Summary: Paul gives four purposes of God’s call to the freedom of loving Him: 1)To oppose the flesh, 2)To serve others, 3)To fulfill His moral law, & 4)To avoid harming others.
In the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver is experiencing a construction boom. But there is growing concern that all the money being thrown around in the chase for skilled labour has led to an increase in drug use among construction workers. So construction companies and the construction workers union have introduced the most far-reaching drug-testing policy of its kind in Canada. A documentary this week on CBC radio One’s The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti explored the balance of civil liberties and public safety. In the interview, a safety officer explained his frustration that he was limited to enforce standards only on what he saw as workplace performance. He noted how workers would put on their equipment in the morning with a joint in their mouths, do drugs on their coffee breaks, often go offsite for lunch to do drugs and even when they were caught going drugs on site, from marijuana to cocaine, they were often just sent home for the day. The fear of stricter enforcement, is that an already short technical labour supply will move to an environment of less enforcement. (http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/)
Ours is a day of addiction, not only to alcohol and drugs but also to sexual passions, violence, and many other forms of bondage in which a person eventually becomes powerless to escape. When people choose to persist in a sin, they develop less and less control over it until eventually they forfeit any choice entirely. Fallen humanity is a slave to their sinful nature, an addict who cannot successfully control their sinful thoughts and actions even when they may want to. And ironically, the more one asserts a self-centered freedom, the more one becomes enslaved to sin.
Paul has already spoken of the “liberty which we have in Christ Jesus” (2:4) and presented an analogy illustrating the believer’s spiritual descent from Abraham’s wife Sarah, a “free woman” (4:21–31). He now declares:
Galatians 5:13a For you were called to freedom, brothers. (Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another). (ESV)
Freedom is at the very heart of the gospel and of godly living. It is not a side benefit or an adjunct to the Christian life. God has called all believers to freedom.
To what are we called: we are called to liberty. The Christian is free. Free from the guilt of sin because the believer has experienced God’s forgiveness. The believer is free from the penalty of sin because Christ died for the believer on the cross. And the believer is, through the Spirit, free from the power of sin in daily life. The believer is also free from the Law with its demands and threats (Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Ga 5:13)
In Galatians 5:13b-15, Paul gives four purposes of God’s call to the freedom of loving Him: 1) To oppose the flesh, 2) To serve others, 3) To fulfill His moral law, and 4) To avoid harming others.
1) TO OPPOSE THE FLESH (GALATIANS 5:13B)