When we become Christians, we become part of the worldwide body of believers in Jesus. Each believer is personally related to Jesus but is also related to every other believer in Him. It means we have the privilege and responsibility of sharing Christ’s love with all people and particularly with others in the Christian faith. That is how Paul begins chapter 6 of Galatians. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression [Note1], you who are spiritual [Note 2] should restore [NOTE 3] him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Galatians 6:1. This involves watching out for the needs of others while at the same time keeping a watch on ourselves. The awareness of sin in another person can cause us to dwell too long on their sin and its attractiveness can tempt us towards the same kind of behaviour.
Christian love means caring for the needs of others. 6:1,2
This is so especially if they are having difficulties in their lives. As Paul wrote in the next verse, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.“ Gal 6:2. Every individual has burdens to carry in life, many of which are imposed on them by others. Christian love demands that we try to help others by seeking to bear some of the load for them. This burden-bearing may take various forms but it should always be as though Christ Himself were helping them through us.
Christian love means operating from the right motivation. 6:3,4.
Part of keeping watch on ourselves involves looking at our own motivation in trying to help people. “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” 6:3. One danger is in thinking that we are special [something] and above others so that we see no need to humble ourselves to help them. But the reality is that we are nothing of ourselves and our value comes from who we are in Christ, by the grace of God.
Another danger is in thinking that we are morally or spiritually superior to others and our reaching out to help them shows that superiority. Paul issued a caution, “But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour.“ 6:4. Paul uses a word here which means to test thoroughly and then to approve after testing. [NOTE 4.] If the motivation is Christian love humbly working to help another person then all is well, but if the motivation is to draw favourable attention to oneself by helping another person, then that is an impure motive. Glory is to be given to God alone, not to ourselves.
Christian love means not unnecessarily dumping our concerns onto others. 6:5.
“For each will have to bear his own load.“ 6:5. These words may seem out of place coming as they do after verse 2. There the command was to “Bear one another’s burdens.” Yet here the command seems to indicate the opposite. An answer may be found in the two different words used for “burdens” in verses 2 and 5.
In 6:2, the word for “burdens” is baros; βάρος meaning a weight, heaviness or trouble. However in 6:5 it is phortion; φορτίον meaning a task or an obligation.
It is the word used in Jesus’ statement in Matthew 11:29-30, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In becoming one with Jesus and walking yoked in fellowship with Him, there is a burden we must carry. It is the obligation of Christian obedience and walking in love. Jesus tells us that it is a light burden. We are to seek His wisdom and guidance before we begin offloading our problems onto other people.
Christian love means doing good in the lives of others. 6:6-10.
Sharing the word of God with others. 6:6.
Gal 6:6 “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.“ It is a great privilege for us to be taught the word by others. They help us mature in Christ as we are exposed to the truths of God’s word. But there is an obligation on our part to contribute towards their needs in any way we can.
Sowing into the lives of others.6:7,8.
Gal 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
We have a choice as believers to live as we want to live. But our choice should be based on our commitment to Jesus. He has given us His Spirit to indwell us and we are meant to be guided and led by His Spirit in every moment of our lives. As we seek to live, guided by His Spirit we will make the right choices in life. If we just follow the dictates of our old nature [the flesh] and ignore the dictates of the Spirit, we will produce what Paul calls “the works of the flesh. ” They are ”corrupt” and are not pleasing to God. However, as we yield our lives to the Spirit and follow His promptings, then we will be able to exhibit in practice, the eternal life which we possess in Christ.
Taking advantage of every opportunity to help others. 6:9, 10.
Gal 6:9,10. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Paul encourages his readers to maintain an attitude of doing good and not to grow weary and give up. To “grow weary “[ekkakeō; ἐκκακέω] means to be bad or weak or exhausted. Why not grow weary? Because the fruit of their labours would eventually come. To “give up” translates the word [eklyō; ἐκλύω] meaning to faint or relax, become exhausted. It is a word used of the 4000 who came to Jesus whom He commanded His disciples to feed lest they “faint” on the way home.
The right time to do good is “as we have opportunity.” It is to do good to everyone. But especially is it for those who are fellow believers or “of the household of faith.”
This whole passage is about Christian love in action and Paul sees the necessity of such love being poured out in the world of his day.
Our modern world of today requires the same outpouring of Christian love and this passage encourages us not to grow weary in sharing God’s love throughout the whole world.
NOTE 1. “Transgression.” paraptōma; παράπτωμα means a fall to the side or a deviation from truth and uprightness.
NOTE 2. “Spiritual” is pneumatikos; πνευματικός. This can mean someone who is filled with and governed by the Spirit of God.
NOTE 3. “Restore.” katartizō; καταρτίζω means to repair, to complete, to mend. We can see that the motivation behind the command is Christian love, that is, seeking the best interests of the person concerned. It is not judging from afar but rather becoming involved with the person in seeking to help them.
NOTE 4. “Test” is dokimazō; δοκιμάζω meaning to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve.
Blog No.403 posted on Saturday 25th June 2022.