September 11, 2021 – Galatians 5,6
Paul writes about the freedom we have in Christ. Particularly, he is focused on the fact that we are free from the law, not free from living righteously, but free from having to keep the law in order to be justified before God. And so, we now live, not by a Pharisaical enslavement to traditions, but by “faith working through love” (5:5).
Paul adds: “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’” (5:13,14). We might have the right, the freedom, to do something, but if it does not build up others, and especially, if such action harms others, we must not act according to our rights. Paul is so very concerned that, within the congregation, God’s people demonstrate patience and love and goodwill toward one another, and he demonstrates his pastoral heart, once again, when he addresses the situation of someone in the church caught in transgression: “you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness” (6:1). Not only that, but Paul instructs: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2). Again, “let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (6:10. Life among the people of God is a good life.
Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above.
Before our Father's throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares.
We share our mutual woes,
our mutual burdens bear,
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear. -- John Fawcett (1782)