“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” (Galatians 5.13-14)
Galatians 5 begins with explaining that “Christ has set us free” from slavery to sin. Later, Paul will explain that we should not be engaging in sin but producing fruits of the spirit. The hinge connecting these ideas is serving one another, as stated in verses thirteen and fourteen. The focus of freedom from sin is others.
Christianity is not only keeping ones self unspotted from sin. Jesus does not say that His disciples will be known for not sinning. He said we should be known for our love toward one another (John 13.35). Today, many consider that their Christian duty is to show up for Sunday morning services. I challenge you to find this stated as a command. We are commanded to serve one another, love one another, bear each other’s burdens, etc. Numerous are the scriptures that tell us how we MUST support, encourage, build up, edify, admonish… Yet, for some reason these activities are often ignored as long as we get in the building before the announcements are over.
Don’t get me wrong, our worship is an excellent place to engage with one another; our singing is supposed to be a chief way for us to “teach and admonish one another” (Colossians 3.16). But when do we serve each other? Christ has set us free “to serve”. There are some ways in which we serve each other in our worship but these MUST be ancillary. Why? Because we assemble to worship GOD, and Him alone. So our service to each other must not be the focus of the service. Therefore, our fulfilling of the law (of Christ) must be done outside of our worship.
The warning is against using our freedom to satisfy our flesh. If we are not spending time in service to our brethren throughout the week that is exactly what we are doing. We could be considering ourselves saved, because we obeyed the gospel call and go to church, yet perfect attendance is not why your Savior left heaven. Serve your brethren, fulfill your calling.