Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Our Verse of the Day continues to focus on our relationships with one another; and I want us to spend time on the command to love one another. Jesus said to love our neighbor is second only to the command to love God. (Cf. Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31) As we have seen in New Testament scriptures, to love one another fulfills the command to love God. I think the Apostle John captured this thought best when he affirmed: “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (Cf. 1 John 4:20-21)
Galatians 5:13-25 (NIV)
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature of our flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Citing Leviticus 19:18) If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So, I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
What Paul teaches here is that we cannot just do whatever we want based on the freedom we have received in Christ Jesus. We are called to be led by the Spirit and to live in accordance with His indwelling presence. Jesus, through the sacrificial atonement of His blood, saved us from the penalty of our sin; but we cannot continue to indulge the passions or desires of our flesh, or expect that such behavior or conduct will lead others to salvation. We must die to the power of sin in order to experience the freedom gain through Christ. Indeed, Paul had very pointed instruction in this regard:
Romans 6:1-14 (NIV)
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
My friends, we have been called to serve one another humbly in love. What does this entail? Perhaps, we should go back and look at the biblical definition of love the Apostle Paul provided in1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It is my prayer that we will strive to keep these attributes of love at the forefront of our thoughts so that our actions will follow the excellence of love. We fail to love God in truth if we cannot serve one another humbly in love. So, let the freedom we have been given become the source we draw upon to love one another as Jesus loved us. Indeed, I pray we will keep these things in mind as we encounter and engage with those who are lost….
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. ~ 1 Corinthians: 9:19-23