John 8:36 - So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (NIV)
The Lord declares freedom to captives for what purpose? Definitely to free from sin and it's just consequences. Why? Scripture offers a simple and profound explanation; empowering us to love God and others. Christ sacrificed Himself for sin to free for loving relationships and love as He. Appearing very straightforward, this is often lost in the chase of other godly attributes.
The importance of love to God can never be diminished. Considered greatest of all by Him Who is Love. (I Cor. 13:13, I John 4:8) Seeking holiness, righteous, or faithfulness is truly a pursuit of deeper love. Every effort to grow in godliness must bring a greater outpouring of God's love.
Gal. 5:13, 14 - ... But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbour as yourself. (NIV)
The Spirit calls to drink living water. Christ promises to quench thirst with water springing to eternal life. Eternal life is to know Jesus and God Who sent Him. (John 17:3) Receiving living water and eternal life is not for hoarding. God gives in great measure a love overflowing, as we seek to be like Christ.
God became man and Christ said in seeing Him, we see The Father. All efforts of spiritual growth should produce: patience, kindness, freedom from jealousy, boasting, pride, etc. Let me say the following with boldness of Spirit.
If desiring to speak every tongue, gain wisdom and knowledge to all mysteries of God; have faith for any miracle on earth and even give life for others. It means nothing apart from God's love.
Seeking greater fruit and searching God's Word to know His will. If these efforts are not accompanied by a gentle, humble, and tender love drawing others to our lives ... the mark is missed.
In obtaining greater apprehension of God's truth, imperative is accompaniment of a sensitive love to other's needs which dies to self. This is the mark of God's high calling in Christ Jesus. His righteousness is a bloodstained love of perfection given for all to know The Father.
I Pet. 4:8 - Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (NIV)
We are still to have convictions of right and wrong. How are they expressed? If harsh, dogmatic, or condemning to push others away, an examination by the Lord is in order.
Jesus spent the majority of time with tax collectors, prostitutes, and 'sinners' in His ministry on earth. Christ delivered His greatest warnings to proud teachers and leaders of the day. The downtrodden required no convincing of sin and need of a Saviour.
Some questions to consider. If someone blatantly sins, are loving words spoken with authority of God's grace and forgiveness? Others aware of sin leave; do those remaining declare no condemnation in Christ? Departing sin for immersion in a life of God's love to share with all?
If 'yes,' our lives aimed by the Spirit hit the center of God's mark.
Gal. 5:1, 6 - It is for freedom that Christ has set us free ... The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (NIV)
Bold, Emphasis, Underline - Mine
Attributions: New International Version