Thursday, January 02, 2020

2020.01.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Galatians 5:13-15

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle call them in Galatians 5:13? To what does he say they have been called? What does he warn them against using their liberty as? For what should they use their liberty? Through what may we serve one another? Does Galatians 5:14 argue for disregarding the law? How does it say to fulfill the law? What does he warn them against doing to one another in Galatians 5:15? What does he warn them will happen if they do this?
One of the great treasures of the book of Galatians for us is how its teaching absolutely frees us from others’ (and our own!) additions to what God has commanded in His Word. What liberty!

But that’s the question—to what end have we been given this liberty? The answer of our passage is: we have been freed in order to love and serve. The apostle himself is an example of this. He is free from all of the inventions of the Judaizers, but what is he using his freedom to do? To serve, by writing, those whom he lovingly calls “brethren” in Galatians 5:13.

Christian freedom is not the throwing off of all outward restraint. It is a freedom from what comes from us (after all—our sin and death came from us too!), in order to be controlled by that life and love that comes from Christ. So, it does not result in the rejection of God’s law, but in finally keeping it well for the first time. Jesus summarized the “ten words” into “two words,” love of God and love of neighbor. And ultimately, that’s one word: love.

Love embraces the law in order to do good to its object. “Through love, serve one another.” “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Who can tell us what it looks like to love? What can define “doing good” to others? God’s law! So liberty is not lawlessness. It is not giving in to the hatefulness to which we had been enslaved, which the Judaizers ironically were doing. Liberty translates into law-keeping, because we have been freed to love!
What’s a situation in which your flesh feels like doing wrong, but you can do right if freed by love?
Suggested songs: ARP135 “Your Name, Lord, Endures Forever” or TPH16A “Preserve Me, O My God”

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