You can be set free to love – Galatians 1:1-5:15, Part 5

Do you find it hard to love some people? Maybe there are people you really struggle with? Keep reading because there is hope!

Because Jesus died and rose again, we can be free!  Look at chapter 4:1-7.  Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, Paul says, we can receive the full rights as sons and daughters of God!  Better yet, when we become God’s sons and daughters, God sends his Spirit into our hearts.  That is a powerful thought.  For true followers of Jesus, the Spirit of Jesus lives in us.  Paul has repeatedly mentioned the Spirit, because it is so important to him.  God’s Spirit living in us is everything.  (If you have been following along since the preview post, can you start to see how Paul’s flow of thought will lead to his teaching about the Fruit of the Spirit?)

The importance of the people having the Spirit of God in their lives is why Paul is so concerned for the Galatians.  Look at how he describes his concern for them in chapter 4 verses 8-9. Paul cannot believe that those who have tasted freedom in Jesus, with the Spirit of God living in their lives, would want to go back to the slavery of the law. Paul is basically saying, “People, you have been set free from the Law so that you can access the power of the Spirit of God alive and at work in you! Why would you go back to slavery to the Law?”

Paul goes on in verses 10-20 to plead with them to turn to Jesus. The rest of chapter four and chapter five verses 1-12 includes arguments from Paul strengthening his case, imploring them to choose freedom in Jesus rather than slavery to the Law.  Take a look at chapter 5, verse 6, which is very important for where Paul’s flow of thought is headed. 

There Paul says that circumcision or uncircumcision is not what is important in the eyes of Jesus.  The choice of circumcision is an outward act.  Instead what counts is the inward condition of our hearts, which Paul says is “faith expressing itself through love.”  Faith, in order to be truly faith, must demonstrate itself in love. 

Look at how Paul describes this in verses 13-15.  He says that we are free in Christ.  But that doesn’t mean we go wild.  Our sinful nature is calling us to indulge in temptation.  Paul says that freedom in Christ doesn’t mean that we do whatever we want.  Instead, he returns to love.  Serve one another in love. 

Then he brings up a teaching from the Law that Jesus once said was the second greatest command after love God: Love your neighbor as yourself.   We know that our faith in Christ is genuine when God’s love flows from our hearts. 

To sum it up, flowing from God’s grace and love, Jesus was born, lived, died and rose again, so that we could be forgiven for sin, and have a new relationship with God when we place our faith in him.  That relationship with God is not based on us keeping the Law, but on God’s Spirit living in us.  With God’s Spirit at work in us, we are set free from the Law, free to live by the Spirit, which Paul says is “faith expressing itself through love.” 

We are free to serve one another in love.  That is the amazing gift of God.  That is how God wants to change our lives, our families, our community and our world, by his Spirit in us, empowering us to serve one another in love. 

Look at your life.  Are you serving one another in love?  Consider your family relationships first.  Think about the relationships you have with your parents, your siblings, your extended family.  Are you serving them in love? 

Consider your friends, co-workers, teammates, and neighbors.  Are you serving them in love? 

Consider your church family?  Are you serving in love? 

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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