How Freedom in Christ Works

Chester Droog

READ : Galatians 5:13-15

Paul has much to say to the overzealous convert who exclaimed, “I’m no longer under the law. I’m an outlaw.” Salvation by grace through faith makes for great freedom, but this freedom does not allow us to be outlaws. The gospel of God’s grace does not mean that I can do what I like. All restraints are not lifted. I am not free to follow my personal inclinations, passions, desires, and emotions wherever they lead me.

The question raised by the false teachers was, “In the absence of a code of law, how is one going to deal with human desires and drives (the flesh)?” The Galatian Christians knew they were hooked on sin. They were unsure of how they were to fight off the compelling indulgences of the flesh. Did they not need the law to overcome sin?

Paul’s answer was that love has replaced the law for Christians. He quotes Moses who taught that the law is summarized in the single command, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). Love for others enables Christians to fight off the desires of the flesh. Love is a far greater restraint of fleshly passions than the law could ever be. It was on the basis of this tremendous truth that Martin Luther wrote: “Love God, and do what you want.” Think about that!

PRAYER

Lord, teach me the power of love to overcome my sin. In Jesus’ name. Amen.