Gal. 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
We are continuing the thought from the last chapter. Again, the word Brethren is referring to those of the same spirit connection, believers. "If" - I think this is an important word since it shows that we don't have to yield to the temptation to sin. We have power through the Spirit to overcome. The probability is that we are going to fail along the way. When that happens to one of our fellow believers, we are to "restore" them in meekness (or gentleness another translation says). The implication is "but for the grace of God go I." So we should not be self-righteous, but we should confront in love.
Gal. 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
"Bear ye one another's burdens" - we are to take care of the body. We are all part of one body, so we need to care about what is happening to any member of the body. It affects us. That is one of the sad things about the church today. We all seem to stay in our own little areas. The denomination system has divided the body of Christ (much more than just Jew or Gentile). It makes it harder to share in one another's burdens, since we are so divided in the spirit. We tolerate more than we care for one another as part of THE body. Christ is not divided. His church cannot be divided. It must grieve His Spirit terribly to see how we have become such a weak body of testimony because of these divisions. Can you imagine if we were all united in the Spirit to reflect Jesus through unity in the Word. The fact that there are so many divisions is because man has considered his thinking higher than God's. We are always adding to it or compromising with it to our own selfish purposes. We would fulfill the law of Christ if we were functioning as one healthy body. (I think my recent reading in Corinthians is coming through.)
Gal. 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
My paraphrase - Not one of us is better than another. We may think we are someone special; but in God's eyes, we are all on equal footing. We deceive ourselves if we think otherwise. The implication I think is that none of us is "too good" to help ANY other member of the body.
Gal. 6:4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
This verse is a bit harder. I think it is saying that we are not to compare ourselves to one another. We are to look at our own actions. If there is a reason to rejoice after that examination, then rejoice; but don't rejoice just because you think your actions put you in a better light than someone else's actions. We are each responsible to the Lord as individuals.
Gal. 6:5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
The bottom line is that we are each responsible for our own actions and responses to the temptations and trials that come our way. God is molding us as individuals.
At first reading, this verse sounds a bit contradictory to verse two, but it really isn't. We are responsible as individuals. But how much more we reflect the Savior when we choose to care for one another as part of one body. As I was writing this thought, it made me rethink the phrase the "law of Christ" in verse two. I think that it is interesting that he would use this terminology. Christ is the term for the Messiah, the anointed one, THE sacrifice for our sin. Christ was totally committed in obedience and love to provide for His brethren. Should we care any less for His brethren--our brothers and sisters in the faith?
Gal. 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
This verse certainly was worded differently in all four translations in my Bible. I think the key is that we are to show our gratitude to and support for those who teach us the Word. We should share the truths/blessings we are taught through the Word. (This is one of the reasons for my web site.)
Gal. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Paul gives a warning for the Galatians not to be deceived. You can’t fool God; he is aware of your actions and your motives. You will reap what you sow.
Gal. 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
If your efforts are spent in gratifying the flesh, then that will be your only gratification. The flesh is reference to the sinful nature. You will reap the consequences of your sin—corruption (KJV & NASB), destruction (NIV), decay and death (NLT). They are all correct interpretations according to the Greek. On the other hand, if your efforts are spent in living according to the leading of the Holy Spirit (which you can only do if you are a child of God), you will enjoy everlasting life. And that is life—not existence. True life is only experienced in fellowship with the Father through the provision of Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Gal. 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Then Paul gives a reminder for his very “human” listeners. He warns them not to get weary in well doing, because the time of reaping will come if we don’t give up. It’s so true. Our whole nature is for God to meet our expectations in our timing. We tend to want our reward immediately. Then we begin to doubt God when He doesn’t respond in the way we expect Him to when we expect Him to. We need to just work at being clay in the hands of the potter and resting in the fact that He will work His will – His good will for us to bring Him glory – in the perfect time.
Gal. 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
“Therefore” - Based on the promise in the previous verse, we should take every opportunity to do good to ALL men. Our acts of kindness, proving ourselves good employees to our employers, showing patience in difficult situations, responding in love when we are mistreated, etc., are not only earning us rewards, they are also giving the lost world around us a picture of how the Savior can make your life full and peaceful. That ministers especially to those who are lost.
We are to show special care for the brothers and sisters of faith. Again, we come back to the scenario of being one body. When one part of the body is weakened, it affects the ministry of the whole. We need to guard our testimony and ministry to bring the most honor to Jesus and keep the body as healthy as possible.
This reflects the desire that Jesus had for us when He was praying in John 17. He prayed that we would “all be one: as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me,” verse 21. He is still waiting for that prayer to be answered—and it will be…..in God’s time.
Gal. 6:11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
It’s interesting that Paul called this a letter------I call it a book!! I think its length does indicate that he cares a great deal that they completely understand his message, and he is trying to be as clear as possible.
Gal. 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
Gal. 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
I like the way the NLT puts it – “Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised are doing it for just one reason. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save.” That’s probably the root cause for all the divisions that we have today. Personal motivations. For whatever reason. No one likes to stand alone, so they want to convince a crowd to go with them.
Regarding the Galatians and those confronting them, Paul is reminding them that even those that are circumcised are not keeping the law. They just want you to be circumcised so that they claim you as part of their group.
Gal. 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
“But God forbid that I should glory” – Paul is telling them that he is not trying to claim them as “prizes” that he won. His only reason for glory is the cross of Christ. He is eager for Christ to get the glory through their faith in His provision alone.
“by whom the world is crucified unto me” – Paul is saying that the things of the world are not important to him. His focus is on “things above.” As far as he is concerned he is dead to the world; his citizenship is in heaven.
Gal. 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Since the cross, it doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or uncircumcised (in the flesh). He is looking for you to become a new creature. (2Cor 5:17 – If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.) This means someone completely different, new. (9/06) This new creation is spiritual—not physical. That’s why it is circumcision of the heart that is important. Circumcision of the flesh has no effect on the spirit.
Rom. 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Gal. 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Those who believe that Christ is sufficient and live accordingly – as new creations - will have peace and mercy.
“and upon the Israel of God” – interesting statement. If it weren’t for the word “and,” I would think he was speaking of all believers. Instead, I think he is making a distinction regarding Jewish believers.
Gal. 6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Paul is weary with having to defend himself over and over again. He shouldn’t have to. The marks and scars on his body are proof enough of his commitment to the truth he preaches. They prove he is a bondslave to Jesus.
Gal. 6:18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Paul has finished. He is wishing the grace of “our Lord Jesus Christ” to be with them. “Our” and “Brethren” tie together. They are not brethren if they are not united in Christ.
I just thought I’d include these entries on the word grace from Strongs for both the KJV and NAS. I especially like the phrase “divine influence upon the heart.”
5485. charis, kharę-ece; from 5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):—acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace(- ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank(-s, -worthy).
5485. caņriß charis; a prim. word; grace, kindness: —blessing(m)(1), concession(m)(1), credit(3), favor(11), gift(1), grace(122), gracious(m)(2), gracious work(3), gratitude(1), thank(3), thankfulness(2), thanks(6).
To the Galatians written from Rome.