Galatians 5:6 - Faith without Love is Dead!

Gal 5:6 (KJV)  For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth
any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Gal 5:6 (NIV)  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor
uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing
itself through love.

Gal 5:6 (EAV)  For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither
circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated
and energized and expressed and working through love.

In no sense does Paul condemn those who have been circumcised;
he simply warns that when a person is "in Jesus Christ" it makes no
difference whether he is circumcised. The decisive factor is faith. [SDA


"Faith" here once again is trust in, submission to, and
commitment of oneself to Christ. This kind of faith [works through love].
(UBS Translator Handbook Series)

Faith is not mere intellectual assent (see Jas 2:18-19) but a
living trust in God's grace that expresses itself in acts of love (see
1Th 1:3). [NIV SB]

This humble, holy, operative, obedient LOVE, is the grand
touchstone of all human creeds and confessions of faith. Faith without this
has neither soul nor operation; in the language of the Apostle
James, it is dead, (Adam Clarke Commentary)

True faith is a working grace; it works by love to God, and to
our brethren. [Matthew Henry Commentary]

Faith that evinces its existence by love to God, and benevolence
to people. It is not a mere intellectual belief, but it is that
which reaches the heart, and controls the affections. It is not a dead
faith, but it is that which is operative, and which is seen in
Christian kindness and affection. It is not mere belief of the truth, or
mere orthodoxy, but it is that which produces trite attachment to
others. A mere intellectual assent to the truth may leave the heart cold
and unaffected; mere orthodoxy, however bold and self-confident, and
"sound," may not be inconsistent with contentions, and strifes, and
logomachies, and divisions. The true faith is that which is seen in
benevolence, in love to God, in love to all who bear the Christian name; in a
readiness to do good to all mankind. (Barnes' Notes)

Faith which is made active, or energetic, by love. God
acknowledges no faith, as of the operation of his Spirit, that is not active
or obedient; but the principle of all obedience to God, and
beneficence to man, is love; therefore faith cannot work unless it be
associated with love. Love to God produces obedience to his will: love to
man worketh no ill; but, on the contrary, every act of kindness.
(Adam Clarke Commentary)

Faith does have "works," but these are not the "works of the
law" (see on ch. 2:16). Thus excluded are all "works" performed for
the purpose of earning righteousness (see p. 934). The "works" that
accompany genuine faith are inspired by the spirit of appreciation for the
gift of divine grace, by love for God and for one's fellow men (see
Gal. 5:14; see on Matt. 22:34-40).... It is a counterfeit faith that
does not produce the "fruit of the Spirit" in the life (Gal. 5:22,
23). It is a counterfeit faith that leads a man to think himself
released from obedience to the will of God as expressed in the Decalogue,
which is simply a brief outline of how love toward God and man will
find expression (see on Matt. 5:17, 18; 7:21-27)..... Obedience to
known duty is an inevitable result of the righteousness that comes by
faith, and is the supreme test of its genuineness (see James 2:18).
[SDA Commentary]


To Paul all that mattered was faith which works through love.
That is just another way of saying that the essence of Christianity
is not law but a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. The
Christian's faith is founded not on a book but on a person; its dynamic is
not obedience to any law but love to Jesus Christ. [Barclay

To be "in Christ Jesus" is to be united with him in faith and in
fellowship. (UBS Translator Handbook Series)

Genuine faith is followed by love, and love by obedience. All
the powers and passions of the converted man are brought under the
control of Christ. His Spirit is a renewing power, transforming to the
divine image all who will receive it.... Very many follow on in their own
ways and indulge their sinful desires and yet profess to be disciples
of Christ. They have never submitted their hearts to God. Like the
foolish virgins they have neglected to obtain the oil of grace in their
vessels with their lamps. I tell you, my brethren, that a large number
who profess to believe and even to teach the truth are under the
bondage of sin. Base passions defile the mind and corrupt the soul.

The life of him in whose heart Christ abides, will reveal
practical godliness. The character will be purified, elevated, ennobled,
and glorified. Pure doctrine will blend with works of righteousness;
heavenly precepts will mingle with holy practices.  AA560

"Faith is viewed as the root, love as the fruit," [College Press
NIV Commentary]

True spirituality is not indicated by possession of any
particular spiritual gift, but rather by that love which is so beautifully
portrayed in vv. 4-7 of that great chapter.... The Christian does not
demonstrate his faith by the rigor with which he keeps Moses' Law, but by
the love he or she shows in every relationship, with God and with
others. [Victor Bible Background Commentary]

Because faith expresses itself through love, you can check your
love for others as a way to monitor your faith. [Life Application

Paul describes the true Christian walk in vv. 5-6: our power is
in the Spirit; we receive this power by faith; this faith produces
love and works in our lives. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]

"Justification by faith and life in the Spirit are like two
sides of one coin; neither is present without the other."5-7 [College
Press NIV Commentary]

