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Galatians 5:13

    Galatians 5:13 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For, brothers, you have been called to liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Because you, brothers, were marked out to be free; only do not make use of your free condition to give the flesh its chance, but through love be servants one to another.

    Webster's Revision

    For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another.

    World English Bible

    For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don't use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another.

    Clarke's Commentary on Galatians 5:13

    Ye have been called unto liberty - A total freedom from all the burthensome rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic law. Only use not that liberty for an occasion to the flesh. By flesh, here, we may understand all the unrenewed desires and propensities of the mind; whatsoever is not under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit of God. Your liberty is from that which would oppress the spirit; not from that which would lay restraints on the flesh. The Gospel proclaims liberty from the ceremonial law: but binds you still faster under the moral law. To be freed from the ceremonial law is the Gospel liberty; to pretend freedom from the moral law is Antinomianism.

    By love serve one another - Having that faith which worketh by love, serve each other to the uttermost of your power: δουλευετε, serve each other, when necessary, as slaves serve their masters. Several excellent MSS. and versions, instead of δια της αγαπης, by love, have τῃ αγαπῃ του Πνευματος, in the love of the Spirit serve one another.

    Barnes' Notes on Galatians 5:13

    For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty - Freedom from Jewish rites and ceremonies; see the notes at Galatians 3:28; Galatians 4:9, note, Galatians 4:21-31, note. The meaning here is, that Paul wished the false teachers removed because true Christians had been called unto liberty, and they were abridging and destroying that liberty. They were not in subjection to the Law of Moses, or to anything else that savored of bondage. They were free; free from the servitude of sin, and free from subjection to expensive and burdensome rites and customs. They were to remember this as a great and settled principle; and so vital a truth was this, and so important that it should be maintained, and so great the evil of forgetting it, that Paul says he earnestly wishes Galatians 5:12 that all who would reduce them to that state of servitude were cut off from the Christian church.

    Only use not liberty ... - The word use here introduced by our translators, obscures the sense. The idea is, "You are called to liberty, but it is not liberty for an occasion to the flesh. It is not freedom from virtuous restraints, and from the laws of God. It is liberty from the servitude of sin, and religious rites and ceremonies, not freedom from the necessary restraints of virtue." It was necessary to give this caution, because:

    (1) There was a strong tendency in all converts from paganism to relapse again into their former habits. Licentiousness abounded, and where they had been addicted to it before their conversion, and where they were surrounded by it on every hand, they were in constant danger of falling into it again. A bare and naked declaration, therefore, that they had been called to liberty, to freedom from restraint, might have been misunderstood, and some might have supposed that they were free from all restraints.

    (2) it is needful to guard the doctrine from abuse at all times. There has been a strong tendency, as the history of the church has shown, to abuse the doctrine of grace. The doctrine that Christians are "free;" that there is liberty to them from restraint, has been perverted always by Antinomians, and been made the occasion of their indulging freely in sin. And the result has shown that nothing was more important than to guard the doctrine of Christian liberty, and to show exactly what Christians are freed from, and what laws are still binding on them. Paul is, therefore, at great pains to show that the doctrines which he had maintained did not lead to licentiousness, and did not allow the indulgence of sinful and corrupt passions.

    An occasion - As allowing indulgence to the flesh, or as a furtherance or help to corrupt passions; see the word explained in the notes at Romans 7:8.

    To the flesh - The word flesh is often used in the writings of Paul to denote corrupt and gross passions and affections; see the notes at Romans 7:18; Romans 8:1, note.

    But by love serve one another - By the proper manifestation of love one to another strive to promote each other's welfare. To do this will not be inconsistent with the freedom of the gospel. When there is love there is no servitude. Duty is pleasant, and offices of kindness agreeable. Paul does not consider them as freed from all law and all restraint; but they are to be governed by the law of love. They were not to feel that they were so free that they might lawfully give indulgence to the desires of the flesh, but they were to regard themselves as under the law to love one another; and thus they would fulfil the law of Christian freedom.

    Wesley's Notes on Galatians 5:13

    5:13 Ye have been called to liberty - From sin and misery, as well as from the ceremonial law. Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh - Take not occasion from hence to gratify corrupt nature. But by love serve one another - And hereby show that Christ has made you free.