There are certain times when reading that it feels like a ton is being told to you right then and there. This is one of those cases where I felt like I was copying and pasting everything in chapter five.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” ~ Galatians 5:1 ESV
I trust that Paul is speaking about succumbing to slavery of the world, being within the bondage of what the world calls unto all of us. Once we were freed through Christ, we should keep our focus on Him and turn from the world of madness.
In a conversation with a loved one, someone who is very much on the far right of politics (I stand mostly middle-left), I asked them about freedom. Without speaking this particular passage, I heard them say that this was the model God wanted us to live: completely “free”. But as I read this passage, I can’t help but wonder if the idea of freedom is simply mistaken by us. We consider freedom as an ability to do whatever we want whenever we want when, as Christians, we know that ultimately we need to be focused on doing whatever God wants whenever God wants.
So… where is freedom within the world? What does that look like exactly?
“Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law… … For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love… … I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” ~ Galatians 5:2-3, 5-6, 12 ESV
“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. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” ~ Galatians 5:13-15 ESV
As I study this book, I come back to various section in intervals. I’d like to pick apart a phrase here; “the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”.
It states 17 times in the Bible to love your neighbor. It doesn’t say “tolerate” them or even to agree with them. So really, the question shouldn’t be what we are to do for our neighbors but rather what that means exactly. What does it mean to “love” someone?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” ~ Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” ~Galatians 5:25 NIV
The Bible Project did a great video on this book and stated the above verse. Going back and rereading it, I agreed that I needed to include this statement. The verse prior, 22-23, he mentioned what the Spirit provides, what sort of fruit that we can gain. In verse 25, he asks us not only to receive it but to cherish it. Like the seed of a fruit, it will grow in the soils of those who wish to garden it.
*Please see my intro to Galatians for my resources.