|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:7-12 The life of a Christian is a race, wherein he must run, and hold on, if he would obtain the prize. It is not enough that we profess Christianity, but we must run well, by living up to that profession. Many who set out fairly in religion, are hindered in their progress, or turn out of the way. It concerns those who begin to turn out of the way, or to tire in it, seriously to inquire what hinders them. The opinion or persuasion, ver. 8, was, no doubt, that of mixing the works of the law with faith in Christ in justification. The apostle leaves them to judge whence it must arise, but sufficiently shows that it could be owing to none but Satan. It is dangerous for Christian churches to encourage those who follow, but especially who spread, destructive errors. And in reproving sin and error, we should always distinguish between the leaders and the led. The Jews were offended, because Christ was preached as the only salvation for sinners. If Paul and others would have admitted that the observance of the law of Moses was to be joined with faith in Christ, as necessary to salvation, then believers might have avoided many of the sufferings they underwent. The first beginnings of such leaven should be opposed. And assuredly those who persist in disturbing the church of Christ must bear their judgment.
Verse 8. - This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you (ἡ πεισμονὴ οὐκ ἐκ τοῦ καλοῦντος ὑμᾶς); this persuasion, or the mind to hearken to this doctrine, is not from him that calleth you. The exact force of the word πεισμονή, which so far as has been noted does not occur in any earlier writer, is disputed. We may group it with ἐπιλησμονή, forgetfulness; φεισμονή (sparinguess), clemency; πλησμονή, fulness, satiety; which are likewise verbal nouns formed from the perfect passive (ἐπιλέλησμαι, etc.). And the comparison favours the conclusion that πεισμονή denotes the disposition, state, or habit of mind evinced in being persuaded in the way now thought cf. So the Greek commentators (Ecumenius and Theophylact understand it of their having been persuaded to Judaize. The explanation of the noun as an active verbal, as if it were the persuasion which was soliciting them from without, does not seem to be so well berne out by its etymological formation, but appears nevertheless to be that accepted by Chrysostom. This noun, seemingly not often used, appears to have been selected by the apostle to brand the belief in the truth of Judaizing views which the Galatians were imbibing as being in nature diverse from the positive faith, which realizes the truth of the gospel; it is the product of over-persuasion, of cozenage even, rather than an acceptance of the plain setting forth of the simple truth, while "faith" is "the gift of God" (Ephesians 1:19, 20; Ephesians 2:5, 8). As Chrysostom observes, ." It was not men's persuasion (πεισμονὴ ἀνθρωπίνη), but the power of God, which persuaded the souls of these who believe." By "him that calleth you" is plainly meant God (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:24). "The present participle is preferred here to the aorist, because the stress is laid on the person rather than the act" (Bishop Lightfoot). That persuasibleness of the Galatians was not from God; at the best it was from the world (comp. Colossians 2:20); but was it not, rather, from Satan, whose emissaries those false teachers were (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:15)? The apostle makes this assertion categorically, knowing it to be true. The gospel which he had brought to them had been sealed by the gifts of the Spirit accompanying its reception; while the doctrine they were now in danger of listening to was another thing altogether (Galatians 1:6) - a thing with an anathema upon it.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. That is, the opinion they were persuaded to believe; and which the Syriac version renders, "your persuasion"; this is not of God, who had called them into the grace of Christ; nor of Christ, who had called them to the knowledge of himself, and communion with him; nor of the Spirit of Christ, who had called them with an holy calling, and who still continued to call them to repentance; nor of any faithful minister of the Gospel, who had been concerned as an instrument in their effectual calling; meaning the notion they were persuaded to give into, that circumcision and the works of the law were necessary to salvation, and that these were to be joined with the righteousness of Christ for justification; such a conceit as this could never be of God, nor any evangelical minister, but must be of Satan or his emissaries, the false apostles.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. This persuasion—Greek, "The persuasion," namely, to which you are yielding. There is a play on words in the original, the Greek for persuasion being akin to "obey" (Ga 5:7). This persuasion which ye have obeyed.
cometh not of—that is "from." Does not emanate from Him, but from an enemy.
that calleth you—(Ga 5:13; Ga 1:6; Php 3:14; 1Th 5:24). The calling is the rule of the whole race [Bengel].
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