But what if we've got it all wrong, and instead of being freed to obey human authorities, we are freed to love other humans?
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. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other (Galatians 5:13-15, NIV).
Sinning against others comes with a cost, the law taught us this. But the weakness of the law was that it couldn't help us love others. It could only condemn us when we didn't, which is why the law couldn't make us righteous before God.
It takes a lot courage to love others, especially when people hurt us. It can be easier to choose to hate others, but when we do, we choose also to hate God, for we cannot hate the human who was created in the image of God, and love God at the same time (Jas 3:9, 1 John 4:20). In the end we break both of the commandments that our entire faith rests on.
Loving God with our whole beings and our neighbor as ourselves is the foundation of our faith. No other commandment can set these two aside, which means we cannot ask something from ourselves or others that contradict these two commandments. Hence, the freedom we are called to cannot contradict the commandment to love our neighbors the way we love ourselves. In other words, our freedom must include love for our neighbors. But the question is, what does this love look like?
Serve one another in love instead of biting and devouring each other.
Love serves. It doesn't ask for others to serve.
But loves does something else too: it releases us from fear.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18, NIV).
If love frees us from fear, it must also free us from obeying those who would have us be afraid. This rules out any authoritarian model which insists on obedience at the expense of love. We cannot obey those who would have us hurt others, and that includes ourselves, for we cannot break the commandment to love our neighbors the way we love ourselves, lest we break also the commandment to love God with our whole being.