Galatians 5:5
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
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(5) Through the Spirit.—Through the operation of the Spirit. It is the Spirit which makes faith effectual and righteousness real. The righteousness which comes by the Law is entirely human or “carnal,” the product of a man’s own efforts. The righteousness which is by faith is the gift of God, and that gift is communicated through the Spirit.

Wait for.—The Greek word means “to wait earnestly or eagerly,” as in Romans 8:19; Romans 8:23; Romans 8:25, et seq.

The hope of righteousness.—The righteousness which is the object of our hopes; the hoped-for, promised righteousness. More often the Apostle speaks of the state of righteousness as conferred upon the Christian at his baptism. This is, however, only a sort of ideal or potential righteousness; it is a state inherent in that kingdom of which the Christian then becomes a member, not a state inherent in the Christian himself. This ideal or potential righteousness becomes real and actual only at the end of the Christian’s career, when it is finally confirmed to him. Looking forward to this point, it is an object of hope.

Galatians 5:5-6. For we — Who believe in Christ, and are his true disciples, having been savingly enlightened in the knowledge of the truth; do, through the influences of the Spirit — Without any of these carnal ordinances; wait for — In sure confidence of obtaining; the hope of righteousness — That is, the righteousness we hope for, and the full reward of it; by faith — The only way in which these blessings can be attained; for it is through faith that we receive this righteousness of God, Php 3:9; and by faith we shall obtain the reward. For in Christ Jesus — According to the institution which he hath established, according to the tenor of the Christian covenant, or with respect to our having an interest in and union with him; neither circumcision — With the most punctual observance of the law; nor uncircumcision — With the most exact heathen morality; availeth any thing — To our present justification or eternal salvation; but faith alone, even that faith which worketh by love — That persuasion of, and confidence in, the love of God to us, manifested in his giving Christ to die for us, and in pardoning and accepting us through Christ, which produces in us love to God in return; and obedience, the fruit of this love, and which worketh in us all inward holiness, and worketh by us all outward holiness. “The account which the apostle here gives us of faith,” says Macknight, “deserves attention. He does not say that it consists in the mere speculative belief of the truths of the gospel, nor in a confident persuasion, taken up any how, that we are actually justified, or that Christ hath died for us in particular. These things are nowhere in Scripture represented as constituting justifying faith; and they who trust to them delude themselves. The faith which is counted for righteousness, according to St. Paul, is such a belief [in Christ and] the truth, as worketh in the mind of the believer by love, and maketh him a new creature, Galatians 6:15. The apostle called the attention of the Galatians to this operation of faith, because they were deficient in love to each other, Galatians 5:15.”

5:1-6 Christ will not be the Saviour of any who will not own and rely upon him as their only Saviour. Let us take heed to the warnings and persuasions of the apostle to stedfastness in the doctrine and liberty of the gospel. All true Christians, being taught by the Holy Spirit, wait for eternal life, the reward of righteousness, and the object of their hope, as the gift of God by faith in Christ; and not for the sake of their own works. The Jewish convert might observe the ceremonies or assert his liberty, the Gentile might disregard them or might attend to them, provided he did not depend upon them. No outward privileges or profession will avail to acceptance with God, without sincere faith in our Lord Jesus. True faith is a working grace; it works by love to God, and to our brethren. May we be of the number of those who, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. The danger of old was not in things of no consequence in themselves, as many forms and observances now are. But without faith working by love, all else is worthless, and compared with it other things are of small value.For we - We who are Christians. It is a characteristic of the true Christian.

Through the Spirit - The Holy Spirit. We expect salvation only by his aid.

Wait for - That is, we expect salvation in this way. The main idea is, not that of waiting as if the thing were delayed; it is that of expecting. The sense is, that true Christians have no other hope of salvation than by faith in the Lord Jesus. It is not by their own works, nor is it by any conformity to the Law. The object of Paul is, to show them the true nature of the Christian hope of eternal life, and to recall them from dependence on their conformity to the Law.

The hope of righteousness - The hope of justification. They had no other hope of justification than by faith in the Redeemer; see the note at Romans 1:17.

