Embracing Personal Freedom: Galatians 5:13-15
“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. 14) For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15) But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” Galatians‬ ‭5:13-15‬ ‭
It is important to clarify that the call to freedom is spiritual and not national or political. Paul was writing to Christians and not the nation of Israel. He was referring to freedom from the power of sinful bondage in our lives.
Philippians 3:20-21 is a significant clarification of this point. It says; “20) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21) who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
Paul was not saying Jesus Christ and the Gospel aimed at liberating Israel from Roman oppression. Rather he was saying that the Gospel has the power to set people free from the reign of sin in their lives. This is a personal freedom.
This freedom should become the basis to serve one another in genuine agape love. Paul pointed out that “the whole Law is fulfilled in the statement,” you shall love one another.” This was the new command that Jesus gave His disciples. (See John 13:34-35)
In Romans 5:5 we discover that one of the roles of the indwelling Holy Spirit is to pour out agape love within the heart of every true believer. This love automatically keeps the Ten Commandments. It hits the target of holiness.
But Paul warns the flesh and sin are crafty. They lurk even in the shadows of Christian Community. Christians can exploit, bite devour and abuse one another. When the Spirit of God is grieved, carnal and fleshly driven Christians are capable of shameful and destructive things. I have seen marriages and families fall apart and churches reduced to battle grounds. I have worked with many spiritual leaders trapped in shameful slavery to immorality sincerely seeking freedom. I believe there is hope for victory and lasting freedom for every believer.
A fuller list of what the flesh is capable of is given in the next paragraph in this chapter of Galatians. (See Galatians 5:19-21) Christians are not exempt from sin. When freedom is not protected, the flesh has an opportunity to do great damage within the body of Christ. Sin can spread like leavenamong Gods people.
This chapter screams very loudly that the only avenue to freedom is for every Christian to walk by the Spirit, manifest the fruits of the Spirit in every relationship and crucify the flesh every time it rears up its ugly head. This starts on a personal level with every individual Christian coming to freedom “in Christ” and then must be lived out in Christian community.
The longer I am in ministry, the clearer it is to me that biblical discipleship involves getting in the trenches with believers and helping them come to freedom in the area’s of their shameful sins, bondages and junk. It focuses on guiding them through the journey to personal freedom and wholeness “in Christ.”
This was the way the early church raised up mighty men and women who become abundantly fruitful for the glory of God. (See 2 Peter 1:2-11) This will become a significant part of our ministry focus moving forward under GoServ Global. My hearts desire and passion is to raise up many mighty men and women for the glory of God.
Stay tuned as more details of this ministry calling will be disclosed in future weeks. God is pulling together years of ministry experience, biblical study and connection with other fruitful ministries to launch an effective strategy to genuinely help many Christians and churches come to freedom. I believe the calling to freedom is within the grasp of every believer. You must be willing to embrace your personal freedom!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global