VERSE OF THE DAY
Galatians 5:13 (New Living Translation)
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
You have been called to live free happy lives righteously with one another. But do not use your freedom to act upon and gloat in sin and bad habits or to live in the flesh of the world. Rather use your freedom to serve one another in love.
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.” … Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
What Does Galatians 5:13 Mean? ►
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
We are not under the Law, but under grace. We were not born under the Law, which was given to pre-Cross Israel, but have been saved by grace, during this post-Cross, church dispensation. However, the church at Galatia did not understand the freedom they had in Christ, preferring to revert to the old legalistic way – which had been set aside by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.
We are no longer under the curse of the Law, for Christ was made a curse for us, at Calvary. Rather, we are under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which.. by faith in Him, has set us free from the law of sin and of death.
The perfect Law pointed its accusing finger at our fallen, sin nature, which caused us to recognise our sin and our great need of salvation. The Law identified our sin, but was insufficient to save us. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as a man, and died to pay the enormous price for our sin – for God, in His grace, sent His own dear Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, as the only acceptable offering for our sin.
He became the full and final sacrifice for the sin of the whole world, and Christ’s offering of Himself freed us from slavery to sin and translated us into His kingdom. But many believers in that Galatian church found it difficult to move from the pre-Cross legalism of the Mosaic Law, to the post-Cross freedom we have in Christ. They felt the need to DO something to make amends for their sin, instead of believing that JESUS paid the price for their sin in full.
Christ’s death condemned sin in the flesh and paid the full price for all sin. We do not have to DO anything. We have to simply BELIEVE that Christ did it all for us. Christ died on our account, so that the requirement of God’s holy Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but have been born of the Holy Spirit of God.
The incredible freedom we received in Christ, released us from the recurring need to offer daily sacrifices to God. It freed us from the annual obligations to have our sins covered for another year by the insufficient blood of bulls and goats. Having been saved through our faith in Christ, ALL our sins, past, present, and future, are forgiven, and we are to put off our old former ways. We are to live by faith and we are to walk in spirit and truth.
But sadly, there are those that abuse the wonderful freedom we have in Christ during this dispensation of the grace of God. Some seek to turn the wonderful freedom we have in the Lord Jesus, into an opportunity to indulge in sin. Some allow the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life to dominate our mind – catapulting us into an ungodly, carnal lifestyle, that is detrimental to our spiritual growth, disastrous to our Christian witness, and dishonouring to the lovely Lord Jesus, Who bought us with His own blood.
Then as now, some Christians use the incredible freedom we have in Christ to indulge in worldly ways and carnal activities. They exploit our spiritual privileges and pervert the Word of God, by proclaiming that we are free to indulge in whatsoever ungodly acts and fleshly inclinations take our fancy. This is outrageous, and such misappropriation of God’s Word is unacceptable, unscriptural, and should be challenged and changed.
Once we have been saved, and set free from slavery to sin, by faith, we become a new creation in Christ. And although our sin nature is still resident within our mortal flesh, we have received power from on high to mortify our egocentric self, and to keep our sin nature nailed to the Cross – and we can do this through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who lives in us and guides us towards the good and away from the evil.
We have spiritual armour to protect ourselves from the ravages of the flesh and we have been given God’s sufficient grace to stand fast in this evil day, and resist the devil and all his worldly temptations. We are to live as Christ lived.. in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.. and we are to love and serve one another – in the same way that Christ loved us and gave Himself for us.
No wonder that Paul reminded the Christians in Galatia that carnality is equally as abhorrent in the life of a Christian, as legalism, which binds us to keeping the Law which we can never attain. No surprise that Paul reminded them so forcefully that, “you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through
Galatians 5:13 Meaning of Serve One Another Humbly in Love
Nov 7, 2020 by Editor in Chief
“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.”
