H – Highlight
Galatians 5:13-15 – 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
E – Explain
Paul has just called on the Galatians to turn away from those who are trying to make them subjects under the law once more. There are those who would demand circumcision and proclaim it as necessary for salvation. But Paul wants to be clear that, in Christ, there are no ceremonies or rituals that are required for our salvation. Neither are we honoring God if we return to ceremonies that only pointed to the coming of Jesus.
But then Paul turns the corner, reminding the people that they are now free. And Paul tells them that they must not use their supposed freedom as a license to be cruel to others in the church. The law, summed up, calls us to love.
A – Apply
If I am to honor the Lord, I must love those in the body of Christ, the church. I cannot bite and devour others. I must not allow myself in word or deed to harm others. Yes, I may have to confront unrighteousness. But even as I confront, I can do so in a way that shows that I still love those who are my brothers and sisters in the faith.
R – Response
First, there is an accountability response here. I must watch my words. I must not let myself think or speak of others in such a way as to do them harm. This must be true in my private heart as well as in my public speech. This is why I am so seldom willing to engage in social media controversies.
I may need to add this to my Scripture memory list.
Prayer: Lord, I pray that you will give me love for all in the body of Christ. Yes, help me protect the body from false teaching and sinful actions. Let me not compromise. But help me to always show the love that you command and which so honors you.