“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
The remaining verses of Galatians chapter five will focus our attention upon the practical aspects of a life associated with salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. To mark this emphasis, Paul the Apostle will reintroduce the concept of liberty (or freedom) that he established at the beginning of this chapter.
As mentioned earlier, “freedom” refers to the ability to decide between alternatives and the liberty to act upon those decisions. The New Testament letter of 1 Peter also addresses the concept of freedom when used in this context as well. That portion of Scripture stresses the importance of personal responsibility in the exercise of our spiritual freedom by saying, “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil…” (1 Peter 2:16 NIV).
Perhaps the best-known Biblical statement on the subject of true freedom can be found in Jesus’ message from the Gospel of John…
“…’If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free… Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed'” (John 8:31-32, 34-36).
Finally, one commentary offers several valuable insights on the subject of spiritual freedom that are well worth our consideration…
“The gospel of grace has always been accused of permitting men to live as they like. People say: ‘If salvation is by faith alone, then there is no control over a person’s conduct afterwards.’ But the apostle is quick to point out that Christian liberty does not mean license to sin. The believer’s standard is the life of the Lord Jesus, and love for Christ impels him to hate sin and love holiness.
Perhaps it was especially necessary for Paul to warn his readers against license here. When men have been under the restraints of law for some time and are then granted their freedom, there is always the danger of going from the extreme of bondage to that of carelessness. The proper balance is that liberty which lies between law and license. The Christian is free from the law, but not lawless.” (1)
(1) Believer’s Bible Commentary William MacDonald Edited by Arthur Farstad Thomas Nelson Publishers Nashville pg. 1922