HELP PLEASE Galatians 5


My Baptist brother is using Galatians 5 where Paul is saying that works of the Jewish law are not needed and faith in Christ through love is to combat Catholics and our canon law and other strict teachings. He sent me this link and said to watch July 06 at 19:00. Can someone help me refute his claims and get the deaper meaning of the passage?


Given the situation Paul was in, that is exactly what he was saying (to my understanding). The problem with using this as your brother is using it is that it ignores the greater context of the Bible, and ignores all the passages which refute that position. Every verse of the Bible needs to be considered in context, the context of who it’s being written to, the background of those receiving it, the particular issue that the writer is seeking to address, and a host of other criteria that affect the meaning of a statement.

Paul was speaking on a specific subject, to a specific group of people. There’s much we can learn from what he says, but it’s necessary to consider it within its own context, and in the greater context of the Bible as a whole.

The USCCB has commentaries on every chapter of hte Bible on their site. Here’s the one for Galatians 5:


No one thinks following canon law guarantees salvation, so I’m not sure what your brother’s point is. Does he think Jesus opposed law in general? That seems unlikely. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Mat 5:17).

Law and rules and all that always have been and always will be necessary on this earth. They just aren’t sufficient.


what if he tries to say something like “but canon law says you do have to follow it to be saved” I guess I need someone to explain what the purpose of canon law is


Sit down and read the whole book at once. Paul was not speaking of obeying any moral law. He was addressing a specific problem in a specific Church, that of Judaizers, or Christian converts that were insisting that Christians also convert and become Jews. This was the first, great issue of the Church. Canon Law is nothing but the governance of a religion of a billion people. It has zero to do with the situation in Galatia. The moral law is a third critter. That is the truth that is both the basis of the Mosaic Law (but is* not* the Mosaic Law), the teaching of Jesus, the teaching of Paul, Peter and the rest of the apostles and the moral teaching of the Church. It is the common basis of objective morality everywhere.


LOL As the Catholic Church accepts the salvation possibility of those not bound by canon law, that is pretty obviously not true.


could you point me to the passages that refute his position?


Sadly, I’m not to the point yet where I am able to do that.

Point 2 of this:

discusses the concept of being saved by faith alone. There are probably several other articles on the site that could help you. Sorry I can’t be of more help.


you might realize that – all of saint paul’s teachings-- to his church groups – were functioning in the gifts of the Holy Spirit as in 1 cor 12-14- and when he said when you come to gether as a chruch gathering-- let

1 Corinthians 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers and …

**When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, … **When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a …

Let all these things be done for the strengthening of the church. …

The substantive, as used by St. Paul, only occurs again in Romans (Romans 14:19; …

Colossians 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you …

Bible Hub

In all wisdom teach and admonish one another with psalms, hymns, and …

“In all wisdom” God’s grace abounded (Ephesians 1:8), and

St. Paul himself taught … and especially when accompanied with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the …

so – if you (or your brother) don’t have a church group – that shares – spiritual revelation-- and understanding – becasue they are led and filled with the Holy Spirit –

then you can not understand and apply the principles that saint paul is explaining

this appears to be the sermon from that chruch-- explainning the same thing

June 22, 2014
Come to the Living Water
Bob Sheffield, Associate Pastor


I don’t think canon law says that anywhere. If he thinks it does, then I’d ask him where in the law that is said. As has been said non-Catholics aren’t bound by canon law, and, according to Catholicism, can be saved.

There are a few parts of Canon law (such as the Sunday Obligation) that it would be grave sin to violate for a Catholic, but again there is all the difference in the world between saying the canon law must be followed on pain of mortal sin (given full knowledge, full consent of will, and that the violation is grave), and in saying that if it looks like a person is following canon law then that person is saved. Again, there’s the phrase “necessary but not sufficient.”

As an analogy, to start my car it is (ordinarily) required that I put my key in the ignition and turn it. That is necessary. But it’s not sufficient - if there is no gas in the car, it won’t start, no matter how much I turn the key. Similarly with externally following the letter of the law - necessary. But not enough.