Explanation and Commentary of Galatians 5:13
Paul’s great contribution is to explain the doctrine of freedom in Christ by faith in his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins. But lest anyone make the mistake of thinking that God does not care how we act, Paul is quick to remind his readers that our freedom is not intended to cause us to sin, but rather to love God and one another, to be humble, and to serve. This is the essence of the Christian life. Jesus said that it was for freedom that he came. He said that whoever the Son sets free is free indeed (Jn 8:36). This statement and the one by Paul beg the question, freedom from what?
First of all, we have been set free from slavery to sin. The Bible teaches that because of our fallen nature, there is sin in our very flesh that compels us to obey it. Before we are saved, we can really only check one sin with another. For instance, if you are committing the sin of gluttony, you could keep it in check with vanity. But in Christ, we are made alive by his Spirit within us, and another way of saying that is that we are set free from bondage to sin. We still have sin in our flesh, but we have been given power over it by the Spirit.
Additionally, we have been set free from the curse of the law. Paul makes clear that the law was given as a babysitter, a guardian. It shows us a manifestation of righteousness, and in that sense it is good, but since we are unable to keep it, it is a harsh taskmaster who will never set us free, but will be our undoing should we decide to rely upon it.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Galatians 5:13
#1 “You, my brothers and sisters,”
Paul is addressing fellow Christians. The Greek says only “brothers,” but it is not wrong to assume “sisters” in the same way that mankind includes womankind.
We should take great joy in the truth that we belong to the God who calls us chosen. Jesus said that his disciples were drawn to him by God (Jn 6:44), and such, cannot be taken away from him.
#3 “…to be free.”
This is amazing. While it is fine and good for Paul and us to refer to ourselves as bondservants of Christ (1 Cor 7:22), it is a service of freedom.
#4 “But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh;”
This freedom is true freedom. As image-bearers of God, saved and set free, filled with the Holy Spirit, we must still make choices in our freedom, choices for which we will be held accountable.
#5 “rather, serve one another humbly in love
Because we are free, we can serve others with love and humility. It is our bondage to sin, specifically pride, that would prevent us from doing so.
What does Galatians 5:13 mean?
Paul has spent most of this letter to the Galatians calling them to live in the freedom that comes with faith in Christ. With His own blood, Christ has purchased for those who trust Him a freedom from slavery to our sinfulness under the law. We are forgiven. We don’t need to toil under the harsh burdens of the law (Galatians 3:23–29). In his letter to the Romans, expanding on these same ideas, Paul put it this way: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
This raises a new question, though, one that Paul’s enemies surely asked: If there is no threat of condemnation for sinning, what is to keep people from sinning more and more? Without a consequence, won’t people just indulge in every kind of evil practice? Now Paul confronts that idea, too. He warns the Galatians not to use their freedom in Christ as an opportunity to selfishly serve the flesh by only doing what feels good. Instead, they should selflessly serve each other in love.
Again, whether or not we live in Christ is all about where we place our focus. Living under the law, by definition, is about trying to justify ourselves before God, by my own effort, through my own works. We focus on ourselves, and are really seeking our own glory as a result. Salvation by faith in Christ is about what He did, through His works. It’s not about us, at all.
In a similar way, living in the freedom Christ purchased should not be about focusing on ourselves. It is about seeing God’s love for us and striving to serve each other with that same love.
Galatians 5:1–15 focuses on what those in Christ should do with our freedom in Christ. First, we must guard it, especially from those who would pressure us to follow the law. Paul was confident the Galatians would resist the one leading them in the wrong direction. Paul also warns us not to waste our freedom in Christ to selfishly serve ourselves instead of serving each other in love. The entire law is fulfilled in that one word: love. Those who serve themselves, though, will always end up in conflict with each other.
Those who trust in Christ have been set free. Paul’s readers were in danger of wasting that freedom, by veering off in one of two directions. On the one hand, false teachers were pressuring them into circumcision in order to be sure of being right with God. On the other hand, freedom can also be squandered on serving only our sinful desires instead of investing it through serving others in love. God’s Spirit gives us the power to do that when we let Him lead us. Life in the Spirit bears powerful and positive fruit in a Christian’s life