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. Chapter 5.

1 woman. Christ set us free, to be free men. [Or: What Christ has done is to set us free.] Stand firm, then, and refuse to be tied to the yoke of slavery again.

Christian Freedom

2 Mark my words: I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision Christ will do you no good at all. 3 Once again, you can take it from me that every man who receives circumcision is under obligation to keep the entire law. 4 When you seek to be justified by way of law, your relation with Christ is completely severed: you have fallen out of the domain of God's grace. 5 For to us, our hope of attaining that righteousness which we eagerly await is the work of the Spirit through faith. 6 If we are in union with Christ Jesus circumcision makes no difference at all, nor does the want of it; the only thing that counts is faith active in love. [Or: inspired by love.]

7 You were running well; who was it hindered you from following the truth? 8 Whatever persuasion he used, it did not come from God who is calling you; 9 'a little leaven', remember, 'leavens all the dough'. 10 United with you in the Lord, I am confident that you will not take the wrong view; but the man who is unsettling your minds, whoever he may be, must bear God's judgement. 11 And I, my friends, if I am still advocating circumcision, why is it I am still persecuted? In that case, my preaching of the cross is a stumbling-block no more. 12 As for these agitators, they had better go the whole way and make eunuchs of themselves!

13 YOU, MY FRIENDS, were called to be free men; only do not turn your freedom into licence for your lower nature, but be servants to one another in love. 14 [ Lv.19.18. ] For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' 15 But if you go on fighting one another, tooth and nail, all you can expect is mutual destruction.

The Fruit of the Spirit and the Works of the Flesh

16 I mean this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will not fulfil the desires of your lower nature. 17 That nature sets its desires against the Spirit, while the Spirit fights against it. They are in conflict with one another so that what you will to do you cannot do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19 Anyone can see the kind of behaviour that belongs to the lower nature: fornication, impurity, and indecency; 20 idolatry and sorcery; quarrels, a contentious temper, envy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, party intrigues, 21 and jealousies; drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who behave in such ways will never inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the harvest of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law dealing with such things as these. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the lower nature with its passions and desires. 25 If the Spirit is the source of our life, let the Spirit also direct our course.

26 We must not be conceited, challenging one another to rivalry, jealous of one another.

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