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. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
When you were growing up, what chores did you have to do? Most of us grew up with responsibilities and rules we had to follow, and if we didn’t, there were negative consequences. But when you leave home you have the freedom to choose for yourself whether or not you’ll make your bed, wash the dishes, or take out the trash.
In the Old Testament, there was a pretty long to-do list for people who followed God. But after Jesus’ death and resurrection, there was a new kind of freedom that changed the way we relate to God.
Christianity isn’t about following a list of rules and doing enough good things to make God happy. Jesus’ death and resurrection has given us new freedom. But Paul knew we might twist that freedom, so he cautioned us not to take advantage of it. Rather, we should consider it a compelling reason to love and serve others.
When we seek only to be served by others, we live just like everyone else in the world and effectively abuse the freedom Christ died to give us. In Christ, we know who we are. Our identity is found in Jesus. We already possess the greatest gain we could ever receive—eternal life. As a result, we have nothing to prove, and that gives us the freedom to serve others like Jesus did and like He tells us to.
- Paul wrote that Christians are called to be free. What are some ways Christians might misunderstand or misuse that freedom?
- What relationship or situation have you approached more like verse 15 than verse 14? Why?
- Thank God for giving you the perfect model of sacrificial service in your Savior Jesus Christ. Ask Him to help you be a person who serves others out of reverence to Christ.