It's as if a man with a power lawnmower decided to push the
mower back and forth over his yard without ever starting it. He would
work harder at mowing than if the motor was on, and would get
absolutely nothing done! Paul was saying that when we rely on self-effort,
guided by Law, to live the Christian life, Christ, though present
within us, is "turned off." We work so hard. And we get nothing done at
all! [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]

The way we live, the things we say, the attitudes we entertain,
the lifestyle we adopt, the enterprises in which we engage are all
continuously producing either positive or negative results in society. Far
too many people assume they can adopt a neutral stance. They feel
they can be noncommittal. They try to remain detached, uninvolved
with the trauma, turmoil and tension of their times.
Again and again Jesus pointed out that this was impossible.
"Either you are for me, or against me," He said. "You cannot serve two
masters at once. Either you hate one and love the other or vice-versa
We live in an atmosphere of antagonism, an environment of
enmity. Yet amid such adversity Christ calls us to produce peace.
This peace is love, quietly, strongly persistently meeting every
onslaught against it with good will. It is that inner attitude of
tranquillity and tolerance in the face of angry attacks. It is the
willingness to accept the assaults of others even at the price of personal
humiliation. It implies that even though my enemies and detractors may be at
war with me, I can be at peace with them. (From Salt for Society by
Phillip Keller)
APPLICATION: How do you exhibit your faith? Do you hurry out the
door after church on Sabbaths? Or, do you take the time to greet and
listen to the concerns of others? Next Sabbath, stay and listen.
Remember that listening begins to help those in need. [Inspirational SB


Freedom is the privilege of those who are willing to obey. It is
a privilege which carries many responsibilities. It is not an
automatic right....
Jesus said, " . . You shall know the truth, and the truth shall
make you free" (John 8:32). Truth makes us free because it gives
understanding. Understanding helps us accept the necessary conditions,
restrictions, and discipline which must prevail if there is to be true
freedom. To obey the truth of God's Word makes us free from the slavery
of evil habits, desires which harm us, and behavior which dishonors
the Lord. Liberty is not the result of human achievement. It is the
result of obedience to God. Disobedience means loss of freedom.
If freedom is to be real and lasting, it must be controlled by
love. Freedom to do as one pleases, without regard for others or for
the circumstances, is destructive. Christian liberty is freedom to
love and to serve. It is abused when it is made an excuse for
loveless behavior or inconsiderate action.
Real freedom is found in serving God. With our minds centered on
Christ and what He would have us do, the self-centered desires and
degrading habits of life are crowded out. Life is complete and happy when
we surrender ourselves to God, whose yoke is easy and burden is
light (Matthew 11.30). Lucille Sollenberger [Time With God SB]

Paul distinguished between freedom to sin and freedom to serve.
Freedom to sin is no freedom at all because it enslaves you to Satan,
others, and your own evil desires. People who are slaves to sin are not
free to help others; they become preoccupied with satisfying their
own selfish desires. Christians, by contrast, are free to serve.
Instead of seeking personal success and recognition, they seek the best
for others and thereby demonstrate their love for God. [Small Group

Christian's "freedom" is from domination by one's sinful nature,
allowing opportunity to love and serve others (vv. 13-15). Only living
"by the Spirit" can release us from the domination of the sin
nature--[Victor Bible Reader's Companion]

Sin is slavery, not freedom. [Disciple SB]


We fulfill the law when we live in love (Rom. 13:8-10). [Wiersbe
Expository Outlines]

"All the law is fulfilled in ... love," the principle on which
"faith worketh" (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)

What counts is love, which sums up in itself all that the Law
demands (Rom 13:9, 10).... Faith, operating through love, is the only
workable means whereby the demands of the Law may be met. [Wycliffe Bible


The elements of faith, hope and love [Jamieson, Fausset, And
Brown Commentary]

Faith's upreach in hope, its outreach in love. [Wycliffe Bible

The verb (energoumene, here tr. "expressing itself")
has been the subject of substantial debate within Catholicism and
between others and Catholic theologians. If the verb is passive, as most
Catholics maintain, then the phrase means that faith is inspired by love;
that is, love comes first, faith stemming from it. This, while
linguistically possible, is not Paul's meaning. If the verb is in the middle
voice, as it seems to be elsewhere in the NT, then the thought is as
tr. in NIV. This links up with two of Paul's basic thoughts
expressed elsewhere: first, that love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom
13:10), and second, that faith leads to the development of the fruit of
the Spirit in which love is prominent (Gal 5:22). It is through love
that faith reveals and proves itself, as the Epistle of James
indicates. [Expositors Bible Commentary]

It is possible, however, to interpret the verb [works] as
passive and to understand [love] in the sense of God's love rather than
human love. [Faith that works through love] would then mean "faith
which is made effective by God's love." No translation, however, has
this interpretation. (UBS Translator Handbook Series)