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Reformation Study Bible – Gal 5:17
Gal 5:17

5:17 the flesh. See “Sanctification: The Spirit and the Flesh” at 1 Cor. 6:11. Paul says in 6:13 that the agitators in Galatia want to circumcise the Galatians in order to glory in their “flesh.” The word “flesh” is used at least three ways by Paul. The broadest use is a simple reference to humanness. Another use is for the physical body. The narrowest use, especially when placed in contrast to “spirit,” is to refer to the sinful human nature, which includes the mind and soul. If the Galatians abandon Christ and place their confidence in the law, they will be turning back to reliance on the flesh, and thus to existence under the law’s curse. There is hope as well as warning in Paul’s words. Although the desires of the flesh oppose the Spirit, the desires given by the Holy Spirit deliver us from the flesh and the law.