Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
Paul was directed by God to begin this chapter challenging the saints to stand fast in the liberty they had in Christ.
We have seen freedom convoys and biker convoys and marches through the cities of this country with people calling out for freedom. Those involved in these marches, etc. do not understand where freedom begins and what it entails. There is a much greater need in this country than being free to move around without masks and other mandates. In fact, unless we deal with the real need of man, we will never gain our freedoms back.
The liberty that God offers man is the liberty to serve Him. Adam did not appreciate that liberty while he had it. Noah did not understand that liberty after the flood. He made alcoholic wine and sinned in making it and then becoming drunk and being a stumblingblock to his children.
In verse 13 Paul was directed to continue to address the brethren. The brethren are called unto liberty. The brethren are those who responded to the call of God and were saved. Biblical salvation changes the lost sinner into a new creature.
God’s liberty is not a ticket to sin. The liberty that God provides is that ability to serve Him in truth and without hypocrisy. It is the opportunity to obey God without the restrictions of sin. Sin is not liberating. The devil lies and tells man that liberty is doing what the flesh wants to do. He did that in the Garden and has been doing that ever since.. Paul stated that this liberty is rooted in God’s love and thus causes the saint to love the brethren.
II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
This was a verse that created confusion for me for many years after I was saved. I can read English. There is nothing complicated about this verse. Reading it as it is written, does not contradict any other verses in the Bible. This verse states that a person that is saved is a new creature. It states that old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. That is what God says. God sets the saved person free from the bondage of sin. Law keeping is sin as is any other teaching that is contrary to God’s Word.
The Christian trusts in God because that is the way of salvation. The Holy Spirit dwelling in the saved person cannot agree with law keeping. Christians do not try to perform. Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and they have been given the assurance of salvation by the Holy Spirit and by the Word of God. They know they have been changed and they know that God is the One Who changes them.
Paul stated that the liberty we have been given is not an occasion to the flesh. We have been saved to serve God, but that service is not a competition. We see here that the love of God motivates the true child of God to serve one another. True Christians do not keep track of who did what the last time. True Christians come together to glorify God and they work together for His glory. They have been set at liberty to do that. They do not grumble and complain about the liberty they have been given. Carnal Christians have a problem with functioning under the love of God.
Paul was directed to address that sin in I Corinthians. A Christian can be carnal, but carnality is not acceptable to God. Carnality is bondage to the child of God. God’s salvation liberates the person to be able to serve God with no strings attached and with joy in their heart.
In verse 14 we see that the law of the Christian is fulfilled in one word. That one word is the same thing that God required from the Jews in the Old Testament as well. Most of them never accepted that. The nation complained about Moses as their leader. They complained about Aaron as the high priest. They complained about the manna. They complained about the lack of water at times. The majority of them never knew the love of God in their hearts.
Some of the Galatian saints were in danger of missing out on the love of God because they were tempted to add works to the gift of God.
God’s love motivates the true child of God to love his neighbour as himself. God’s love does not promote a hierarchy among God’s people. There are different offices in a local church. There are different gifts distributed by God. No one gift makes the person better than some other saint. We seek to help one another to know the love of God better.
We see the problem further explained in verse 15. We see that there was a lack of God’s love in some of the people. Rather than working together for the glory of God, which is what true liberty is, they were biting and devouring one another.
That sounds like a bunch of wild animals. When God’s children behave like God’s children, they have a testimony to others. It is necessary for God’s children to live in the liberty they have been given in Christ.
The liberty of salvation certainly does not suggest that the saved person can do as they feel. Their wants are changed because they have been saved. They need to be taught what the wants of the true child of God are. The flesh is still there and it will try to interfere. However, the true child of God has been set at liberty from the bondage of sin and can say no to sin. He or she will need to be taught how to walk in the Spirit. As they submit to that godly teaching, they will appreciate the liberty they have in Christ, more.
The saved person cannot continue biting and devouring others. They need to be taught the truth and they need to walk in the Spirit. As we see here again, liberty is not an open ended concept. Liberty is defined by God and He is the one who guides the true child of God into His liberty.