Freedom in Jesus Christ
(1) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Therefore, stand strong and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that binds the necks of two animals and which is attached to a plow or cart).
(2) Listen carefully to what I am saying: I, Paul, tell you that if you get circumcised, Christ will be of no value (will be meaningless) to you. (3) Again I tell those who get circumcised that they will be obligated to obey the whole law of Moses.
(4) All of you in the Roman province of Galatia who are trying to be made right with God (declared righteous, justified) by the works of the law have been separated from Christ—you have fallen away from God’s grace. (5) For it is through the Holy Spirit that we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. (6) For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision or uncircumcision has any value (means nothing). The only thing that truly matters is faith expressing itself through love!
Jewish False Teachers in Galatia
(7) You were running a great race of faith. Who is hindering you from obeying the truth? (8) Their deceptive arguments do not come from the one who calls you, because as you know, (9) “A little yeast leavens through the whole batch of dough.” (10) I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other viewpoint. Those who are throwing you into confusion, whoever they are, will pay a huge penalty. (11) My brothers and sisters, if I’m still preaching circumcision, as some of you are saying I do, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. (12) As for these Jewish troublemakers, I wish they would go the whole way and castrate themselves (referring to the act of circumcision)!
The Freedom to Love One Another
(13) My brothers and sisters, you were called by God to be free. But do not use your freedom to follow your sinful nature (flesh); rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. (14) For the entire law of Moses is summed up (fulfilled) in the single command of Leviticus 19:18, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (15) If you continue to bite and devour each other, watch out or you will destroy one another.
The Holy Spirit and the Sinful Nature
(16) So I say, live by (be led by) the Holy Spirit, and you will not gratify the passions of our sinful nature (flesh). (17) For our sinful nature (flesh) desires what is contrary to the desires of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the sinful nature (flesh) are at war with each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (18) But if you are led (guided) by the Holy Spirit, you are not under the law.
The Acts of the Sinful Nature
(19) The acts of our sinful nature (flesh) are obvious: sexual perversion, impurity (moral corruption), sensuality (sexual seduction), (20) idolatry, turning to the occult (magic), hatred, discord (conflict, divisions), jealousy (envy), fits of anger, selfish ambition, disagreements (arguments, quarreling), (21) envy, drunkenness, orgies, and all kinds of things like this. I warn you, as I did before, that people who live this way will not inherit (enter) the kingdom of God.
The Fruit of the Holy Spirit
(22) But the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness (kindness), and self-control. There is no law against these personal characteristics of the Holy Spirit. (24) Those who belong to Jesus Christ have put to death (crucified) the sinful nature (flesh) with its passions and desires. (25) Since we live by the Holy Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit at all times. (26) Let us not become proud, provoking and envying each other.