Galatians 5:13
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

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

Darby Bible Translation
For ye have been called to liberty, brethren; only do not turn liberty into an opportunity to the flesh, but by love serve one 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.

Young's Literal Translation
For ye -- to freedom ye were called, brethren, only not the freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through the love serve ye one another,

Galatians 5:13 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

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.

Galatians 5:13 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Works of the Flesh and Fruits of the Spirit.
Text: Galatians 5, 16-24. 16 But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths,
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

What Makes a Christian: Circumcision or Faith?
'In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.'--GAL. v. 6. It is a very singular instance of imaginative misreading of plain facts that the primitive Church should be held up as a pattern Church. The early communities had apostolic teaching; but beyond that, they seem to have been in no respect above, and in many respects below, the level of subsequent ages. If we may judge of their morality by the exhortations and dehortations which
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Conflicts with Giant Mistake
CONFLICTS WITH GIANT MISTAKE I make so many mistakes, it seems I am just a bundle of contradictions. I try to do good; but at times my efforts are so crude that I seem to do more harm than good. What shall I do? And though all the time I try hard not to make mistakes, yet I still make them. It seems to me that surely I am not sanctified, or else I should be more perfect. Do not the Scriptures command us to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect? I am not perfect; far from it. Really I
Robert Lee Berry—Adventures in the Land of Canaan

I have Said This, Lest Haply Married Fruitfulness Dare to vie with virgin Chastity...
7. I have said this, lest haply married fruitfulness dare to vie with virgin chastity, and to set forth Mary herself, and to say unto the virgins of God, She had in her flesh two things worthy of honor, virginity and fruitfulness; inasmuch as she both continued a virgin, and bore: this happiness, since we could not both have the whole, we have divided, that ye be virgins, we be mothers: for what is wanting to you in children, let your virginity, that hath been preserved, be a consolation: for us,
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Cross References
John 8:32
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

1 Corinthians 8:9
But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

1 Corinthians 9:19
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.

2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Galatians 2:4
But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.

Galatians 5:1
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 5:21
and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

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