Gal 5:13-15 “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”
It is a wonderful thought that we have not been called out to be in bondage. God has bidden us to liberty. Even though we were born in the bondage of sin, God has covered that with His wonderful freedom. We are truly covered by the liberty of our Lord and Savior. The Greek word rendered as “unto” has as a portion of its meaning “to superimpose.” Although we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), yet God has called us forth from that condition and superimposed (covered us with) His freedom.
Some would think that we are then free to just do as we please. After all, God has called us from our sinful condition so what difference does it make what we do now. We are not going to lose our eternal home, because Christ has paid the price for that. While it is true that our eternal destiny is not in question if we are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, Paul makes it quite plain that we are not free to do as we please.
We are never to use the liberty that God has granted us as an opportunity to satisfy our carnal desires. When we understand the depth of the freedom we have been given, then it produces the result of loving others and showing that love by a life of service. Being a slave to the things of the world is a heartbreaking bondage: being a slave to Jesus Christ in His kingdom here is the most wonderful freedom!
The law is not fulfilled in circumcision and burnt offerings. The law is not fulfilled in how regularly we worship or how much we tithe. The law is fulfilled in a heartfelt desire to love your neighbor. Not long ago, I had the privilege of seeing and feeling this in action again in my life.
We were on the road to a meeting and had stopped at one of the well-known fast food establishments for a quick break. As we entered the building, we were greeted by a lady whose particular “denomination” I will probably never know, and she was not Caucasian. She greeted us with a huge smile and said “It is my pleasure to serve you today.” It was obvious that this was not just some “canned” greeting required by her employer. Everything about her countenance said she was happy to be serving us.
The conversation turned almost immediately to the goodness and mercy of God. After we had received our order and turned to the door she wished us a safe journey and then declared for all to hear “I love you!” And we could honestly reply to this precious sister “We love you, too!” There was such a great liberty in my heart as I turned to the door, and the tears flowed freely from my eyes as I thanked God for the proof yet again that His word is true!
We need to make it a practice to love our neighbors (whether we have ever seen them before or not). Our liberty should never be about what we can get from others but rather what we can give to others. We should greet our brothers and sisters in Christ with the same wonderful joy this sister greeted us with, even though from man’s perspective we were total strangers.
While there is great joy in the liberty of Christ, there is also much sorrow when we attempt to use our freedom to gain an advantage over others. If we try to hide our maliciousness under a cloak of liberty, then we bite (thwart – see Strong’s) and devour (to eat down – see Strong’s) each other. Notice that we are victims of the same outcome we try to push on others. We are instructed to beware that we will destroy (be consumed) each other; we will not escape the outcome of losing the joy of His salvation.
May God bless us to have the joy of serving each other by love in Jesus Christ and thank Him every day for the liberty we have been called to!