My dear family, you were called to freedom; however, do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Here we start getting into the area that has caused so much confusion in the church for the past decades, centuries, and millennia. If we are free from the law, why do we bother to obey its precepts at all? Paul acknowledges that we are free, but we must be careful to keep the flesh under control. Freedom from the law gives the flesh license, right?
The entire law is fulfilled in one line, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.
Paul starts the argument by making a simple statement. Knowing that Jesus said he came to fulfill the law, not abolish it, Paul summarizes it here.
The term used here for love is agape. This is a particular kind of love used in the New Testament. Vine is convinced that this noun and the accompanying verb agapeo are used uniquely in the New Testament. Here is the consensus used by the church.
- It is God love—love by decision.
- It is a love given by grace because of the basic character of God.
- We do not deserve, nor can we earn it. It just is.
- It is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Humans are not capable of it otherwise.
This is what the Lord means to produce in us—the ability to love others as He loves us. The more you walk with the Lord and the better you know Him, the more certain you are of the importance of agape.