5. For—proof of the assertion, "fallen from grace," by contrasting with the case of legalists, the "hope" of Christians.

through the Spirit—Greek, rather, "by the Spirit": in opposition to by the flesh (Ga 4:29), or fleshly ways of justification, as circumcision and legal ordinances. "We" is emphatical, and contrasted with "whosoever of you would be justified by the law" (Ga 5:4).

the hope of righteousness—"We wait for the (realization of the) hope (which is the fruit) of the righteousness (that is, justification which comes) by (literally, 'from—out of') faith," Ro 5:1, 4, 5; 8:24, 25, "Hope … we with patience wait for it." This is a farther step than being "justified"; not only are we this, but "wait for the hope" which is connected with it, and is its full consummation. "Righteousness," in the sense of justification, is by the believer once for all already attained: but the consummation of it in future perfection above is the object of hope to be waited for: "the crown of righteousness laid up" (2Ti 4:8): "the hope laid up for you in heaven" (Col 1:5; 1Pe 1:3).

For we; we Christians, who have truly embraced Christ; or, (as others think), we that are turned from Judaism to Christianity, and so are more concerned in the law, which was not given to the Gentiles, but to us Jews: yet,

through the Spirit, by the guidance and direction or the Spirit, or through the operation of the Spirit in us, we wait for the hope of righteousness; that is, we hope for righteousness; that righteousness whereby we shall be made righteous before God; or, (as some will have it), the crown of righteousness: I had rather understand it of righteousness itself, that having been all along the argument of the apostle’s discourse here.

By faith; not by our observance of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.

For we through the Spirit wait,.... Who have believed in Christ, Christians in general, and the apostle and the brethren with him in particular; who also were Jews born, and brought up as such; and yet they did not look for, and expect heaven and happiness through circumcision, or any of the works of the law, but through the righteousness of Christ received by faith, under the influence and testimony of the Spirit of God, and therefore much less should Gentiles:

for the hope of righteousness by faith; by which is meant, not the believer's justifying righteousness, as if it was something future he is waiting for; for this is already wrought out, and brought in by Christ, the end of the law for righteousness; is revealed in the Gospel from faith to faith; is discovered and applied to the saints by the Spirit of God; is put upon them, and imputed to them by the Father; and is what they now have, not in hope, but in hand; their faith having received it, as their justifying righteousness; in which they will ever be found, living and dying: but eternal glory and felicity is here intended, called "hope"; because it is the object of hope, or is what is hoped for; it is unseen, as what is hoped for is: it is future, and what is to be enjoyed hereafter, and therefore hoped for; it is certain, possible to be enjoyed, though with difficulty; which gives room for hope, and exercises and tries that grace; the foundation and encouragement of hope in it are the person, blood, sacrifice, and righteousness of Christ, who is our hope: and hence it is styled "the hope of righteousness", because none but righteous persons shall enjoy it: and that by virtue, and in consequence of their being justified by the righteousness of Christ, which gives them their title to it; and hence they look for it, and shall enjoy it, on the foot of justice, as well as of grace and goodness: "waiting" for it supposes it to be certain, real, solid, substantial, valuable, and worth waiting for; which, when possessed, will be with the utmost pleasure, and be abundantly satisfying; and that the persons that wait for it have knowledge, and at least hope of interest in it; and do highly value and esteem it, having their hearts set on it, and looking with contempt on the things of time and sense, in comparison of it: the manner in which they wait is, "through the Spirit", and "by faith"; the Syriac version reads, "through the Spirit, which is of faith"; that is, by the Spirit received through faith; see Galatians 3:14 but it is best to consider them apart; believers look and wait for heaven, under the influence and encouragement of the Spirit of God; who is the author of the faith by which they look for it, and of the hope which is concerned with it; and who is the revealer and applier of the righteousness of Christ, the foundation of it; and which gives some glimpses of the heavenly glory to the saints, shows them their interest in it, witnesses to their sonship, and so to their heirship; and is the pledge and earnest of their inheritance; all which gives great strength and encouragement to faith, by which they also expect it; believing not only the reality of it, but their own interest in it; and so walk by faith in the believing views thereof, until they receive the end of it.

{2} For we through the {d} Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

(2) He privately compares the new people with the old: for it is certain that they also did ground all their hope of justification and life in faith, and not in circumcision, but in such a way that their faith was wrapped in the external and ceremonial worship. But our faith is without such ceremony, and content with spiritual worship.

(d) Through the Spirit who brings about faith.

Galatians 5:5. Ground e contrario for the judgment passed in Galatians 5:4 on those becoming righteous by the law; derived, not generally from what makes up the essence of the Christian state (Hofmann), but specially from the specific way in which Paul and those like him expect to be justified. The reasoning presupposes the certainty, of which the apostle was conscious, that the ἡμεῖς are those who are not separated from Christ and have not fallen from grace.

