June 15, 2023 – Thursday
13 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.
14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Let’s first look at 13a, 13a You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. Your first reaction may be free? Free from what? There were two aspects of the call to be free. First there is the freedom from the Law of Moses and second they were free from servitude to sin, of sin, as well as freedom from costly and oppressive empty rites and customs.
Then immediately following this we have, 13bBut do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. The freedom they received and that we receive, is not freedom from doing what we know is right from God. Instead, it is, as stated above, freedom from slavery to sin and empty rites and customs, not freedom from known acts of virtue. Why this caution? Barnes’ Notes on the Bible states it thusly, It was necessary to give this caution, because: There was a strong tendency in all converts from paganism to relapse again into their former habits. Licentiousness abounded, and where they had been addicted to it before their conversion, and where they were surrounded by it on every hand, they were in constant danger of falling into it again.
In fact, the very next verse states, 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” referring back to Leviticus 19:18, 18 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Effectively this is saying, Use your freedom to serve others. Guzik adds, The flesh expects others to conform to us, and doesn’t care much about others. But when we through love serve one another, we conquer the flesh. It isn’t through an obsessive, contemplative attitude of navel-gazing that we overcome the flesh, but by getting out and serving others.
I often wonder about those who have supposedly found salvation through Christ, but all they want is for others to serve them. They never seem to have time or assets to share with or to help others. It is always only about them. Verses 19-21 give quite the warning, 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 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.
Then we have the other side of the coin in verses 22-25, 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Bottom Line: For this I will return to an earlier verse in this chapter, 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Emphasis added.
Prayer: Almighty God, Here in Galatians You have made it clear that we are not to use our freedom to enslave ourselves with a new sin or by taking advantage of others. You have shown we are to use our freedom to help others. Help us to do that in all of our daily activities. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton