Why Can’t I Do What I Want?

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. ” Galatians 5.13-14

What is Paul talking about here when he says, “ye have been called unto liberty … ”? This is a reference to the truth that they now have liberty under grace (not under law) to live for God. It is possible for some people to mistake liberty for license. If they have the liberty to do something, then that gives them a license to do whatever they want. Paul calls that kind of thinking into check in this verse: “only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh … ” Our flesh has a tendency to want to get even with others who hurt us. So we rationalize our behavior by thinking, “Hey, I am going to heaven no matter what. So I can say and do what I want. Right?” Wrong! “, but by love serve one another.” That throws a monkey wrench into things.

Now Paul expands our thinking on this matter: “14For all the law is fulfilled in one word … ” OK, what is that word Paul? Ready? “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” That is what liberty under grace allows us to do. They may not deserve love, but then neither did we. They may not deserve grace, but then neither did we. You don’t get up in the morning, go into the bathroom, and start yelling at the face in the mirror. And why not? You are looking at yourself. Can you then treat your neighbor with that same kindness? Two times in these two verses Paul uses this word love. (1) “by love serve one another” and (2) “love thy neighbor as thyself.” This is not a warm fuzzy something that isn’t real. It is the unconditional love Christ has shown to us. I’d say we have a pretty big job ahead of us. Just my thoughts …

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