ἡμεῖς] we, on our part: “qui a nobis dissentiunt, habeant sibi,” Bengel.

πνεύματι ἐκ πίστεως] is not (with Luther) to be considered as one idea (“Spiritu, qui ex fide est”), since there is no contrast with any other spirit, but rather as two points opposed to the ἐν νόμῳ in Galatians 5:4 : “by means of the Spirit, from faith, we expect,” etc.; so that the Holy Spirit is the divine agent, and faith in Christ is the subjective source of our expectation. On πνεύματι, comp. Romans 7:6; Romans 8:4; Romans 8:15 f., Ephesians 1:13 f., Ephesians 2:22, et al.; and on ἐκ πίστεως, comp. Galatians 2:16, Galatians 4:22, Romans 1:17; Romans 3:22; Romans 9:30; Romans 10:6, et al. We must not therefore explain πνεύματι either as the spirit of man simply (with Grotius, Borger, Fritzsche, and others), or (comp. on Romans 8:4) as the spiritual nature of man sanctified by the Holy Spirit (Winer, Paulus, Rückert, and others; comp. Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Hofmann); but similarly to Galatians 5:16, as the objective πνεῦμα ἅγιον, which is the divine principle of spiritual life in Christians, and which they have received ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως (Galatians 3:2; Galatians 3:5, Galatians 4:6). And the Holy Spirit is the divine mainspring of Christian hope, as being the potential source of all Christian sentiment and Christian life in general, and as the earnest and surety of eternal life in particular (2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14; Romans 8:11; Romans 8:23).

ἐλπίδα δικαιοσύνης ἀπεκδεχ.] ἀπεκδέχεσθαι (Romans 8:19; Romans 8:23; Romans 8:25; 1 Corinthians 1:7; Php 3:20; 1 Peter 3:20) does not indeed denote that he who waits is wholly spent in waiting (Hofmann), but rather (comp. generally Winer, de verb. compos. IV. p. 14) the persistent awaiting, which does not slacken until the time of realization (C. F. A. Fritzsche in Fritzschior. Opusc. p. 156). The genitive δικαιοσύνης is not appositionis (Wieseler), so that the sense would be: “the righteousness hoped for by us,” the genitive with ἐλπίς never being used in this way; but it is the genitive objecti: the hope of being justified, namely, in the judgment, where we shall be declared by Christ as righteous. At variance with the context, since justification itself is in question (see Galatians 5:4), others understand it as the genitive subjecti, as that which righteousness has to hope for,[224] that is, the hoped for reward of righteousness, namely, eternal life. So Pelagius, Beza, Piscator, Hunnius, Calovius, Bengel, Rambach, Baumgarten, Zachariae, Koppe, Borger, Paulus, Windischmann, Reithmayr, and others; comp. also Weiss, bibl. Theol. pp. 333, 341. The fact that the δικαιοσύνη itself—that is, the righteousness of faith, and not that of a holy life (Holsten)—is presented as something future, need not in itself surprise us, because during the temporal life it exists indeed through faith, but may nevertheless be lost (see Galatians 5:2; Galatians 5:4), and is not yet a definitive possession, which it only comes to be at the judgment (Romans 8:33 f.). In a corresponding way, the υἱοθεσία, although it has been already entered upon through faith (Galatians 3:26, Galatians 4:5), is also the object of hope (Romans 8:23). This at the same time explains why Paul here speaks in particular of an ἐλπὶς δικαιοσύνης; he thereby indicates the difference between the certainty of salvation in the consciousness (Romans 8:24) of the true Christians, and the confidence, dependent upon works, felt by the legally righteous, who say: ἐν νόμῳ δικαιούμεθα, because in their case the becoming righteous is something in a continuous course of growth by means of meritorious obedience to the law. Lastly, the expression ἀπεκδέχεσθαι ἐλπίδα is not to be explained by the supposition that Paul, when he wrote ἐλπίδα, had it in his mind to make ἔχομεν follow (Winer, Usteri, Schott),—an interpretation which is all the more arbitrary, because there is no intervening sentence which might divert his thought,—but the hope is treated objectively (comp. on Colossians 1:5; Romans 8:24; Hebrews 6:18), so that ἀπεκδέχεσθαι ἐλπίδα belongs to the category of the familiar expressions ζῆν βίον, πιστεύειν δόξαν (Lobeck, Paralip. p. 501 ff.). Comp. Acts 24:15 : ἐλπίδαἣν καὶ αὐτὸ οὗτοι προσδέχονται, Titus 2:13; Job 2:9; Isaiah 28:10; Galatians 5:5. πνεύματι. In the absence of an article this dative must have an adverbial force, and should be rendered in spirit. The Holy Spirit is uniformly designated to τὸ Πνεῦμα.—ἀπεκδεχόμεθα. This verb expresses eager expectation rather than the attitude of patient waiting attributed to it in our versions. True faith in Christ inspires a confident hope of acceptance (δικαιοσύνης) before God.

