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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE GALATIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 26

Verse 26. Let us not be desirous of vain glory. The word here used kenodoxoi means, proud or vain of empty advantages, as of birth, property, eloquence, or learning. The reference here is probably to the paltry competitions which arose on account of these supposed advantages. It is possible that this might have been one cause of the difficulties existing in the churches of Galatia, and the apostle is anxious wholly to check and remove it. The Jews prided themselves on their birth; and men are everywhere prone to over-value the supposed advantages of birth and blood. The doctrines of Paul are, that in great and most vital respects men are on a level; that these things contribute nothing to salvation, See Barnes "Ga 3:28"

; and that Christians should esteem them of little importance, and that they should not be suffered to interfere with their fellowship, or to mar their harmony and peace. Provoking one another. The sense is, that they who are desirous of vain glory, do provoke one another. They provoke those whom they regard as inferiors by a haughty carriage and a contemptuous manner towards them. They look upon-them often with contempt; pass them by with disdain; treat them as beneath their notice; and this provokes, on the other hand, hard feeling, and hatred, and a disposition to take revenge. When men regard themselves as equal in their great and vital interests; when they feel that they are fellow-heirs of the grace of life; when they feel that they belong to one great family, and are in their great interests on a level; deriving no advantage from birth and blood; on a level as descendants of the same apostate father; as being themselves sinners; on a level at the foot of the cross, at the communion table, on beds of sickness, in the grave, and at the bar of God; when they feel this, then the consequences here referred to will be avoided. There will be no haughty carriage such as to provoke opposition; and, on the other hand, there will be no envy on account of the superior rank of others.

Envying one another. On account of their superior wealth, rank, talent, learning. The true way to cure envy is to make men feel that in their great and important interests they are on a level. Their great interests are beyond the grave. The distinctions of this life are temporary, and are comparative trifles. Soon all will be on a level in the grave, and at the bar of God, and in heaven. Wealth, and honour, and rank do not avail there. The poorest man will wear as bright a crown as the rich; the man of most humble birth will be admitted as near the throne as he who can boast the longest line of illustrious ancestors. Why should a man who is soon to wear a "crown incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away," envy him who has a ducal coronet here, or a royal diadem—baubles that are soon to be laid aside for ever? Why should he, though poor here, who is soon to inherit the treasures of heaven, where "moth and rust do not corrupt," envy him who can walk over a few acres as his own, or who has accumulated a glittering pile of dust, soon to be left for ever? Why should he who is soon to wear the robes of salvation, made "white in the blood of the Lamb," envy him who is "clothed in purple and fine linen," or who can adorn himself and his family in the most gorgeous attire which art and skill can make, soon to give place to the winding-sheet, soon to be succeeded by the simple garb which the most humble wears in the grave? If men feel that their great interests are beyond the tomb; that in the important matter of salvation they are on a level; that soon they are to be undistinguished beneath the clods of the valley, how unimportant comparatively would it seem to adorn their bodies, to advance their name and rank, and to improve their estates? The rich and the great would cease to look down with contempt on those of more humble rank; and the poor would cease to envy those above them, for they are soon to be their equals in the grave; their equals, perhaps their superiors, in heaven !

{b} "Let us not" Php 2:3

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