Galatians 5:23
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) Meekness, temperance.—”Meekness” is something more than “mildness,” which has been suggested as an alternative translation. “Mildness” would represent that side of the virtue which is turned towards men; but it has also another side, which is turned towards God—a gentle submissiveness to the divine will. By “temperance” is meant, in a general sense, “self-control”—a firm control over the passions.

Against suchi.e., “against such things;” not, as it was understood by many of the older commentators, “against such men.”

There is no law.—For such things law has no condemnation, and therefore they are removed beyond the sphere of law. This is the first and obvious meaning; it may be noticed, however, that these delicate Christian graces are above law as well as beyond. The ruder legal system of commands, sanctioned by punishment, would have no power to produce them; they can only grow in a more genial and softer soil, under the direct influence of the Spirit.

5:16-26 If it be our care to act under the guidance and power of the blessed Spirit, though we may not be freed from the stirrings and oppositions of the corrupt nature which remains in us, it shall not have dominion over us. Believers are engaged in a conflict, in which they earnestly desire that grace may obtain full and speedy victory. And those who desire thus to give themselves up to be led by the Holy Spirit, are not under the law as a covenant of works, nor exposed to its awful curse. Their hatred of sin, and desires after holiness, show that they have a part in the salvation of the gospel. The works of the flesh are many and manifest. And these sins will shut men out of heaven. Yet what numbers, calling themselves Christians, live in these, and say they hope for heaven! The fruits of the Spirit, or of the renewed nature, which we are to do, are named. And as the apostle had chiefly named works of the flesh, not only hurtful to men themselves, but tending to make them so to one another, so here he chiefly notices the fruits of the Spirit, which tend to make Christians agreeable one to another, as well as to make them happy. The fruits of the Spirit plainly show, that such are led by the Spirit. By describing the works of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit, we are told what to avoid and oppose, and what we are to cherish and cultivate; and this is the sincere care and endeavour of all real Christians. Sin does not now reign in their mortal bodies, so that they obey it, Ro 6:12, for they seek to destroy it. Christ never will own those who yield themselves up to be the servants of sin. And it is not enough that we cease to do evil, but we must learn to do well. Our conversation will always be answerable to the principle which guides and governs us, Ro 8:5. We must set ourselves in earnest to mortify the deeds of the body, and to walk in newness of life. Not being desirous of vain-glory, or unduly wishing for the esteem and applause of men, not provoking or envying one another, but seeking to bring forth more abundantly those good fruits, which are, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.Meekness - See the note at Matthew 5:5.

Temperance - The word used here, (ἐγκράτεια egkrateia), means properly "self-control, continence." It is derived from ἐν en and κράτος kratos, "strength," and has reference to the power or ascendancy which we have over exciting and evil passions of all kinds. It denotes the self-rule which a man has over the evil propensities of his nature. Our word temperance we use now in a much more limited sense, as referring mainly to abstinence from intoxicating drinks. But the word here used is employed in a much more extended signification. It includes the dominion over all evil propensities, and may denote continence, chastity, self-government, moderation in regard to all indulgences as well as abstinence from intoxicating drinks. See the word explained in the notes at Acts 24:25. The sense here is, that the influences of the Holy Spirit on the heart make a man moderate in all indulgences; teach him to restrain his passions, and to govern himself; to control his evil propensities, and to subdue all inordinate affection.

The Christian will not only abstain from intoxicating drinks, but from all exciting passions; he will be temperate in his manner of living, and in the government of his temper. This may be applied to temperance properly so called with us; but it should not be limited to that. A Christian must be a temperate man; and if the effect of his religion is not to produce this, it is false and vain. Abstinence from intoxicating drinks, as well as from all improper excitement, is demanded by the very genius of his religion, and on this subject there is no danger of drawing the cords too close. No one was ever injured by the strictest temperance, by total abstinence from ardent spirits, and from wine as a beverage; no man is certainly safe who does not abstain; no man, it is believed, can be in a proper frame of mind for religious duties who indulges in the habitual use of intoxicating drinks. Nothing does more scandal to religion than such indulgences; and, other things being equal, he is the most under the influence of the Spirit of God who is the most thoroughly a person of temperance.

