You probably didn’t think that you would hear the words which we find in vs.12. “I wish those who are bothering you would castrate themselves.” Paul has been addressing the topic of circumcision and how that act is a sign not of freedom, but rather of slavery. This chapter is all about the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. Vs. 1 sounds like my absolute favorite verse in the Bible which you find in John 8:32. The freedom that we have in Christ is not tied up in following the law, but rather in knowing Jesus as your Savior. But it does not end there.
Paul says that the entire law is summed up in the words that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. You can find that in vs.14. How we love our neighbors is totally up to us, and in what way that manifests itself does not follow a set protocol. Vs.13 says that we were called to a life of freedom, but not in order to indulge ourselves. If we are truly disciples of Jesus Christ then our freedom would be seen in following the desire of Jesus Christ.
It’s interesting that for someone who says that we are to live our lives in freedom that he actually gives a list of things we are not supposed to do. Paul calls this list which starts in vs.19 the works of the flesh. He then contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruits of the spirit and gives the list of these starting in vs.22. The separation between the two, according to Paul, is that one will allow its followers to inherit the kingdom of God, and the other will not. Once again, Paul speaks about an inheritance that is wrapped up in the kingdom of God.