What is meant by "Against such things there is no law" In Galatians 5:23?


Galatians 5:23

NKJV - 23 Gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Clarify Share Report Asked December 27 2015 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
In the passage from which the verse cited in the question comes, Paul is contrasting the freedom that Christians have as a result of their salvation by faith in Christ, and of God now dwelling within them by the presence of the Holy Spirit, with the futility associated with having to perfectly keep the law of God as given in the Old Testament in order to be saved, since (as Paul noted earlier in this same epistle (Galatians 2:16)) "by the works of the law will no one be justified."

Nevertheless, even though Christians now have the indwelling Spirit of God, and are saved apart from the works of the law, they still also have within themselves their old fleshly natures, which tempt them to take actions and exhibit attitudes that the law prohibited (that is, to misuse their new freedom by turning it into license).

Therefore (as Paul said) they should be led by the Spirit, and draw on the Spirit's guidance and assistance to refrain from the kinds of actions and attitudes that the law prohibited and punished -- not as a means of being saved, but out of love and gratitude to God for the salvation that they have already received through faith in Christ, and as a witness to others of their new relationship with God, and of the active presence of God in their lives.

Paul describes these actions and attitudes that Christians should avoid as including "sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like." (Galatians 5:19-21)

Instead, those who have been saved through faith in Christ should exhibit the positive attributes that Paul characterizes as "the fruit of the Spirit" in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

These are attitudes and habits that God promotes and encourages, rather than forbids, since they assist believers in fulfilling the overall intent of the whole law by loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving their neighbor as themselves (Matthew 22:35-40 and Mark 12:28-34). That is why Paul says that "there is no law" against those attributes.

December 28 2015 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Galatians 5:23 

GWT: "gentleness, and self-control. There are no laws against things like that. "

(GWT) GWT is an abbreviation for God's Word Translation.

Against such things there is no law. When the life of the believer expresses these qualities, there is no need for the law. Those who “live by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16) produce fruit reflecting the character of God that the law could not (Galatians 3:21). However, this list shouldn’t be turned into a new kind of law (a replacement for faith in Christ and life lived by the Spirit).

There is no law - God does not make a law against the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit for these are the very virtues that God desires believers to supernaturally manifest in a Christ-like walk. And just as there is “no law” against the fruit of the Spirit, there is likewise no law which will produce them for they cannot be produced by your self-effort, including attempts to keep the law.

"Against such things there is no law" is an understatement of Paul’s thought here, and his words are for rhetorical effect. This mild assertion to the effect that there is no law against such things, has the effect of an emphatic statement that these things fully meet the demands of the law. 

Further, "no law" covers both human and divine. Good men make no law against these things, nor does God, for He approves of them. What a wonderful cluster of the grapes of Eshcol we have here! “The fruit of the Spirit” — as if all this were but one after all; — many luscious berries forming one great cluster. 

[Numbers 13:23 "And they came unto the brook of Eshcol and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff, and they brought of the pomegranates, and the figs."]

Oh, that all these things may be in us and abound, that we may be neither barren nor unfruitful!

It is possible to understand the statement in another sense, and that is to read the Greek word for such things as these as masculine, in which case Paul would be saying “There is no law against such men.” This is reflected in Knox: “No law can touch lives such as these.” The law was never meant for people who demonstrate these qualities since no law can check or condemn their conduct.

One may also translate “There are no laws which speak against people who live in this way,” or “…who do these things.” (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series)

I hold to no law against these 9 spiritual fruits as this view is more easily understandable. The law and the Spirit are quite different!

September 27 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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