Love Fulfills The Law

Imagine a motorist driving down a city street and either deliberately or unconsciously driving through a red light. He is pulled over by a policeman who asks to see his driver’s license. Immediately the driver begins to defend himself. “Officer, I know I ran the red light, b … More

Law

A little leaven causes a whole lump of dough to rise. It only takes one person to infect all the others. It only takes one. Legalists reveal their hypocrisy, for they fail to keep the whole law. They look upon the Old Testament law the way a customer surveys the food in a cafeteria line: they choose what they want and leave the rest. The spirit of legalism does not suddenly overpower a church. Like leaven, it is introduced secretly, it grows, and before long poisons the whole assembly (v. 9). In this passage Paul presents six characteristics of the Judaizers that are general enough to fit all other teachers of ungodliness, ancient or modern:

  1. They distorted and hindered the truth (v. 7).
  2. They were ungodly (v. 8).
  3. They spread their heresy among both true believers and would be believers (v. 9).
  4. They lead the Lord’s people astray (10).
  5. They persecuted true teachers (v11).
  6. They should be cut off (v.12).

Paul distinguishes between freedom to sin and freedom to serve (v. 13). Freedom or liberty to sin is no freedom at all because it enslaves you to Satan, others or your own sinful nature. When we are  not motivated by love we become critical of others (vv. 14-15). Remind yourself of Jesus’ command to love others as you love yourself (Matt. 22:39). When you begin to feel critical of someone, make a list of that person’s positive qualities. If there are problems that need to be addressed, it is better to follow Matthew 18 and not to gossip.

Application

I need to remind myself of Jesus command to love others as I love myself (Matt. 22:39). When I begin to feel critical of someone I need to make a list of that person’s positive qualities.

Galatians 5:7-15 (English Standard Version)

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! 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. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

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