St Paul is addressing the Judaizers in Galatians, its like Acts 15 which does resemble somewhat Galatians 2. The Judaizers believed circumcise was necessary to be saved (Acts 15:1). In Galatians 5:4 likewise talking about circumcision and the law says “You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

In Colossians 2/Ephesians 2 St Paul also talks about not having to worry about the laws Sabbaths, festivals, drinks, and so on because those were just SHADOWS of things to come, and we have Christ who is the reality, so we have no need to chase after shadows. And some of those realities are the sacraments–which the preacher in the video says there were SOOO many of (apparently 7 is many). St Paul in Colossians 2:11-12 he compares Baptism to circumcision, yet St Paul never expresses the same issues he has with circumcision as a old testament rite with baptism, despite Colossians 2:14,16,17 talking about how the law of Moses is of no concern to us, not to mention Galatians 3 has St Paul says we are clothed with Christ in baptism. Furthermore, Christians are expected to keep the law of Christ, which St Paul alludes to in Galatians 6:2. Also, when Christ refers to Himself as a “way” it not only talking about Him being the means of our salvation, its about how we are to live or “walk” as the Torah was the way people were to walk, in fact Jews call the law the “walk.” Christians have a walk too(St Paul in Galatians 5 calls it a run actually) , except when we are given like “do not kill” or “do not steal” or “honor your father and mother” we are not to expect a reward because of it, since Christ says there is no reward for doing what you are SUPPOSED to do, so we do not merit salvation by keeping the commandments God gives us, or even Canon law, but they do keep us from falling away.


Ok so I replied to him with some of your ideas about context and now he says this

“Speaking of context, did it ever occur to you that the bible was written for and by people who only knew of organized religion to be structured in a certain way? I.e. the Jews. Perhaps that’s why Peter was told to do what he did. So the populous at the time could understand. But behind all that there is a true meaning underlying all that is written and taught by Jesus, and that is to love thy neighbor as thyself. The things the preacher said that you were trying to denounce were no where near important as the true massage that was given. That message does not rely on any sort of work or being of any particular organization of men, but is universal with the path to salvation through Jesus Christ.”

can someone help me articulate what’s wrong with his statement. The deeper meaning or moral doesn’t discard the rest of what’s said. Please help


If anyone has some further insight to his latest response that would greatly appreciated :slight_smile:


How about this:

The chosen people of the Old Testament was a visible nation with a defined hierarchy. The descendants of Aaron served as priests in the temple and offered sacrifices. The Levites assisted the priests.

Since the Old Testament God and New Testament God are the same God, wouldn’t it make sense that the New Testament people of God mirrored the Old Testament? The priesthood/episcopate of the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old and the deaconate corresponds to the Levites. The sacrifice of the Mass is the fulfillment of the animal sacrifices. Our churches, especially the older ones, are even modeled on the old Temple of Jerusalem.

What it comes down to is: is the Church that Jesus founded an invisible one of believers, with no authority to infallibly set doctrine, or is it a visible and authoritative one? Is there salvation outside of the church that Jesus founded?


Well, it is true that salvation is through Jesus Christ. The rules and laws of the Church are to help us to follow Him but are not the means of salvation.

Hope that helps…


No offense, I doubt the person you are talking to fully understands what the preacher was talking about, or what he himself is saying. Also, it seems some context is missing. It appears he is of the mentality of a common fundamentalist Christian that pretends they are not in a “religion” but are in a “relationship.” It seems they want to stretch Galatians 5 to be against ALL forms of organized religion, when its plainly specifically against Judaism since it was now fulfilled by the doctrines of Christ. Considering this is a Baptist video, its interesting they rail against rituals and rules, despite being in an organization that judges people for drinking alcohol which is a man made rule.


absolutely none taken. Could you elaborate on the missing context you mentioned? If you were to make a response to show what’s wrong with his idea of taking the bible out of context of the people it was written by/for, what would you say?


I was not sure about the context of "Perhaps that’s why Peter was told to do what he did. So the populous at the time could understand. "

If you were to make a response to show what’s wrong with his idea of taking the bible out of context of the people it was written by/for, what would you say?

I’ve seen people use the NT to DISPROVE Jesus by interjecting their own agenda into it. Show him the verse:

It is I, Paul, who am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you–Galatians 5:2

Ask him how this should apply to what Catholics do, since this is explicitly about Jewish circumcision, believing it a necessary part of the OLD law for salvation. Does this verse make sense if you replaced it with baptism, because St Paul would never say Christ does not benefit you if you are baptized.

The real issue is that the person you are talking to is probably a Baptist. They have a VERY low view of authority (besides a KJV 1611 bible) and a very low view of any physical thing on earth presently being holy(they might concede people can be holy, but typically will not, they would almost never admit there holy ground, holy water, or any holy object–no matter what the bible says) so they certainly would not consider anything about the Eucharist and Baptism as being holy or giving grace, but say they are just symbols necessary for obedience and to remember Jesus.

What you might do is ask them if they had been talking to the 12 apostles directly would he obey them if he disagreed with them? And would he be sinning by not following?


This, I think, is going to be the core of the problem: all of the people in his church, including those whom he views as experts and authorities, tell him all the time that religion with rules is bad, and you, his sister, are trying to tell him otherwise. You are up against everything that he understands to be true.


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