5. ‘For we on the contrary, we who are Christ’s, through the Spirit are waiting for the hope of righteousness from faith’. The connecting particle ‘for’ has reference to the falling from grace. The gospel is a gospel of grace (Acts 20:24). The Spirit is the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29). We have a good hope through grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16). Righteousness (justification) is of faith that it might be by grace (Romans 4:16).

the hope of righteousness] This does not mean the righteousness hoped for. We who believe are now perfectly righteous, ‘being made’, as the Apostle says, ‘the righteousness of God in Him’. It may refer to that sanctifying righteousness which is progressive, ‘inherent in us but not perfect’ (as Hooker says), the perfection of which is the aim and end of our earthly discipline. Luther understands the expression to refer either to the hope of a full assurance of justifying faith, or to the hope of complete deliverance from sin. Writing out of the fulness of his own spiritual experience he adds: ‘Either sense may well stand; but the first, touching the inward desire and affection of hoping, bringeth more plentiful consolation, for my righteousness is not yet perfect, it cannot yet be felt: yet I do not despair; for faith sheweth unto me Christ, in whom I trust, and when I have laid hold of Him by faith, I wrestle against the fiery darts of the devil, and I take a good heart through hope against the feeling of sin, assuring myself that I have a perfect righteousness prepared for me in heaven. So both these sayings are true; that I am made righteous already by that righteousness which is begun in me; and also I am raised up in the same hope against sin, and wait for the full consummation of perfect righteousness in heaven. These things are not rightly understood, but when they be put in practice’. But it is better to understand it of that object of hope which belongs to and arises out of our justification. By the faith which appropriates the righteousness of Christ we become sons of God and heirs of His everlasting kingdom. The inheritance is ‘that blessed hope and manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Titus 2:13).

Galatians 5:5. Ἡμεῖς γὰρ, for we) I and all the brethren, and as many of us as are in Christ. Let those, who differ from us, keep their views to themselves.—πνεύματι, in the spirit of grace) Without circumcision, etc.—ἐκ πίστεως) from the faith of Christ; comp. the preceding verse.—ἐλπίδα δικαιοσύνης, hope of righteousness) Righteousness is now present; and that affords us hope, for the time to come. Romans 5:4-5.—ἀπεκδεχόμεθα) We wait for, and obtain by waiting for it. A double compound. Paul includes and confirms present things, while he mentions those that are future.

Verse 5. - For we through the Spirit (ἡμεῖς γὰρ πνεύματι); for we for our parts by the Spirit. "We" who abide in Christ, and continue steadfast in the grace into which Christ has brought us; that is, we believers in Christ, as such. Not, "I and those who go along with me," as e.g. in Philippians 3:17. "By the Spirit." Πνεῦμα can hardly here mean, as in Galatians 3:3, the element of spiritual life; but much more probably the personal Spirit of God, referred to as inspiring and prompting the action of the believer's mind. The presence of this Spirit has been a]ready described as the distinguishing blessing of believers in Christ (Galatians 3:2-5, 14; Galatians 4:6); while presently after (ver. 18, πνεύματι: 22-25) the apostle dwells on the work of the same Divine Agent in regulating the Christian's habits of feeling and action (the dative as in vers. 16, 18; Romans 8:13). It is here referred to as evincing the Divine sanction which attaches to the particular action of faith and hope now to be described (comp. Romans 8:15-17; Ephesians 1:13). Wait for the hope of righteousness by faith (ἐκ πίστεως ἐλπίδα δικαιοσύνης ἐπεκδεχόμεθα); from the ground of faith do wait for the hope of righteousness. The term which has the principal accent in this clause is ἐκ πίστεως, "from the ground of faith." This appears, both from the preceding context, in which the opposed idea of "justification by the Law" holds the foremost place, requiring here the confronting mention of "faith," and also from the next verse, which substantiates the statement before us by affirming the all-importance of "faith." In point of construction, ἐκ πίστεως does not appear to qualify "righteousness," although, from the classical text Habakkuk 2:4 (Septuagint), it is so often connected with δίκαιος and δικαιοῦσθαι: but rather the whole clause, "wait for the hope of righteousness." What the apostle is now concerned to say is that it is by virtue of our faith that we look forward to hereafter receiving the hope of righteousness. This, of course, includes our being by faith justified. The word "hope" here designates the object hoped for, and not the sentiment itself. So Romans 8:24, "hope that is seen;" Colossians 1:5, "the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens;" Titus 2:13, "looking for the blissful hope." The genitive, "of righteousness," may be

