Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 5:13
“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” – Galatians 5:13
The salvation that Christ brought to us is a salvation of freedom. Freedom from the law and the requirements to do certain works in order to guarantee our salvation. His is a complete freedom from all the burdensome rituals and ceremonies of the Mosaic law. His is a salvation of grace.
Now, one verse above this we see that there were people, probably teachers, who were positing thoughts into their minds regarding the law. The main idea he brings up is circumcision. It appears they were trying to get new converts to submit to being circumcised. “Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Galatians 5:2-4. In those days, if a Jewish man, or one who is converting to Judaism via becoming a proselyte, was not circumcised, then in essence they were not accepting the covenant with God. This was no doubt the part of the law that was pushed upon the new Galatian, believers by these false teachers. Paul then, in verse twelve, in a sarcastic manner, tells the church he wishes these teachers would cut themselves off from the Church. “I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.” Galatians 5:12.
Back to our focus verse, after he informs the church that for freedom Christ set them free, he then warns them that this is not a freedom to sin. Back when I lived in Central North Carolina, I met a young man in a church who was married with one young child. During a discussion with him, he admitted to having an affair with another woman. When I questioned him about this, he told me that because he was saved, he was free to do anything he wanted. It was OK to sin because Jesus already forgave him. This idea is known as Antinomianism. It means ‘against the law’, which is the belief that since we are under grace, the moral law is of no use. The verse often used is “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. They obviously do not know what this mean. However, they ignore a clear verse in Paul’s writing to the Romans where he says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2. And we are to keep the commands of God. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.
In verse one we read, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1. He set us free from the yoke of slavery to the law and saved us through grace. However, we are not at liberty to satisfy the desires of our flesh. It is by grace we are saved. However, Paul tells us that instead of being a slave to sin, we should, in love, be a servant to one another. We should help each other in many ways, including their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. This is not to aid in our salvation, but a way to share and express our love for each other. This is what we should be about. Salvation is by grace, but our calling is, in love, reaching out to the lost and helping and teaching our brothers and sisters in Christ.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.