Galatians 5:13-15

In Galatians 5:13-15 Paul exhorts us to use our freedom to serve and love each other. Paul continues to remind us that the Christian life is one of freedom, not bondage. We are slaves of sin that are set free by faith in Jesus. “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” It is worth asking if people see us as people of freedom and liberty. Often, Christians are seen as people more bound up and hung up than anyone else is. Are you living as a free person in Christ? Freedom is the essence of being a Christ Follower.

That freedom is not a license to live for the flesh. It isn’t the freedom to go out and sin any way we want to and then seek God’s forgiveness, thinking we can then go ahead and do whatever we want again. Paul warns against that attitude and reminds us that the freedom we have been given is to love to serve one another. That is the way we keep from falling into the temptation of using freedom for our own sinful desires. We can’t conquer our fleshly desires by any way other than focusing on loving and serving others in our patch. We can’t will our way toward holiness. We have to live our way to it through love and service.

Paul then makes the law as simple as it gets. “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” He is telling those who thought the law was the way to salvation the true secret to keeping it – to love. Luther wrote: “If you want to know how you ought to love your neighbor, ask yourself how much you love yourself. If you were to get into trouble or danger, you would be glad to have the love and help of all men. You do not need any book of instructions to teach you how to love your neighbor. All you have to do is to look into your own heart, and it will tell you how you ought to love your neighbor as yourself.”

Paul then reminds the church that without love, people act like a pack of wild animals and are brutal to each other, even within the confines of the church. Sinful people will eventually be consumed by one another if they completely lose the concept of love. “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Morris explained “The loveless life is a life lived on the level of animals, with a concern only for oneself, no matter what the cost to other people.” The law doesn’t change that behavior, grace does. It is through a relationship with Jesus Christ that we can overcome our own selfish ways and become people who love one another.

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