(1) the "genitive of apposition," the hope which is, or which consists of, righteousness, similar to the genitives in the phrases, "the earnest of the Spirit," "the sign of circumcision,' ' "the leaven of malice," "the recompense of the inheritance," "the peaceable fruit of righteousness" (2 Corinthians 5:5; Romans 4:11; 1 Corinthians 5:8; Colossians 3:24; Hebrews 12:11); or

(2) "the hope of righteousness" may mean the hope that appertains unto righteousness, which would be the "inheritance" spoken of in Galatians 3:18, 22, as accruing, not "from the Law," but to those who are justified by faith. The apostle is not wont to speak of justification as a blessing to be received at the day of final decision, to which he evidently here refers, but as a blessing received at once by those who believe in Christ as the fruit even here of their faith. Thus Romans 5:1, "Being justified (δικαιωθέντες) by faith, we have peace with God;" ibid., ver. 11, "We have now received the reconciliation." Thus also in this Epistle (Galatians 3:24-27) it is declared that, in consequence of being justified by faith, we are clothed with Christ and God's adopted sons (see also Galatians 4:6, 7). There can surely be no question of the already received justification of those in whom the Spirit testifies that they are sons. Nor does Philippians 3:9 ("That I may be found in him, having... the righteousness which is through faith in Christ" ) speak a different language: he aspires (he there says) to be in that final judgment found in possession of a righteousness which he had received in this life through the faith which he had in this life exercised. As Bengel here observes, "Paul, in mentioning things beyond, includes and confirms things present." Of Judaical legalism it was true that it did not think itself already possessed of righteousness, but with an ever-unappeased conscience was always still striving after it; whereas it is the privilege and glory of faith that it can enjoy the assurance of being even now justified and at peace with, "at one" with, God. Most certainly, what the apostle here calls "hope" is not the sentiment which we so often thus name when we intend thereby an imperfectly assured expectation of some probably coming good. In the apostle's vocabulary it denotes a confident anticipation unclouded by doubt (comp. Romans 8:23-25; Hebrews 11:1). In fine, this is what the apostle means: We Christians, as led by the Spirit of adoption, do rest in the confident anticipation of receiving the inheritance which is the future award of the righteous, on the ground of our faith in the Lord Jesus. The verb ἀπεκδέχομαι, in all the six other passages in which it is found, is used with reference to objects or events pertaining to the close of the present dispensation: Romans 8:19, 23, 25; 1 Corinthians 1:7; Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 9:28. The proposition ἀπὸ in this compound verb is probably intensive, expressing thorough-goingness; an entirely assured, steadfast expectation, persistent to the end. Galatians 5:5For we (ἡμεῖς γὰρ)

Γὰρ for introduces a proof of the preceding statement, by declaring the contrary attitude of those who continue under the economy of grace. Ye who seek to be justified by the law are fallen from grace; for we, not relying on the law, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.

Through the Spirit (πνεύματι)

The Holy Spirit who inspires our faith. Not as Lightfoot, spiritually. The words πνεύματι ἐκ πίστεως are not to be taken as one conception, the Spirit which is of faith, but present two distinct and coordinate facts which characterize the waiting for the hope of righteousness; namely, the agency of the Holy Spirit, in contrast with the flesh (comp. Romans 7:6; Romans 8:4, Romans 8:15, Romans 8:16; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 2:22), and faith in contrast with the works of the law (comp. Galatians 3:3, and see Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:3; Romans 1:17; Romans 3:22; Romans 9:30; Romans 10:6).

By faith (ἐκ πίστεως)

Const. with wait, not with righteousness.

Wait for (ἀπεκδεχόμεθα)

Quite often in Paul, and only twice elsewhere, Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 3:20. See on Philippians 3:20.

The hope of righteousness (ἐπίδα δικαιοσύνης)

Hope for the object of hope, as Romans 8:24; Colossians 1:5; Hebrews 6:18; Titus 2:13. The phrase means that good which righteousness causes us to hope for. Comp. hope of the calling (Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 4:4): hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23).

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