Does Galatians 5:19 mean I'll go to hell if I sin?

by Zach
(USA)

Do you exhibit the fruit of the Spirit?

Do you exhibit the fruit of the Spirit?

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. - Galatians 5:19-21


First, It helps us understand context when we read all of Galatians chapter 5. People who want to teach false doctrine love to ignore context or rip verses out of context so they can teach something the verses do not say in context.

If we isolate a verse from its biblical cultural doctrinal historical linguistic or religious context, we will end up with the wrong interpretation. The context of Galatians 5:19-21 is the entire chapter and the whole book of Galatians. Therefore, read the chapter as many times as necessary and keep reading until you understand it.

Second, Galatians 5:1 tells us we have liberty in Christ because Christ has set free those of us who are saved.

Third, The key to living for Jesus is Galatians 5:16 - "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." If you want victory over the sins listed in Gal 5:19-21, you must walk in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit is a normal thing for a Christian, not an abnormal thing yet many professing Christians live like rebels against God.

Walking in the Spirit means that you read, believe and obey the Bible, especially the New Testament. Living for Jesus and reading, believing and obey the Bible should be a daily thing. Form the habit of living for Jesus and having a daily quiet time with God. God expects that from you at the very least, Romans 12:1-2.

Walking in the Spirit means you walk as a disciple of Jesus. In plainer words, you no longer live a self-centered life. Your life becomes a joyful living sacrifice to Jesus. You cannot be a Christian and ignore what Jesus taught. You cannot be a Christian and disagree with Jesus and the rest of the New Testament.

Fourth, In every saved man or woman, there is an internal struggle with sin, a battle between flesh and Spirit. If you are saved, your soul got saved, your spirit got born again, John 3:3-7 but your body is just as much of a problem as it was before you got saved. Living for Jesus or living as a Christian is not a walk in the park. It is a very real spiritual battle.

Fifth, Galatians 5:17 points out the struggle between flesh and spirit which every Christian faces. We can give in to our flesh which is NOT saved or we can obey the Spirit and refuse to be ruled by our unsaved flesh. Many Christians are too lazy to live for Jesus. Many Christians are so worthless they won't even read their Bible. If that is you, man up and start reading your Bible. Selfish Christians are the ones who refuse to read, believe and obey the Bible.

Sixth, In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul is not saying that if a Christian envies someone or gets drunk or parties, he has lost his salvation and will go to hell. Should you ever get drunk? No, of course not. Drinking yourself drunk is silly self-destructive behavior. Why waste the rest of your life as a drunk? Why not focus on being sane and healthy so you can enjoy the adventure of life?

Vs. 19-21 are in the context of chapter 5 and the rest of Galatians. Paul is discussing the interior battle in someone who is saved, between his or her flesh and his or her saved born again spirit. Paul is pointing out that the sins he lists may be part of normal life for an unsaved person but should not be part of normal life for a saved person.

When he writes to the Galatians, part of Paul's audience is young converts who got saved out of pagan goddess worship cults which plagued the ancient Roman Empire, like the cult of Cybele, which used sex, alcohol and drugs to worship their false gods. He is reminding them that those things are not of the Holy Spirit who now indwells their physical body therefore, obey God, clean up your life and live for Jesus by walking in the Spirit, Gal 5:16. Paul's point is, If you're saved, don't like a hell-bound unsaved man.

Verses 19-21 are a check list to help you know, along with the prodding of your conscience, instructions from the written word of God in the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit, that you are not walking in the Spirit, so you can change course and get right with God.

Likewise, verses 22-23 are the check list to help you know when you are walking in the Spirit and growing in grace as a disciple of Jesus.

Seventh, If your life is full of the sins Paul lists in vs. 19-21 instead of the fruit of the Spirit in vs. 22-23, then you need to examine your heart because you probably are not saved. You may have had a religious experience but saved people do not live in those sins as the normal course of life because the indwelling Holy Spirit delivered saved people from those sins. You already have victory in Jesus if you want it, if you are willing to claim it.

Eighth, Some Christians commit some of those sins because they are rebellious and lazy and refuse to read, study and obey the written word of God. If you are saved and your life looks like Galatians 5:19-21, your life will soon look like Hebrews 12:5-17 because God will chasten you until you get right.

Ninth, Lazy wicked Christians need to repent of their sin, learn the Bible, become disciples of Jesus and obey the Holy Spirit, which, by the way, is a lifelong process. Learning the Bible and learning to walk in the Spirit doesn't happen instantly when you get saved. It takes daily weekly monthly yearly self-discipline to learn the Bible and cultivate the habit of obeying God.

Tenth, Most of the sins we commit are intentional. Most of the time, we know when we are sinning, especially the particular sins Paul lists in Gal 5:19-21. For situations where you do not know you're sinning, the Bible, as you read it and the Holy Spirit will convict you of your sin in a way that is so clear you will know God is convicting you and you will then get right with God, 1 John 1:9.

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This page updated August 29, 2017


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