FREEDOM AND LOVE
“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.“
Galatians 5:13 (ESV)
Paul takes his relationship with the Galatians very seriously, going so far as to refer to them as his own children (Galatians 4:19). You see, a group of ‘rabble-rousers’ had started declaring a message contrary to the Gospel that Paul had preached to them (1:6-9). Paul writes to the Galatians to remind them of their new identity in Christ! He says, ‘For freedom Christ has set you free (5:1),’ and again, ‘You were called to freedom (5:13).’ He appeals that in light of their new found freedom they can (and should) stand firm, avoiding falling back into bondage by serving one another in love. It can be gathered that this newfound freedom has the ability to incite fleshly living, but under appropriate direction its proper outflowing is service to others. ‘Slavery’ (not a fun word in the 21st Century, but important to the early Church) to Christ frees the believer from bondage to sin and unites them with the Spirit!
Practical Application: This week’s devotionals are on the topic of RETURN – reaching out to those who have accepted new identities and freedom in Christ, but have misplaced their heading and direction. Is there anyone that you know who has decided to spend a little time away from the Faith? Think about ways that you could be a reminder of the freedom that they have in Christ. As you reach out to those around you, remember to stand firm in your freedom, not returning to the yoke of slavery that Jesus has saved you from, and ALWAYS serve others in love (1 Cor. 13).