Galatians 5:14
The entire Law is fulfilled in a single decree: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Sermons
Caring for OthersGalatians 5:14
Love of Our NeighbourT. Robinson., J. Lyth. , D. D.Galatians 5:14
Neighbourly LoveSunday MagazineGalatians 5:14
Self-LoveBishop Butler.Galatians 5:14
The Fulfilling of the LawW. Tyson.Galatians 5:14
The Love of Our NeighbourBishop Butler.Galatians 5:14
We May Love Man Because of What He is as ManThomas Jones.Galatians 5:14
Liberty and not LicenceW.F. Adeney Galatians 5:13-15
The Liberty of LoveR.M. Edgar Galatians 5:13-15
Freedom Sustained by the SpiritR. Finlayson Galatians 5:13-26
Having shown the magnificence of the gospel system, Paul now proceeds to define that freedom which it secures. It is not licence, but love, which it induces; and love not only fulfils the Law, as legalism does not, but also prevents the bitter strife which legalism ensures. We have the following points suggested: -

I. THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN LICENCE AND LIBERTY. (Ver. 13.) The grace which has freed us from the legal spirit has not endowed us with a liberty to live licentiously. The liberty it gives is totally distinct from licence. Licence is liberty to please ourselves, to humour the flesh, to regard liberty as an end and not a means. But God in his gospel gives no such liberty. His liberty is a means and not an end; it is liberty to live as he pleases, liberty to love him and love men, liberty to serve one another by love. We must guard ourselves, then, from the confusion of mistaking licence for liberty.

II. LOVE IS THE REAL LIBERTY. (Ver. 13.) As a matter of experience we never feel free until we have learned to love. When our hearts are going out to God in Christ, when we have at his cross learned the lesson of philanthropy, when we have felt our obligation to God above and to man below, then we are free as air and rejoice in freedom. Then we refuse licence as only freedom's counterfeit, for we have learned a more excellent way. We cannot imagine a loveless spirit to be free. He may achieve an outlawry, but he is not, cannot be, free.

III. LOVE IS THE REAL FULFILMENT OF THE LAW. (Ver. 14.) The legalists in their little system of self-righteousness spent their strength upon the mint, the anise, and the cummin; while the weightier matters of the Law - righteousness, judgment, and faith - were neglected. Ceremonies and not morality became their concern. The tithing of pot-herbs would entitle them to Paradise. In contrast to all this, Paul shows that Christian love, which is another name for liberty, fulfils the demands of Law. The meaning of the commandments published from Sinai was love. Their essence is love to God and love to our neighbour, as well as to our "better self." Hence the gospel throws no slight on Law, but really secures its observance, The whole system turns on love as the duty and the privilege of existence. While the Law is, therefore, rejected as a way of life, it is accepted as a rule. Saved through the merits and grace of Christ, we betake ourselves to Law-keeping con amore. We recognize in God the supreme object of grateful love; we recognize in our neighbour the object of our love for God's sake and for his own sake; and we honour the Law of God as "holy and just and good." The whole difference between the legal spirit and the gospel spirit is that in the one case Law is kept in hope of establishing a claim; in the other it is kept in token of our gratitude. The motive in the one case, being selfish, destroys the high standard of Law. It fancies it can be kept with considerable completeness, whereas it is kept by the best with constant and manifold shortcoming. The motive in the other case, being disinterested, secures such attachment to the Law, because it has been translated into love, that it is kept with increasing ardour and success. Slaves will never honour Law so much as freemen.

IV. LOVE IS THE TRUE ANTIDOTE TO STRIFE AND DIVISION. (Ver. 15.) The ritualistic or legal spirit into which the Galatians had temporally fallen manifested itself in strife and bickerings. This is, in fact, its natural outcome. For if men arc straining every nerve to save themselves by punctilious observance of ceremonies, they will come of necessity into collision. It is an emulation of a selfish character. It cannot be conducted with mutual consideration. As a matter of fact, organizations pervaded by the legal spirit are but the battle-ground of conflicting parties. But love comes to set all right again. Its genial breath makes summer in society and takes wintry isolation and self-seeking all away. Mutual consideration secures harmony and social progress. Instead of religious people becoming then the butt of the world's scorn by reason of their strife and divisions, they become the world's wonder by reason of their unity and peace. It is, love, therefore, we are bound to cultivate. Then shall concord and all its myriad blessings come into the Church of God and the world be subdued before it. - R.M.E.







For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
I. LOVE IS OF PERPETUAL OBLIGATION.

II. A TRUE RESPONSE TO THE OBLIGATION OF NEIGHBOURLY LOVE WILL ENSURE THE FAITHFUL DISCHARGE OF EVERY OTHER OBLIGATION.

III. THEREFORE LOVE IS THE FULFILLIING OF THE LAW. For —

1. The law is the interpretation of love, and the definition and prescription of that which the infinite intelligence knows that love demands. But —

2. There is also the underlying assumption that in the absence of love the law cannot be truly fulfilled. Therefore —

3. When the principle of love, recognizing the authority of the teaching and guiding law, has restrained from every act of injury to its neighbour, and prompted to all sorts of kindly service for that neighbour's good, then has the law been truly fulfilled.

(W. Tyson.)

I. LOVE IS —

(1)Desire for,

(2)delight in,

(3)endeavour after another's good.

