5 So stand strong for our freedom! The Anointed One freed us so we wouldn’t spend one more day under the yoke of slavery, trapped under the law.
2 Listen because I, Paul, am going to make this message very clear so it cannot be misunderstood: if you undergo the rite of circumcision, then all that the Anointed accomplished will be lost on you. 3 And understand this: if you choose to be circumcised, then you will oblige yourself to do every single rule of the law for the rest of your life. 4 You, and anyone else who seeks to be on the right side of God through the law, have effectively been cut off from the Anointed, circumcised from grace, and cast off from the favor of God. 5 We, on the other hand, continue to live through the Spirit’s power and wait confidently in the hope that things will be put right through faith. 6 Here’s the thing: in Jesus the Anointed whether you are circumcised or not makes no difference. What makes a difference is faith energized by love.
7 Who has impeded your progress and kept you from obeying the truth? You were off to such a good start. 8 I know for certain the pressure isn’t coming from God. He keeps calling you to the truth. 9 You know what they say, “Just a little yeast causes all the dough to rise,” so even the slightest detour from the truth will take you to a destination you do not desire. 10 Despite this, I’m confident because the Lord reassures me that you will truly hear and take my message to heart. Besides, I also know that these troublemakers, whoever they are, will answer to God and be judged accordingly. 11 As for me, brothers and sisters, if I continue to preach circumcision—as these agitators claim—then why do I still face persecution? If I were to preach a compromised version of the good news, then the scandal of the cross would come to an end. 12 I really wish that these people who weigh you down with corrupt counsel would mutilate themselves!
13 Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. 14 For the whole law comes down to this one instruction: “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] so 15 why all this vicious gnawing on each other? If you are not careful, you will find you’ve eaten each other alive!
16 Here’s my instruction: walk in the Spirit, and let the Spirit bring order to your life. If you do, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings. 17 For everything the flesh desires goes against the Spirit, and everything the Spirit desires goes against the flesh. There is a constant battle raging between them that prevents you from doing the good you want to do. 18 But when you are led by the Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.
19 It’s clear that our flesh entices us into practicing some of its most heinous acts: participating in corrupt sexual relationships, impurity, unbridled lust, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, arguing, jealousy, anger, selfishness, contentiousness, division, 21 envy of others’ good fortune, drunkenness, drunken revelry, and other shameful vices that plague humankind. I told you this clearly before, and I only tell you again so there is no room for confusion: those who give in to these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul has been preaching about the call of God to freedom, and so he now spells it out: we are done with the demands of the law; now we are free to live in the Spirit and to be truly right with God. As free people, the Spirit gives us the characteristics of Jesus; we, too, can freely love in joy and peace. We can have patience along with kindness and faithfulness that can only come from the Father. We can reflect the goodness of God while being gentle in operating with self-control. For those who follow Him and live in the Spirit, these characteristics or fruits are a gift from God. As we grow in the faith, we find that we belong to God and can walk daily in the Spirit.
22 The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. 24 Those of us who belong to the Anointed One have crucified our old lives and put to death the flesh and all the lusts and desires that plague us.
25 Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let’s keep each step in perfect sync with God’s Spirit. 26 This will happen when we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed by provocation, pride, and envy.