Against such there is no law - That is, there is no law to condemn such persons. These are not the things which the Law denounces. These, therefore, are the true freemen; free from the condemning sentence of the Law, and free in the service of God. Law condemns sin; and they who evince the spirit here referred to are free from its denunciations.

23. temperance—The Greek root implies self-restraint as to one's desires and lusts.

against such—not persons, but things, as in Ga 5:21.

no law—confirming Ga 5:18, "Not under the law" (1Ti 1:9, 10). The law itself commands love (Ga 5:14); so far is it from being "against such."

Meekness; forbearance of passion, rash anger, and hastiness of spirit:

temperance; a sober use of meats, drinks, apparel, or any thing wherein our senses are delighted. Many of these are moral virtues, and such as some have attained to by moral discipline, the cultivating of their natures by education, and moral philosophy: yet they are also the fruits of the Spirit of God; such as it doth always work in the souls wherein it dwelleth (though in different measures and degrees): only the moral man thus comporteth himself from principles of reason, showing him the beauty and comeliness of such a conversation, and aims no Ligher in it, than a happiness of converse in this life, his own honour and reputation. But the spiritual man, doing the same things, aimeth at a higher end (the glorifying of God, and saving his own soul); and doth these things from a fear of God, out of love to him, and out of faith, as seeing in them the will of God.

Against such (saith the apostle) there is no law; no law to accuse or to condemn them; for these are things which the law commandeth to be done, and are acts of obedience to the law. So as those who do these things are led by the Spirit, and are not under the condemning power or curse of the law. Meekness,.... Humility and lowliness of mind, of which Christ is an eminent example and pattern; and which the Holy Spirit from him transcribes into the heart of a regenerate person; and lies in having mean thoughts of himself, in walking humbly with God, acknowledging every favour, being thankful for every blessing, and depending on his grace, and in behaving with modesty and humility among men. The last of the fruits of the Spirit mentioned is

temperance, or "continence"; and designs both chastity and sobriety, and particularly moderation in eating and drinking. It may be observed, that these fruits of the Spirit are opposed to the works of the flesh. So love is opposed to hatred; joy to emulations and envying; peace to variance, strife, and seditions; longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and meekness, to wrath and murders; faith to idolatry, witchcraft, and heresies; and temperance to adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, drunkenness, and revellings.

Against such there is no law; meaning, against such fruits, graces, and good things; these being perfectly agreeable to the law of God, which is holy, just, and good, and spiritual; and are so far from being forbidden by it, that they are highly esteemed and approved of by it: or against persons that are possessed of such fruits; for these appear to be in the spirit, and to be led by the Spirit; and therefore are not under the law, and have nothing to fear from it, as a terrifying, accusing, cursing, and condemning law. The works of the flesh, and they that are of the flesh, are such that come under the notice and lash of the law; and not the fruits of the Spirit, and they that are after the Spirit, as such are who partake of his fruit.

Meekness, temperance: {17} against such there is no law.

(17) Lest that any man should object that Paul plays the deceiver, as one who urging the Spirit urges nothing but that which the Law commands, he shows that he requires not that literal and outward obedience, but spiritual, which proceeds not from the Law but from the Spirit of Christ, who gives us new birth, and must and ought to be the ruler and guider of our life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Galatians 5:23. Just as τὰ τοιαῦτα in Galatians 5:21 (haec talia: see Engelhardt, ad Plat. Lach. p. 14; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 5. 2), τῶν τοιούτων in this passage is also neuter, applying to the virtues previously mentioned among the fruits of the Spirit (Irenaeus, Jerome, Augustine, Pelagius, Calvin, Beza, yet doubtfully, Castalio, Cornelius a Lapide, and most expositors), and not masculine, as it is understood by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Erasmus, Luther, Grotius, Bengel, and many of the older expositors; also by Koppe, Rosenmüller, Rückert, Hofmann.[244] It is, moreover, quite unsuitable to assume (with Beza, Estius, Rosenmüller, Flatt, and others) a μείωσις (non adversatur, sed commendat, and the like; so also de Wette); for Paul wishes only to illustrate the οὐκ ΕἾΝΑΙ ὙΠῸ ΝΌΜΟΝ, which he has said in Galatians 5:18 respecting those who are led by the Spirit. This he does by first exhibiting, for the sake of the contrast, the works of the flesh, and expressing a judgment upon the doers of them; and then by exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, and saying: “against virtues and states of this kind there is no law.” Saying this, however, is by no means “more than superfluous” (Hofmann), but is intended to make evident how it is that, by virtue of this their moral frame, those who are led by the Spirit are not subject to the Mosaic law.[245] For whosoever is so constituted that a law is not against him, over such a one the law has no power. Comp. 1 Timothy 1:9 f.

