War paint … No Toleration of Legalism


Trouble makers in the church! The entire Book of Galatians is taken up with this issue (Gal. 1:6-7; 5:10-12; 6:17). There is a struggle between Law and Grace and the Law and Spirit (3:1-12). Oil and water do not mix.

 The Judaizers and their legalism are what caused the trouble (Acts 15:1-5).

  1. They are fallen from Grace (5:4)
  2. They frustrate the grace of God (2:21)
  3. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (5:9)

 During the transition period (Book of Acts), God allowed two parallel programs to be carried on at the same time (Gal. 2:7-9). However, the boundaries of ministry during the transitional period were established (cf., 2 Cor. 10:8-18).

 The boundaries were violated by the legalists (wittingly or unwittingly)… probably through fear (2:4).

  1. Peter (2:1-14).
  2. Paul (Acts 21:19-20; cf., 21-27).

 Paul labors to preserve the truth of the Gospel of Grace (2:5; cf., 1:6-9; 3:10-12.

 What is the truth of the Gospel? 

…Salvation by Grace (3:22-26; 2:16-20).

 What are we to do?

  1. Stand fast in liberty of grace (5:1-14)
  2. Walk in Spirit (5:16-26)

      Led by the Spirit

      Live by the Spirit

 The legalists are warned (5:10-12)

  1. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump
  2. They are called mutilators of the flesh (Phil. 3:2)
  3. Cast out the bondwoman (4:30; cf., Titus 1:10-11)

 The legalists wanted marks (circumcision) as evidence of salvation (6:12-17; cf., Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 4:10-18).

 Legalists are trouble makers (Gal. 1:6-7; 5:6-7; 6:17)

This is Paul’s fighting epistle – war paint

Oil and water do not mix

A struggle between Law and Grace; Law and Spirit (3:11-12)

 The legalists are enemies of the Gospel of Grace.

Note “Gospel” (1:6-9)

The truth of the Gospel of Grace is in jeopardy (Peter: 2:14; Jewish company: 3:1; 5:7)

The heart of the problem (Acts 15:1-5)

Paul is greatly concerned that the truth of the Gospel of Grace be preserved (2:5).

Paul, by preaching salvation and sanctification by grace, does not frustrate the Grace of God (2:16-21)

The legalist frustrates the Grace of God and has fallen from it (5:4).

 The legalists do not or refuse to understand the finished work of Christ (3:1, 10-13) even though He was clearly set forth as crucified and we are redeemed from the Law’s curse. The conclusion of Scripture is plain (3:22-26).

 The legalists violate the dispensational boundaries (transitional period).

 Boundaries are established (Gal. 2:7-9)

      Gospel of Circumcision  /  Gospel of Uncircumcision

Paul acknowledged the boundaries (2 Cor. 10:8-18).

Legalists, unethically, violated dispensational boundaries in order to spy out our freedoms (2:4). As such, they are false (not honest) brethren (They “believed,” Acts 15:5.)

Legalism is so powerful that it intimidated (caused to fear). Peter, Barnabas, and other Jews caused Paul to be a hypocrite (2:11-14).

Legalism is so powerful that it intimidated Paul so greatly that he is disciplined (Acts 21:20 and following).  He is arrested, imprisoned, and he almost offered the sacrifice.

 The legalists are dealt with and warned (5:7-12).

They did not obey (5:7)

Their instruction did not come from God (5:8).

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (5:9).

They shall be judged (5:10).

They should be cast out (4:30; cf., Gal. 6:7-8).

They should be cut off (Paul is not prudish). He calls them “the consision,” mutilators of the flesh (Phil. 3:2; Titus 1:10-11). Their punishment ought to be in keeping with their crime (5:12).

Legalism is never satisfied…can never tell when sufficient has been done to be saved, or sanctified, or kept saved.

 Legalism Cured (5:1-26)

Stand fast in the liberty of grace (5:1).

Serve by love, not by the Law (5:13-15).

Spirit living (5:25) not flesh (5:19-21).

            A walk (5:16)

            A leading (5:18)

            A fruit (5:22-23)

 Legalism demands evidence.

– Circumcision as evidence of salvation / sanctification (6:12-17; cf., Mt. 23:1-7). Also compare Galatians 2:20 and 2 Corinthians 4:10-18.