Paul’s letter to the church(es) in Galatia is a literary masterpiece. Along with his letter to the Romans it stands as a manifesto of his great theological assertion: human beings are justified by faith.

          Without reading Paul’s other writings one might come to the conclusion that, in Paul’s theology, faith is the most important thing; however, once all of Paul’s writings are considered it becomes evident that there is something even more important than faith–LOVE. 

          Even within the letter to the Galatians itself there is evidence of Paul’s elevation of love over faith. In a match with law keeping, faith wins; But, in a match with love pursuing, faith comes in second.

          Faith is the source of human justification and faith is the standard by which justified human beings live out their new lives in Christ. Paul makes his doctrinal point quite well. However, Paul also says, “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” He also says, “But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:2b, 13). The greatest of these is not faith, but love!

          Faith is the channel through which we reach God; God is the object for which our faith yearns. God is the goal while faith is the means. The goal is always greater than the means.

          “But what is God?” someone may ask. The Christian answer is that God is love—pure, perfect, holy, self-sacrificing love. (1 John 4:8, 16). 

          That is why Paul, in his exhortations, urges the churches of Galatia to not only reject legalism (4:12 – 5:12) but to also embrace “the only thing that counts . . . faith expressing itself through love.” Furthermore, Paul exhorts the Christians to not only reject libertine tendencies (5:13 – 6:10) but to also “serve one another in love.”

          Sure doctrine matters. We’re set free by our faith in Christ. That is an in-alterable doctrinal truth. However, in our religious zeal we must neither return to the bondage of legalism nor interpret our freedom as a license to continue to live out our self-centered, rebellious, sinful lives.

          Certainly we’ve been freed. Freed to serve God, to love God, and to love others. We’ve been freed, beloved, so that we can become like God.