World English Bible translation
5:13For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don't use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another. 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don't consume one another.
Christ has paid the debt for the sin of all mankind. He did this so that all men and women would be free to turn to the true and living God. Once we were separated from God by our own unrighteousness. But, when we have been baptized into Christ, we are given, as a free gift, the righteousness of Christ. Although the gift that we are offered is freely given to us, the price that Christ Jesus had to pay to achieve this was personally enormous. God accepts sinners into His own household if they express faith in the sacrifice of His Son. When we are adopted into the family of God, we are set free from the law of sin and death. Christ sets us free from everything that was against us, from everything that separated us from God.
This is the reason that Paul admonished the Galatians not to allow the Judaizers to take away their freedom in Christ. He did not want the false teachers to enslave these new Christians with false teachings that did nothing whatsoever to draw them closer to God. They have been given freedom in Christ. Now Paul turns to the question of what they should do with this new freedom that Christ has purchased.
The guiding principle for all Christian ethics is love. "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" It was for love that Christ came to this world, laying aside the privileges of divinity. It was by love that Jesus lived the meek and humble life of a servant. It was through love that He was willing to lay down His life for us. It was by the power of love that He was raised from the dead.
So we, now, are called to live a life that reflects the one who lives in us. Since God is love, His children must be people that express His own true nature. A child grows with the attributes of the parent. Children have the same racial looks of their parents. They often grow to have the same speech patterns and language usage. Children copy and imitate those they love and respect. We too must copy and imitate our spiritual Father. Because God acts through love, our own actions must be motivated through love.
In this sense our freedom is restrained. God lives in us. The holy and righteous Christ is in our hearts. He goes with us through every situation and experiences every thought and emotion that we do. Love restrains us: the love for our Creator and His love for His creation. Because we first love God, we are compelled to love each other. In the expression of His love, the law is fulfilled.
So, when you contemplate your freedom in Christ, remember the great price that was paid for your freedom. Remember the love that God has placed in us.
How does the love of God change the way that you live your life? In what way are you called to serve your Father's world?
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