What Does Galatians 5:13 Mean?

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:13(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

We are not under the Law, but under grace. We were not born under the Law, which was given to pre-Cross Israel, but have been saved by grace, during this post-Cross, church dispensation. However, the church at Galatia did not understand the freedom they had in Christ, preferring to revert to the old legalistic way - which had been set aside by Christ's sacrifice on the Cross.

We are no longer under the curse of the Law, for Christ was made a curse for us, at Calvary. Rather, we are under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which.. by faith in Him, has set us free from the law of sin and of death.

The perfect Law pointed its accusing finger at our fallen, sin nature, which caused us to recognise our sin and our great need of salvation. The Law identified our sin, but was insufficient to save us. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as a man, and died to pay the enormous price for our sin - for God, in His grace, sent His own dear Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, as the only acceptable offering for our sin.

He became the full and final sacrifice for the sin of the whole world, and Christ's offering of Himself freed us from slavery to sin and translated us into His kingdom. But many believers in that Galatian church found it difficult to move from the pre-Cross legalism of the Mosaic Law, to the post-Cross freedom we have in Christ. They felt the need to DO something to make amends for their sin, instead of believing that JESUS paid the price for their sin in full.

Christ's death condemned sin in the flesh and paid the full price for all sin. We do not have to DO anything. We have to simply BELIEVE that Christ did it all for us. Christ died on our account, so that the requirement of God's holy Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but have been born of the Holy Spirit of God.

The incredible freedom we received in Christ, released us from the recurring need to offer daily sacrifices to God. It freed us from the annual obligations to have our sins covered for another year by the insufficient blood of bulls and goats. Having been saved through our faith in Christ,  ALL our sins, past, present, and future, are forgiven, and we are to put off our old former ways. We are to live by faith and we are to walk in spirit and truth.

But sadly, there are those that abuse the wonderful freedom we have in Christ during this dispensation of the grace of God. Some seek to turn the wonderful freedom we have in the Lord Jesus, into an opportunity to indulge in sin. Some allow the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life to dominate our mind - catapulting us into an ungodly, carnal lifestyle, that is detrimental to our spiritual growth, disastrous to our Christian witness, and dishonouring to the lovely Lord Jesus, Who bought us with His own blood.

Then as now, some Christians use the incredible freedom we have in Christ to indulge in worldly ways and carnal activities. They exploit our spiritual privileges and pervert the Word of God, by proclaiming that we are free to indulge in whatsoever ungodly acts and fleshly inclinations take our fancy. This is outrageous, and such misappropriation of God's Word is unacceptable, unscriptural, and should be challenged and changed.

Once we have been saved, and set free from slavery to sin, by faith, we become a new creation in Christ. And although our sin nature is still resident within our mortal flesh, we have received power from on high to mortify our egocentric self, and to keep our sin nature nailed to the Cross - and we can do this through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who lives in us and guides us towards the good and away from the evil.

We have spiritual armour to protect ourselves from the ravages of the flesh and we have been given God's sufficient grace to stand fast in this evil day, and resist the devil and all his worldly temptations. We are to live as Christ lived.. in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.. and we are to love and serve one another - in the same way that Christ loved us and gave Himself for us.

No wonder that Paul reminded the Christians in Galatia that carnality is equally as abhorrent in the life of a Christian, as legalism, which binds us to keeping the Law which we can never attain. No surprise that Paul reminded them so forcefully that, "you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for this important reminder that both legalism and a license to sin is unacceptable in the life of a child of God. Thank You for the freedom I have in Christ, and help me to live in holiness and righteousness to Your praise and glory, serving others through Christ's love, which only comes as I continue to abide in Him and He in me. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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