Galatians 5:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Galatians 5:25, NIV: "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

Galatians 5:25, ESV: "If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit."

Galatians 5:25, KJV: "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

Galatians 5:25, NASB: "If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit as well."

Galatians 5:25, NLT: "Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives."

Galatians 5:25, CSB: "If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit."

What does Galatians 5:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has been describing what it looks like to live as one who is free in Christ. He has been clear that this is not a freedom to do whatever feels good. It is not a freedom to simply indulge in trying to satisfy all our sinful desires. On the contrary, true salvation—and freedom from the Old Testament's ritual law—is freedom from being controlled by our sinful desires. How? Just as we needed an external source, Jesus, to pay for our sin, we also need an external source of power, the Holy Spirit, to overcome our sinful desires and lead us in the right direction.

This happens, Paul has written, when we "walk by" (Galatians 5:16) and are "led by" (Galatians 5:18) the Spirit. The picture he paints is not one of possession in the sense that the Spirit takes us over and does whatever He wants. We are not spiritual robots, or puppets who suddenly lack free will. Instead the picture is one of Christians using our will to allow God's Spirit to set the direction we will go.

It's a mysterious idea than none of us fully understand, but the way Paul describes it in this verse is helpful. He says living by the Spirit involves keeping in step with the Spirit. It involves adjusting our pace to match the pace and direction the Spirit is leading. Sometimes, Bible teachers describe it as allowing one's partner to lead in a dance. In other words, it involves submitting to God's way, but we are still the one taking each next step.

This will not happen automatically. It is something we must choose from day to day. In fact, we must often to choose to give the lead to the Spirit moment by moment as we follow after Christ.