Gospel Character

Gospel Character – GALATIANS 5:16-25 – a Bible Study with Tim Keller, to follow on from Sunday’s talk by Ash Davies.

In the first half of chapter 5, Paul shows that “Christian freedom” gives us a whole new motivation for living. Some may say, “If I thought I was accepted by God no matter what I did, I would lose all incentive to lead a holy life.” The proper response is, “If, when you lose all fear of rejection, you discover that you have lost all incentive for holiness, then the only incentive you had was fear!” In most religion, the motivation for morality is fear-based. In gospel Christianity, the motivation is a dynamic of love (5:6, 14). In this passage Paul spells out how we grow in character through this new dynamic.


1. According to this passage, what are the two “natures” at work in every Christian (vv. 16-18)?

2. What is the main way they influence us? What does the Christian truly “want” and why?

3. What is set in opposition to the Spirit in verse 5:16? What is set in opposition to it in verse 18? What does this tell us about how the “sinful nature” or “flesh” actually operates?

4. In light of verse 5:18, what does it mean to “crucify the sinful nature” with its “over-desires”? What does it mean to “live” or “walk by the Spirit”?

5. What common mistakes do people make about what it means to “crucify the flesh” (vv. 24-25)?

6. Verses 5:19-21 break the “works” of the flesh into categories. What do you learn about the human heart from the list? About yourself from the list? Have a look at The Message translation to get another insight into the meaning of these “works”.

7. Does the following statement make sense to you? (Why or why not?) “Joyful repentance for the residual self-righteousness under both our sins and our good deeds is the secret of change.”

2nd Option or Additional Option – The Bible Project – This would be a great follow on Bible Study to do this week after Ash’s talk on Galatians 5:15 – 26 on Sunday. The three passages discussed encourage us to go to Jesus who has the water of life to satisfy us and keep us from going back to the sinful nature overdesires. It also ties in perfectly with Russell’s song, Living Water, that we sang on Sunday.

Here is the link:  https://bibleproject.com/church-at-home/week5-water-of-life/

Week Five: Water of Life – This week we’ll look at moments where God meets his people out in the desert, where all of life’s comforts and securities have been stripped away. 

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