Spurgeon Exposition of Gal 5:13-26

The following is an exposition by Charles Spurgeon, delivered on July 23, 1889.  In it, Sprugeon gives a very brief exposition on Gal 5:13-26, touching on walking in, and the fruit of, the Holy Spirit, and conversely, the Flesh.  The source may be found: HERE.



Remember, beloved Brothers and Sisters, that the Epistle to the Galatians is one in which Paul, with especial clearness, proves the Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone. So much is this the case that the famous Commentary of Martin Luther upon this Epistle is, perhaps, the strongest work extant upon the Doctrine of salvation by Grace through faith.  But that doctrine was never intended to be separated from the Scriptural teaching concerning the fruit of faith, namely, good works and, therefore, we find, in the close of this very Epistle, the strongest possible declaration that if men live in sin, they will reap the result of sin—and that only if, by Grace, they are brought to walk in holiness, will they win the rewards of Grace.

Galatians 5:13. For, brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh.

“Do not make license out of your liberty. Remember that liberty from sin is not liberty to sin.”

13, 14. But by love serve one another. For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The condensation of the whole Law of God is contained in that one word, “love.” In the First Table we are taught to love God. And the Commandments of the Second Table teach us to love our neighbor.

15. But if you bite and devour one another…

Finding fault, slandering, injuring, bearing malice and so on—
…take heed that you are not consumed, one of another.

“You will eat one another up. You will, each one, condemn his neighbor.”

Paul represents the great Judge coming and waiting outside the door. And when He hears two men condemning one another, He says to Himself, “I will confirm their verdict. They have mutually condemned each other, I will say ‘Amen’ to it.” What a sad thing it is if professed Christians are found thus condemning one another!

16. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

Walk under the Spirit’s power, following His guidance. The Spirit never leads a man into sin. He never conducts him into self-indulgence and excess.

17. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary, the one to the other, so that you cannot do the things that you would.

How often that is the case! You would be perfect, but, “you cannot do the things that you would.” We would, if possible, escape from every evil thought—we would not even hear of anything sinful if we could help it.

18, 19. But if you are led of the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness.

Any kind of sensual indulgence—whatever it may be—a lustful glance, the cherishing of an unclean desire—the utterance of a foul expression—all this is condemned, as well as the overt acts of adultery and fornication.

20, 21. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness.

Is drunkenness actually put by the Apostle after murder, as though it were something worse than that terrible crime? Or is it not, oftentimes, the case that drunkenness lies at the bottom of the murder?

21. …reveling and such like: of the which I told you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Paul never said, nor ever thought of saying, that a man might live in sin that Grace might abound. No, no—these evil things must be given up! Christ has come to save us from every evil work. And this is the salvation that we preach—not simply salvation from Hell, but salvation from sin—which is the very fire that has kindled the infernal flame. But how different from all this evil is the fruit of the Spirit!

22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love…

Universal love, first, to God. Next, to His people and, then, to all mankind. Have we that fruit of the Spirit? If so, it will make us of a very amiable disposition. It will dethrone selfishness and set up holy affections within our heart.

22, 23. …joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: …

Joy and peace seem to blossom and ripen out of love. Long-suffering, too, is part of the fruit of the Spirit. You will be hourly tried, but the Spirit of God will give you patience to suffer long and to endure much. You will also have gentleness. Some people are very hard, stern, severe, quick-tempered, passionate—but the true follower of Christ will be gentle and tender, even as He was.

23. …against such there is no law.

Neither God nor man has ever made a law against these things—the more there is of them, the better will it be for everybody. Oh, that they prevailed all over the world!

24. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

A crucified Christ is the leader of a crucified people! Oh, to have all the affections and lusts of the flesh nailed up! They may not be actually dead, for those who are crucified may still live on for some hours, but they are doomed to die. Their life is a very painful one and it is hastening to a close. A man who is crucified cannot get down from the cross to do what he wills and, oh, it is a great blessing to have our sinful self thus nailed up!

Ah, Sir, you may struggle, but you cannot get down! You may strive and cry, but your hands and feet are nailed—you cannot go into active, actual sin. The Lord grant that the nails may hold very fast, that none of the struggling of our old nature may be able to pull out those nails that have fastened it up to the cross!

25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

If that is our real life, let it also be our course of action.

26. Let us not be desirous of vain-glory,

Do not let us want to be accounted as somebody, for, if we do, we prove that we are  really nobody! Nobody is anybody till he is willing to be nobody—as long as he wants to be somebody, he is nobody and nothing!

26. …provoking one another, envying one another.

God save us from that and every other form of evil!


2 thoughts on “Spurgeon Exposition of Gal 5:13-26

  1. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

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