[244] So also Bäumlein, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1862, p. 551 f. The objection that the singular ὁ καρπός in ver. 22 forbids the neuter interpretation (Hofmann), is quite groundless both in itself and because καρπός is collective.

[245] The fundamental idea of the whole epistle—the freedom of the Christian from the Mosaic law—is thus fully displayed in its moral nature and truth. Comp. Sieffert, in the Jahrb. f. D. Theol. 1869, p. 264.Galatians 5:23. πραΰτης: Meekness is the outcome of true humility, the bearing towards others which results from a lowly estimate of ourselves.—ἐγκράτεια: Self-control comprehends every form of temperance, and includes the mastery of all appetites, tempers and passions.Galatians 5:23. Τῶν τοιούτων, against such [persons]) This is the same, as if he had added, after temperance, the expression, and things similar to these; although the very want of the copulative conjunction [the asyndeton] has this force, Matthew 15:19, note: τῶν τοιούτων is in the masculine; with which comp. Galatians 5:18; Galatians 5:21, at the end; where πράσσοντες is added, which is now as it were compensated for by τοιούτων [such persons]: 1 Timothy 1:9-10, at the beginning.—οὐκ ἔστι νόμος, there is no law) The law itself commands love. [And therefore the kingdom of God is judged not to be unworthy of such persons.—V. g.]Verse 23. - Meekness (πρᾳότης). (On this, see last note.) The humble submissiveness to the teachings of Divine revelation, to which this term probably points, stands in contrast with that self-reliant, headstrong impetuosity which in the temperament of the Celt is apt to hurry him into the adoption of novel ideas which he has not taken the trouble seriously to weigh. It may, however, stand in antithesis to self-reliant arrogance in general. Temperance (ἀγκράτεια); or, self-control. This stands opposed both to the "fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,' ' and to the "drunkenness and revellings "before mentioned. Against such there is no Law (κατὰ τῶν τοιούτων οὐκ ἔστι νόμος); against such things as these the Law is not; or, there is no Law. As the apostle does not write "against these things," it seems that he viewed the foregoing list of graces as one of samples only and not as exhaustive; which fact is likewise indicated by the absence of the copulative conjunction (cf. Matthew 15:19); so that κατὰ τῶν, ' τοιούτων represents "and things the like to these; against which," etc. If we render, with the Authorized Version, "there is no Law," we must suppose still that the apostle means that the Law which all along he has been speaking of is in particular "not against them." "Against;" as in Galatians 3:21. The Law finds nothing to condemn in these things, and therefore no ground for condemning those who live in the practice of them; the same idea as is more explicitly brought out in Romans 8:1-4. There is a tone of meiosis, of suppressed triumph in this sentence. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's chosen ones?" Meekness (πραΰ̀της)

See on meek, Matthew 5:5.

Temperance (ἐγκράτεια)

Only here by Paul. He alone uses ἐγκρατεύεσθαι to have continency, 1 Corinthians 7:9; 1 Corinthians 9:25. See on is temperate, 1 Corinthians 9:25. The word means self-control, holding in hand the passions and desires. So Xen. Mem. i. 2, 1, of Socrates, who was ἐγκρατεστατος most temperate as to sexual pleasures and pleasures of the appetite.

Such (τοιούτων)

Such things, not persons.

There is no law (οὐκ ἔστιν νόμος)

Against such virtues there is no law to condemn them. The law can bring no charge against them. Comp. 1 Timothy 1:9,1 Timothy 1:10.

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