Day 49: Abuse of Freedom

Galatians 5:13 :

For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don’t use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another.

One of the things many religious people fear about the Gospel of grace is that people will sin because there aren’t any rules to stop them. Besides the fact that rules never stopped anyone from sinning before, and that rules have never saved anyone, it’s also not likely that people under grace will be more likely to sin.

We were called to be free. That means that we get to choose what we want to do. We can choose to live for our flesh. I know from experience that this is a miserable existence for a Christian and we are told in the Bible that in the end, we will be ashamed before God when we see Jesus face-to-face if we do live for selfishness here on earth.

Paul makes it clear that using freedom for selfish purposes is not what Christianity is suggesting. In fact, it is very clear that we are to use our freedom to make ourselves servants! Paul says in other places that you end up being a servant one way or another. If you choose to live for your body, then your body becomes your master. If you choose to obey Jesus and live for your brothers and sisters, you become a servant of Jesus. Most of us know from experience that the body does not make a good master. It tends toward self-destruction and harm toward others because of selfishness.

One important thing to recognize here is that we know that Paul isn’t suggesting something strange. When He tells us as believers to become servants to each other, we realize that it is something that we actually want to do. Paul knows that true Christians will really desire this. All He has to encourage and remind us to do it. That is freedom. Freedom is when we are able to do the good that we really want to do, even if it goes against our selfish desires. Paul has more to say about how it is possible for us overcome our selfish desires and accomplish our loving ones, later in the letter.