“You, my brothers, were called to be free.
But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature,
rather serve one another in love.”

Galatians 5:13, NIV

In a recent conversation with my oldest son, Jake, I informed him of the details of an opportunity I intend to make available to him. When the time comes, Jake may choose any university he wishes and I will pay for him to attend. I have high hopes that he will choose wisely and study hard, so that he might gain the greatest possible blessing from such a gift. Even if he does not, however, my offer stands. The gift is both unconditional and irrevocable.

Similarly, God has given to all whose faith is in Jesus the gift of eternal salvation. Our Father’s gift is also unconditional and irrevocable. The shocking implication of such a gift is that we who have received it have the freedom to abuse it at our own discretion. We may, if we so desire, flaunt our Father’s generosity and grace in profligate, self-gratifying immorality. Such is the expansive freedom made available to the sons and daughters of God. His grace, once applied, can never be withdrawn.

Thus, Paul offers the simple but elegant admonition of Galatians 5:13: “Do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” As a believer in Jesus you are the child and the heir of God. You are no man’s slave. But you are every man’s servant.

Is there a part of you that serves because you feel you must in order to deserve God’s grace? If so, then you misunderstand grace. Grace is not deserved but received. Worse yet, are you arrogant and selfish with your privilege of eternal salvation? You also misunderstand. God’s grace, properly understood, inspires gratitude and service and generosity.

QUESTION: Which of the following three portraits describes you? Are you a slave? Are you a spoiled child? Or are you a son or daughter seeking the glory of your Father’s name?