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Galatians 5:23

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Meekness - Πραοτης· Mildness, indulgence toward the weak and erring, patient suffering of injuries without feeling a spirit of revenge, an even balance of all tempers and passions, the entire opposite to anger.

Temperance - Εγκρατεια· Continence, self-government, or moderation, principally with regard to sensual or animal appetites. Moderation in eating, drinking, sleeping, etc.

Several very respectable MSS., as D*EFG, with the Vulgate, most copies of the Itala and several of the fathers, add ἁγνεια, chastity. This we are sure cannot be separated from the genuine Christian character, though it may be included in the word εγκρατεια, continence or moderation, immediately preceding.

Against such there is no law - Those, whose lives are adorned by the above virtues, cannot be condemned by any law, for the whole purpose and design of the moral law of God is fulfilled in those who have the Spirit of God, producing in their hearts and lives the preceding fruits.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Meekness - See the note at Matthew 5:5.

Temperance - The word used here, ( ἐγκράτεια egkrateia), means properly “self-control, continence.” It is derived from ἐν enand κράτος kratos“strength,” and has reference to the power or ascendancy which we have over exciting and evil passions of all kinds. It denotes the self-rule which a man has over the evil propensities of his nature. Our word temperance we use now in a much more limited sense, as referring mainly to abstinence from intoxicating drinks. But the word here used is employed in a much more extended signification. It includes the dominion over all evil propensities, and may denote continence, chastity, self-government, moderation in regard to all indulgences as well as abstinence from intoxicating drinks. See the word explained in the notes at Acts 24:25. The sense here is, that the influences of the Holy Spirit on the heart make a man moderate in all indulgences; teach him to restrain his passions, and to govern himself; to control his evil propensities, and to subdue all inordinate affection.

The Christian will not only abstain from intoxicating drinks, but from all exciting passions; he will be temperate in his manner of living, and in the government of his temper. This may be applied to temperance properly so called with us; but it should not be limited to that. A Christian must be a temperate man; and if the effect of his religion is not to produce this, it is false and vain. Abstinence from intoxicating drinks, as well as from all improper excitement, is demanded by the very genius of his religion, and on this subject there is no danger of drawing the cords too close. No one was ever injured by the strictest temperance, by total abstinence from ardent spirits, and from wine as a beverage; no man is certainly safe who does not abstain; no man, it is believed, can be in a proper frame of mind for religious duties who indulges in the habitual use of intoxicating drinks. Nothing does more scandal to religion than such indulgences; and, other things being equal, he is the most under the influence of the Spirit of God who is the most thoroughly a person of temperance.

Against such there is no law - That is, there is no law to condemn such persons. These are not the things which the Law denounces. These, therefore, are the true freemen; free from the condemning sentence of the Law, and free in the service of God. Law condemns sin; and they who evince the spirit here referred to are free from its denunciations.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
If it be our care to act under the guidance and power of the blessed Spirit, though we may not be freed from the stirrings and oppositions of the corrupt nature which remains in us, it shall not have dominion over us. Believers are engaged in a conflict, in which they earnestly desire that grace may obtain full and speedy victory. And those who desire thus to give themselves up to be led by the Holy Spirit, are not under the law as a covenant of works, nor exposed to its awful curse. Their hatred of sin, and desires after holiness, show that they have a part in the salvation of the gospel. The works of the flesh are many and manifest. And these sins will shut men out of heaven. Yet what numbers, calling themselves Christians, live in these, and say they hope for heaven! The fruits of the Spirit, or of the renewed nature, which we are to do, are named. And as the apostle had chiefly named works of the flesh, not only hurtful to men themselves, but tending to make them so to one another, so here he chiefly notices the fruits of the Spirit, which tend to make Christians agreeable one to another, as well as to make them happy. The fruits of the Spirit plainly show, that such are led by the Spirit. By describing the works of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit, we are told what to avoid and oppose, and what we are to cherish and cultivate; and this is the sincere care and endeavour of all real Christians. Sin does not now reign in their mortal bodies, so that they obey it, Ro 6:12, for they seek to destroy it. Christ never will own those who yield themselves up to be the servants of sin. And it is not enough that we cease to do evil, but we must learn to do well. Our conversation will always be answerable to the principle which guides and governs us, Ro 8:5. We must set ourselves in earnest to mortify the deeds of the body, and to walk in newness of life. Not being desirous of vain-glory, or unduly wishing for the esteem and applause of men, not provoking or envying one another, but seeking to bring forth more abundantly those good fruits, which are, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.
Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 336

