Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Galatians 5:5

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For we, Christians, through the Spirit - Through the operation of the Holy Ghost, under this spiritual dispensation of the Gospel, wait for the hope of righteousness - expect that which is the object of our hope, on our being justified by faith in Christ. Righteousness, δικαιοσυνη, may here, as in many other places of St. Paul's epistles, mean justification, and the hope of justification, or the hope excited and inspired by it, is the possession of eternal glory; for, says the apostle, Romans 5:1, Romans 5:2, Being justified by faith, we have peace with God - and rejoice in Hope of the Glory of God. But, as this glory is necessarily future, it is to be waited for; but this waiting, in a thorough Christian, is not only a blessed expectation, but also a continual anticipation of it; and therefore the apostle says, απεκδεχομεθα, we receive out if it, from απο, from εκ, out of, and δεχομαι, I receive. This is no fanciful derivation; it exists in the experience of every genuine Christian; he is continually anticipating or receiving foretastes of that glory, the fullness of which he expects after death. Thus they are receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls. 1 Peter 1:9.

That they could not have the Holy Spirit without faith, was a doctrine also of the Jews; hence it is said, Mechilta, fol. 52: "That faith was of great consequence with which the Israelites believed in Him who, with one word, created the universe; and because the Israelites believed in God, the Holy Spirit dwelt in them; so that, being filled with God, they sang praises to him." Cicero, De Nat. Deor., lib. ii., has said: Nemo vir magnus sine aliquo afflatu divino unquam fuit: "There never was a great man who had not some measure of the Divine influence." However true this may be with respect to the great men of the Roman orator, we may safely assert there never was a true Christian who had not the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For we - We who are Christians. It is a characteristic of the true Christian.

Through the Spirit - The Holy Spirit. We expect salvation only by his aid.

Wait for - That is, we expect salvation in this way. The main idea is, not that of waiting as if the thing were delayed; it is that of expecting. The sense is, that true Christians have no other hope of salvation than by faith in the Lord Jesus. It is not by their own works, nor is it by any conformity to the Law. The object of Paul is, to show them the true nature of the Christian hope of eternal life, and to recall them from dependence on their conformity to the Law.

The hope of righteousness - The hope of justification. They had no other hope of justification than by faith in the Redeemer; see the note at Romans 1:17.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ will not be the Saviour of any who will not own and rely upon him as their only Saviour. Let us take heed to the warnings and persuasions of the apostle to stedfastness in the doctrine and liberty of the gospel. All true Christians, being taught by the Holy Spirit, wait for eternal life, the reward of righteousness, and the object of their hope, as the gift of God by faith in Christ; and not for the sake of their own works. The Jewish convert might observe the ceremonies or assert his liberty, the Gentile might disregard them or might attend to them, provided he did not depend upon them. No outward privileges or profession will avail to acceptance with God, without sincere faith in our Lord Jesus. True faith is a working grace; it works by love to God, and to our brethren. May we be of the number of those who, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. The danger of old was not in things of no consequence in themselves, as many forms and observances now are. But without faith working by love, all else is worthless, and compared with it other things are of small value.