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Galatians 6

January 5, 2009

Galatians 6

1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5for each one should carry his own load.

6Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature[a]will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!

12Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[b] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.

17Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

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This is the last installment of my study through Galatians. I am a little sad as this is one of my favorite books. Chapter 6 sums up the book as Paul brings the letter to a close.

In this day of Online Discernment Ministries (ODM) one can see why Paul exhorts us to us gentleness to bring someone who we see is in sin to restore them. Though Paul at times used strong words and often a caustic tone toward those who tried to persuade the Galatians away from Grace, one can see in his words the hurt and love he had for the churches of Galatia. Gentleness is a reflection of the kindness of God Paul wrote of in Romans 2 and it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Often some think much to highly of themselves and disregard others as a less worthy of the Grace that saved them. So gentleness toward others is our vocation in the ministry of reconciliation. Often some think that we should only be kind to other believers… yet if one looks at the verse itself, Paul does not make a distinction whether one is a believer or not… he simply states:

1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Notice also that a major reason is that we also may fall into the temptation that person is trapped in. So with a humble heart and kindness we are to reach out to those who are trapped in sin.

Humility is core to the Gospel. Jesus modeled humility in the very Incarnation and death for we who deserved judgment and wrath. In this simple act of humility we also need to realize that thinking too highly of our “self” cut across the grain of the Gospel and in fact impedes not only the Gospel but our own growth. We need to constantly check our own hearts and actions, and not look at others for some imaginary level of spirituality. To do so we deceive ourselves in two ways.

1. That we are doing better that someone else.
2. That we are doing worse than someone else.

Either of these can lead on to a false sense of worthiness and deceive one to think that they are doing better or worse that where God has them at that time. In this way, we can take “pride” (this is the godly type that is of proper self worth in respect to our position in Christ Jesus) in our own growth and journey as we see from where we came to where God has led us. One can look at the milestones of their life to see how God has changed their hearts and minds and rejoice in God transforming them into the image of Christ.

If one needs a sense of perspective on their position they need only look at Jesus for the standard we all miss and in that understand the kindness and gentleness of God and His love for us. In this way we share the goodness we receive from God with God and other may see God in us our hope of Glory.

Though works is not part of us getting saved, and we cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit ourselves, only bear it, our actions do reflect where we are and show if we are in Christ or not. To act in ways contrary to God’s will and continues to do so reflects that they may not come to salvation and will end in destruction. Yet, if we persist in doing good we will have the reward of eternal life. This good is not of our own works, but the out working of God in and through us. So Paul exhorts all believers to continue in doing the good works of God. Interestingly Paul states “especially” to those in the family of believers. How unfortunate that often the ones we should love the most, being our family we treat the worst at times.

There is some speculation that Paul wrote this letter or at least this last part with his own hands. Some state that he may have had problems with his eyesight, though I once heard an excellent sermon by Jason Clark of Sutton Vineyard speak of Paul’s hands. In this sermon he spoke of the many beatings, stonings, his tent making and other things Paul went through and did. In that one naturally hold their hands up to protect themselves, Jason speculated that Paul’s hands took major beatings and were most likely injured during his life. One clue is in verse 17:

17Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

Either way, Paul personally wrote the message himself.

Again, Paul warns of doing things to show one is more godly that others and that this motive is not of God. They do this for the reason so that others will accept then and that they may get the glory if someone is converted to their way. Sadly I confess that at times when I have witnessed my motives have not been pure and that I too have sought to get glory out of someone else’s conversion. Of course that is wrong and to read this does bring up some pain in my own actions in the past. God alone should get the Glory in someone’s salvation.

What we do in the flesh means nothing… so Paul states “15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” Again sadly we forget that what counts is that we are a new creation… the old is gone the new is here.

This new creation is that we are now in the New Israel who is Jesus Himself. For only in Christ do we receive peace and mercy and only through Christ can we give peace and mercy of God to others.

And so now I close with the prayer of Paul to my readers.

18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers [and sisters]. Amen.

I hope to have this all availabe in Word and PDF format so you can download the whole commentary if you desire.

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