Christ, Our Divine Sin Bearer

[This article appeared in The Signs of the Times, December 26, 1892.]

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Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 287

When one is fully emptied of self, when every false god is cast out of the soul, the vacuum is filled by the inflowing of the Spirit of Christ. Such a one has the faith that purifies the soul from defilement. He is conformed to the Spirit, and he minds the things of the Spirit. He has no confidence in self. Christ is all and in all. He receives with meekness the truth that is constantly being unfolded, and gives the Lord all the glory, saying, “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.” “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” [1 Corinthians 2:10, 12.] GW 287.1

The Spirit that reveals, also works in him the fruits of righteousness. Christ is in him, “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” [John 4:14.] He is a branch of the True Vine, and bears rich clusters of fruit to the glory of God. What is the character of the fruit borne?—The fruit of the Spirit is “love,” not hatred; “joy,” not discontent and mourning; “peace,” not irritation, anxiety, and manufactured trials. It is “long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” [Galatians 5:22, 23.] GW 287.2

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Ellen G. White
Steps to Christ, 58

It is true that there may be an outward correctness of deportment without the renewing power of Christ. The love of influence and the desire for the esteem of others may produce a well-ordered life. Self-respect may lead us to avoid the appearance of evil. A selfish heart may perform generous actions. By what means, then, shall we determine whose side we are on? SC 58.1

Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Of whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are Christ's, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. All we have and are is consecrated to Him. We long to bear His image, breathe His spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things. SC 58.2

Those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus will bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5:22, 23. They will no longer fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of God they will follow in His steps, reflect His character, and purify themselves even as He is pure. The things they once hated they now love, and the things they once loved they hate. The proud and self-assertive become meek and lowly in heart. The vain and supercilious become serious and unobtrusive. The drunken become sober, and the profligate pure. The vain customs and fashions of the world are laid aside. Christians will seek not the “outward adorning,” but “the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” 1 Peter 3:3, 4. SC 58.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 282

God requires those to whom He has given sacred trusts to rise to the full height of their responsibilities. Man is placed here in the world on test and trial, and those who are given positions of trust must decide whether they will exalt self, or their Maker; whether they will use their power to oppress their fellowmen, or to exalt and glorify God. TM 282.1

Increased responsibilities bring increased accountability. He who would be a faithful servant must give entire and willing service to the greatest teacher the world ever knew. His ideas and principles must be kept pure by the power of God. Every day he must learn to become worthy of the trust placed in him. His mind must be quickened by the divine power. His character must be uncontaminated by the influence of his relatives, his friends, or his neighbors. At times he must turn aside from active life to commune with God, and to hear His voice saying to him, “Be still, and know that I am God.” TM 282.2

The fruits of the Spirit will be borne by the man who loves God and keeps the way of the Lord, as the rich clusters of grapes grow on the living vine. Christ is his stronghold. Christ lived the law of God in humanity, and so may man do if he will by faith take hold on the strong and mighty One for strength. If he realizes that he cannot do anything without Christ by his side, God will give him wisdom. But he must cherish the love of Christ in his heart, and practice His lessons; for is he not to love Christ as Christ loved God? Is he not to demonstrate to all with whom he associates that he has the abiding presence of Jesus Christ more than he has ever had it before? Because of his increased responsibilities he must have an increased knowledge of God, and must reveal that living faith that works by love and purifies the soul. TM 282.3

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