Galatians 5:6 - Faith without Love is Dead!

Gal.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 verb d (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) 


The Motive for Obedience
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and 
his commandments are not grievous. 1Jo.5:3. 
It is the keeping of the commandments of God that honors and 
glorifies Him in His chosen. Wherefore every soul to whom God has given 
reasoning faculties is under obligation to God to search the Word and 
ascertain all that is enjoined upon us as God's purchased possession. We 
should seek to understand all that the Word requires of us. . . . We 
cannot show greater honor to our God, whose we are by creation and 
redemption, than to give evidence to the beings of heaven, to the worlds 
unfallen, and to fallen men, that we diligently hearken unto all His 
commandments, which are the laws that govern His kingdom.  
We need to study diligently that we may gain a knowledge of the 
laws of God. How can we be obedient subjects if we fail to understand 
the laws that govern the kingdom of God? Then open your Bibles and 
search for everything that will enlighten you in regard to the precepts 
of God; and when you discern a Thus saith the Lord, ask not the 
opinion of men, but whatever the cost to yourself, obey cheerfully. Then 
the blessing of God will rest upon you....  
Often ask prayerfully, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Am I 
in any way disregarding the divine precepts? Am I in any way 
placing my influence on the enemy's side? Am I showing a careless 
disregard of God's commandments? Am I willing to yoke up with Christ, to 
lift the burdens, and to be a co-laborer with Him? Am I studying out 
possible excuses for neglecting obedience to a Thus saith the Lord? Am I 
risking the consequences of neglect to obey the clearly revealed 
precepts of Jehovah because I am not willing to come out from the world 
and be separate? Shall the fear of man have a greater influence over 
me than the fear of God?"  
Surrender yourself to God, saying, "'Here, Lord, I give myself 
away; 'tis all that I can do.' I will not be found in disobedience to 
Thy law, for that would place me in the enemy's ranks." 

All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with 
Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts 
and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, 
that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. 
The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in 
doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know 
Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an 
appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will 
become hateful to us.  As Christ lived the law in humanity, so we may 
do if we will take hold of the Strong for strength. {DA 668} 

1 Cor 16:14 (NIV)  Do everything in love.

1 Cor 16:14 (CEV)  Show love in everything you do.

Romans 5:5b (NIV)  God has poured out his love into our hearts 
by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.