The Slavery of Loving One Another

Posted on Jul 12, 2015

“But through love serve one another.”—Galatians 5:13c

This is a very interesting statement.  In the context the Apostle is admonishing the believers not to be enslaved again to the various rites and rituals of the law.  He affirms that Christ has fulfilled the Law, that in Christ they have been set free from the Law, and that they are called to freedom.

Immediately, however, he clarifies that this call to freedom is not an invitation to license.  They are not to use their freedom as an opportunity to indulge the sinful passions of the flesh.  Rather, he says, “Through love serve one another.”  Essentially he is instructing them to exchange one form of slavery for another; slavery to the Law for slavery to love of one another—which is the fulfillment of the Law.

Love is its own form of slavery.  The word translated serve in the text is the word for “to serve as a slave” (douleuo).  The noun form of the word designates a slave; one belonging to another, one whose sole duty it is to know the pleasure of his master and to do it.  The admonition here is to love one another by giving ourselves over to know and do that which pleases our brothers and sisters in Christ, that which brings them true and proper pleasure.  Not pleasures shaped by the flesh, but pleasures shape by the Spirit; pleasures that truly and rightly please the heart, mind and lives of our brother or sister in Christ.

Understood this way, loving one another is a deliberate act of the will.  It is not a whim or a fancy.  It is not a warm fuzzy.  It is a deliberate action arising from a conscious decision. Now it most certainly involves our affections.  True love is never dispassionate.  But neither is it ever merely passion.  It is a willful action to do to others that which is truly and rightly pleasing; that which brings true pleasure, Christ-honoring pleasure to the recipient.

We give ourselves to doing this.  We give ourselves to one another as servants, as slaves.  We enslave ourselves to loving one another, and in so doing we follow Christ; we fulfill the law of Christ. This we do by the power of the Spirit because love is the fruit of the Spirit’s working and empowering.

May God empower us by His Spirit that we may engage in the slavery of loving one another.

Pastor Guy



“Conformity to Christ for the everlasting good of all people to the glory of God”