Paul desires them to stand in their liberty, 1, 2, and not to observe circumcision, 3-12; but rather love, which is the sum of the law, 13-18. He reckons up the works of the flesh, 19-21, and the fruits of the Spirit, 22-24, and exhorts to walk in the Spirit, 25, 26.
1 Stand firm therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and do not be held again with the yoke of bondage.
2 Behold, I, Paul, say to you, that if you are circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man who is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ has become of no effect to you, you who would be justified by the law. You have fallen from grace. 5 For we, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which works by love.
7 You were running well. Who hindered you that you should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord that you will not be otherwise minded. But he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he may be. 11 And I, brothers, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I wish those who trouble you were even cut off.
13 For, brothers, you have been called to liberty. Only do not use liberty for an occasion for the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit is against the flesh. And these are contrary to one another so that you cannot do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, dissensions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like these, of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, and temperance. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Galatians, Chapter 5[➚]
[v.1] - "held" - That is, held captive.
[v.9] - Reference, 1st Corinthians 5:6.
[v.14a] - Quoting Leviticus 19:18 (LXX).
[v.14b] - Reference, Romans 13:10.
[v.23] - "temperance" - That is, self-restraint, or self-control.