II. IT EXISTS AS BEING —

1. Cherished in the heart.

2. Exhibited in the life.

III. The term NEIGHBOUR is applicable and includes all men. All are God's offspring.

IV. THE DEGREE OF love here necessary.

1. As truly as thyself.

2. With the same love in kind and degree.

(T. Robinson.)

I. THE DUTY — Love.

1. The word.

2. The deed.

3. The truth.

II. ITS OBJECT — Our neighbour.

1. Friend or foe.

2. At home or abroad.

III. Its MEASURE — As thyself; therefore —

1. Sincerely.

2. Constantly.

3. Devotedly.

IV. Its EXCELLENCE.

1. It fulfils the whole law.

2. Promotes universal happiness and peace.

(J. Lyth. , D. D.)

Contracted affections, like self-love, may oppose their own end — private good. The supposed contrariety between benevolence and self-love may be only apparent.

I. SELF-LOVE AS DISTINGUISHED FROM OTHER PASSIONS.

1. Self-love has an internal, other affections an external, object.

2. Such affections are distinct; from self-love, though part of ourselves.

3. All language recognizes this distinction. Self-love produces interested actions; particular affections, actions which are friendly.

4. Happiness does not consist in self-love, but in the wise gratification of all our affections.

5. Self-love often fails to produce happiness; it often produces anxiety, ands when in excess, misery. Thus self-love is distinct from particular affections, and so far from being our only rule, it often disappoints itself, especially when made one solitary principle.

II. SELF-LOVE AS DISTINGUISHED FROM BENEVOLENCE. These are distinguished but not necessarily opposed.

1. From the nature of the affections themselves; self-love does not exclude particular affections, nor does benevolence.

2. From the course of action suggested by them.(1) Affections tend both to private and public good.(2) Their tendency to one object does not disturb their connection with another.(3) Benevolence produces as much enjoyment as ambition.

3. From the temper of mind produced by them.(1) Benevolence gives a pleasure over and above other pleasures, with which it does not interfere.(2) Has an assurance of special favour from God.(3) Hence self-love and benevolence are so far from being opposed, that the second may be the easiest way of gratifying the first.(4) It is true that particular affections may be gratified, so as to interfere with self-love, but benevolence interferes with it less than any other.(5) The origin of the mistake that they interfere is in the confusion of property and happiness.

4. From Scripture, which inculcates benevolence, and yet recognizes self-love and appeals to it.

(Bishop Butler.)

I. THE OBJECT OF THIS AFFECTION. Love of our neighbour or benevolence seeks the good of others, and in its noblest form it is the perfection of God.

II. THE PROPER EXTENT OF THIS AFFECTION. As ourselves: which implies —

1. That this love is to be of the same kind.(1) We have a common interest in others and in ourselves.(2) This is the proper temper of virtue; love.

2. That our love for others is to bear a certain proportion to our love for ourselves.(1) A proportion in affections implied in all virtuous characters.(2) So a due proportion of benevolence and self-love is implied here.(3) What the proportion is to be not easily decided, for affection is not easily measured; but as to actions, the expression of affection, the more others occupy our thoughts (provided we neglect not ourselves) the better. Even if this imply —

3. That our love for others is equal to our love for ourselves, no ill consequences can ensue, for(1) men have other affections for themselves not felt for others.(2) They are specially interested in themselves.(3) They have a particular perception of their own interests, so that there is no fear of self-neglect.

III. THE INFLUENCE OF THIS AFFECTION ON OUR GENERAL TEMPER. Its effect is —

1. To produce all charitableness.

2. To fit men for every relation and duty.

3. To moderate party feeling.

4. To prevent; or heal all strife.

IV. THIS AFFECTION INCLUDES ALL VIRTUE.

1. Love prompts men to seek the greatest happiness of all, which is itself a discharge of all obligations.

2. Love even prompts to the practice of personal virtues (temperance, etc.); and certainly the neglect of these virtues implies a deficiency of love to others.

3. Apart from particular natures and circumstances, love includes all goodness; and —

4. Piety itself is the love of God, as an infinitely good Being.

(Bishop Butler.)

God has stamped beauty on his material body, and given an higher grandeur to his mysterious mind. But there is a deeper and diviner reason for love. It is this: To love a man because he is a brother in Christ; because he is to some extent like Christ, and reflects His image upon those who come in contact with him. Here the grounds of love are moral, spiritual, and internal.

(Thomas Jones.).

Sunday Magazine.
Thomas Samson was a working miner, and working hard for his bread. The captain of the mine said to him on one occasion, "Thomas, I've got an easier berth for you, where there is comparatively little to do, and where you can earn more money: will you accept it?" What do you think he said? Captain, there's our poor brother Tregony. He has a sick body, and he is not able to work as hard as I am. I fear his toil will shorten his useful life. Will you let him have the berth?" The captain, pleased with his generosity, sent for Tregony, and gave him the berth, which he is now enjoying. Thomas was gratified, and added, "I can work a little longer yet."

(Sunday Magazine.)

The intensity of maternal affection was illustrated in the observation of a little boy, who, after reading Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," asked his mother which of the characters she liked best. She replied, "Christian, of course: he is the hero of the story." The dear child responded, "Mother, I like Christiana best, because when Christian set out on his pilgrimage, he went alone; but, when Christiana started, she took the children with her." Great love: — Edward I. of England having received a wound from a poisoned dagger, his wife Eleanor sucked out the poison, venturing her own life to save her husband's.

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