September 3

 

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.   Galatians 5:13

 

Because these are two different types of people, two different offenses occur.  On one side, the weak are offended; on the other side, the strong are offended.  Paul is trying to keep them both in the middle and avoid both offenses.

The weak are offended when something is done that they don’t understand and can’t distinguish from evil.  Romans 14 deals with this situation at length.  For example, when the weak saw that others were eating foods forbidden by the law as unclean, they did not dare eat these foods because they were inhibited by their consciences.  Yet they could not disapprove of what the others did.  Here Paul became a Jew with the Jews, a weak person with the weak to serve them through love so that they would become strong in Christ.

On the other hand, the strong are offended when they become annoyed by the weak and grow impatient with their slowness and clumsiness.  Without consideration for others, they overuse their freedom in Christ, resulting in weak people becoming offended. It would be better for them to keep all the laws before offending one person.  This is what it means to live by the Spirit.  What good does it do to use the Spirit of freedom against the Spirit of love?

But you may insist, “We are free to do this.”  Certainly.  But you must put the weakness of your brother or sister ahead of your own freedom.  It doesn’t hurt you if you don’t exercise your freedom.  Yet it hurts them if they are offended by your freedom.  Don’t forget that the task of love is thinking of what’s best for others.  Rather than finding out how much freedom you can exercise, find out how much service you can give to your brother of sister.

 

 

Martin Luther: Bondage of the Will

 

The Bondage of the Will, Luther’s exposition on the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, laid the groundwork for Reformation thought. It shows us a humbling view of ourselves while strengthening our faith in Christ.

 

The Ambassador Classics series brings the greatest classic works of Christian history into a single set. It includes unabridged works by Martin Luther, John Bunyan, John Calvin, A. T. Pierson, John Owens, C. H. Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, J. C. Ryle, R. A. Torrey and many others. This series will continue to enrich and deepen your faith in Christ.

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