Posted by: Brad Beaman | August 15, 2008

The Gospel: Love Galatians 5:13-15

There was a woman who was married to a domineering husband that demanded her to follow a list of duties. His demands were full of regulations and the marriage was drudgery for that woman.

 

Her husband died and she later remarried. This time her marriage was based on love. It was not like the one she previously had, a marriage of regulation which required a list of dos and don’ts. One day she found her old list that was written by her first husband and she read the list of all his demands.

 

When she read the list she was surprised to realize that she was doing everything her first husband demanded and more. She was now doing all of this willfully and even joyfully. That is the power of love.

 

In Galatians 5:13-15 we find the counterbalance to Grace. It is Love. Christ’s love keeps us from sinning. Christ’s love is more powerful than rules and regulations could ever be.  

 

Throughout the book of Galatians the theme has been the same. Have nothing to do with legalism or salvation by works. Avoid it like the plague. Avoid a system of living that earns favor of God through regulations, rules or human effort. Stand against all of that.

 

Salvation is an undeserved gift of God. Receive it freely. You will never earn your salvation. It comes only through faith in Christ because Jesus Christ paid it all. Your salvation is all by grace.

 

Galatians 5:13-15

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

 

Freedom in Christ does not mean a freedom to sin. It is not a freedom to indulge in the sinful nature. It’s a freedom to obey Christ. It is a new kind of freedom that we never had before. If we are under grace then anything goes right? Wrong. Spiritual liberty is not liberty to sin. It is liberty from sin.

 

It is wrong when freedom is abused. Love is what balances grace. Spiritual liberty is not a license to indulge the sinful nature. Rather it is a call to serve one another in love. Read the Sermon on the Mount to discover that even though Christians are not under the law we are called to go beyond the law.

 

 

Live as free men. Don’t use your freedom as a cover up for evil (1 Peter 2:16). It was for freedom that Christ set you free. You were called to be free.

 

This is underscored in Titus 2:11-12: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

 

  

The law of the OT is full of detailed regulations. We don’t fulfill the law by observing all those regulations. We fulfill the law when we put love into action. It’s true that love is all you need, but it must be Christ’s love. In Christ’s love you are related right to God and to each other. Observing the law’s regulations is external. Love is an internal principle.

 

Jesus silenced the Sadducees and Pharisees. (Mark 12:28-34) They could not argue against the principle of love. The great commandment is first to love God and secondly to love your neighbor. Your neighbor is your fellow man. The law is fulfilled when you serve one another in love. Love goes beyond the letter to the Spirit of the law.  

 

Paul is writing this letter because legalism had its foothold in Galatia. Legalism is the opposite of love. Legalism never promotes love. Legalism is self seeking, it’s petty, judgmental prideful.

 

Love does not seek its own. Love is not selfless, but legalism is. Love doesn’t keep account of wrong, legalism does. Because the church in Galatia were operating out of legalism instead of love it’s not surprising that the Galatians had infighting. Paul says they were acting like animals fighting and devouring each other.

 

In the movie the Lion King the hyenas have moved in and run the pride. They move in and bite and devour. All this infighting turns their paradise into a wasteland. It is what legalism does to a church. It is tragic when biting and devouring takes place in the church.

 

There is too much dog eat dog mentality in the church. It is a bad testimony. People want refuge from that in the church. Paul says your biting and devouring will destroy you. When you bite and devour you are destroying others and yourself. Serve one another in love. Only love can heal people’s wounds. You need the power of Christ. Let the love of Christ fill your heart. 

 

Love takes us beyond the law. With love we can really serve one another. This can’t happen until you know Christ by faith. Have you put your faith in Christ? Are you walking by the Spirit in faith, not by flesh? Let the love of Christ fill your heart.  

 

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Responses

  1. typo in this sentence in the Galations piece:
    “It is a new king of freedom” should be “kind”.

    You say Christ silenced the Pharisees, in talking of love. If you mean the example of when he talked of giving to Caesar what was due, then yes, they accepted that POLITICAL question’s answer. My guess, though, is that the subject of “love” did not silence those who had differences with him. Woman taken in adultery–Pharisees walked away, yes, but that was a JUDGMENT call re: their own sin; not about LOVE, per se. I do not think love silenced Pharisees. Christ’s dying on the cross was an act of love, but Pharisees taunted him there as well. This is not a complete listing, just incidents that come quickly to mind.

    • Hi Clif, Thank you for the input on The Gospel: Love. I changed king to Kind as you suggested. I added the reference Mark 12:28-34 to Jesus slencied the Sadducees and Pharisees to help clarify this.


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