but not out of obedience to God. Uncircumcision does not condemn a person to hell. Faith in God is necessary for salvation. This faith is Biblical faith which is given by God’s love for man.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
It is the love of God that sent Jesus Christ to the cross for man’s sin. God loved man and provided salvation for man through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Galatian saints knew this. Paul had taught them the truth. They needed to reject the lies they were bending toward.
In verse 7 Paul asked them what had changed. They had been running the race well.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
The Christian life is compared to a race. A race requires endurance. The prize is not received until the runner crosses the finish line. The person is in the race and is written down as a contender, but he needs to run with patience and with endurance to arrive at the end of the race.
The Christian life is a race. The saved are all in the race. The end is heaven. Along the way there could be bumps and delays. The devil will certainly try to trip up the runner. The difference is that in the Christian race, God guides and helps the true child of God. He enables the true child of God to follow Him. His grace is what enables the true child of God. The saved person continues to run in the direction of heaven.
Paul used the illustration of running and then asked what hindered the saints from obeying the truth. We see that the Christian life is lived in obedience to God’s Word and will. Why were they willing to listen to someone who was trying to lead them off the narrow way? There was no benefit to running against God’s will.
God showed that in the life of Jonah. He tried to run away from God and it did not work for him. He was not in danger of losing his salvation, but he was not wanting to obey God as His child. The saved Galatians could not lose their salvation either. They certainly could miss out on blessings by listening to the lies of the Judaizers. Jonah was chastened for his disobedience. The saints in Galatia would also face discipline if they chose to align with false teaching.
In verse 8 we are reminded that the persuasion they were following did not come from God. Jesus Christ does not tell anyone to work to be saved. They needed to understand that the Judaizers were not telling the truth. Their message was not from God. It was from the devil. It was designed to confuse people.
This was no minor issue. Paul reminded the saints that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. The Jews knew this. They needed to remove all leaven from their homes prior to the Passover. They were not to have any leaven in their homes during the feast of unleavened bread. They understood the impact that leaven had on bread. These Galatians needed to understand the impact that a little leaven (sin) would have on their lives as saints. No sin is acceptable in God’s presence. Jesus Christ died for our sins. He died to deliver us from the bondage of sin.
I Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
Jesus Christ saves the repentant sinner and gives him a new nature. It is up to the child of God to then follow God. The saved person cannot go back to the old life of sin. He cannot choose a new life of sin. He has been given a new nature which is designed by God to glorify Him. When the saint is tempted to sin, he has the power to say no. He must say no. When he does not say no, he will be chastened by God. If he is not chastened by God and continues on in sin, it proves he is not saved. That is what God says.
The Galatian saints had been blessed with God’s salvation. They were willing to listen to lies that would rob them of God’s blessings. They needed to wake up and reject the lies. Christians need to live by faith in the God Who saved them. Christians need to be taught and reminded of who they are in Christ. A Christian that is properly taught will have no excuse to follow lies. The Galatian saints were being properly taught. They needed to believe the truth and reject the lies.