This last section deals with the disagreement among the people over what made one a child of Abraham, natural birth and religious observances as taught by the false teachers, or faith in Christ, v. 15.
Paul here urges the people to get along with each other despite disagreements. They are to have a spirit of meekness and brotherly kindness one toward another.
We can be assured that no two people will agree on everything. As one of my Bible College teachers used to say, "Let's agree to disagree agreeably." It is far too easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment when discussing a disagreement with others. I have noticed that when one party does not have the support of facts, loud, unkind words take over.
Paul tells the people that if they want to be bound by law, then they should be bound by the law of Christ; if they want to be under a burden, they have a burden to be under, one another s burdens. (See Jn. 13:34, 35; Lev. 19:18; Jn. 14:15; 15:10; Exo. 20:6; 22:31; 26:3.)
In other words, as fellow believers, we should bare with one another's idiosyncracies, as long as that person is not grossly violating Scripture. If the person is in major conflict with Scripture, then those qualified are to try to help.
Note the contrast between the law of Christ and the law of the Judaizers. The Judaizers called for a separation between people based upon the relationship with Abraham and ritualistic observances of the Jewish religious laws, e.g., Gal. 1:14. They taught that Christ only benefits those who follow the Jews religion. As we mentioned in the introduction of this book, the law of Christ teaches that one is a child of Abraham, which contrasts with the Judaizers who say that natural relationship and obedience to the laws of the Jews religion make one a child of Abraham.
This chapter is divided into two parts:
1) vv. 1-10, several plain and practical instructions for Christians in their duties. When compared with Paul's instructions here, it was obvious that the false teachers were "false Christians."
2) 11-18, Paul returns to the main design of the epistle: to strengthen the Galatians against the persuasive words of the judaizing teachers, and to confirm them in the truth and liberty of the gospel.
Vv. 1-10 is the first section of chapter 6. There is also a break in thought after v. 6.
There are 5 things listed from v. 1 to v. 6 that prove our love for God and for our neighbor. Let me explain what I mean by jumping to point 4 at verse 4.
4) Love for God and for man will be PROVED IN OUR WORKS. If I do not practice it, I do not believe it.
Paul's instructions in chapter 6 are based upon what he has said to this point. We noticed in chapter 5, his emphasis on love. It is not difficult to see that every action encouraged by Paul in vv. 1-10 are actions that should be provoked by love for our neighbor or love for God.
As Paul lists these things, the people hearing him out will be able to judge the false teachers for themselves.
Here are some points from this section.
1. V. 1, Love will attempt to rescue others from sins and false doctrines.
V. 1, fault... Means sin or misdeed. Overtaken could be compared to a man carrying a football, and is overtaken by a tackler. This Christian did not set out to sin, but it snared him anyway. Moreover, few of us can see our faults, nor do we want to see them. Then when someone points them out, we are prone to get upset.
Any attempt to restore such an one is restricted to those governed enough by the Spirit that they can approach the overtaken one in the spirit of meekness. 5:23. MeeknessThe restorer realizes his own weakness, and the danger he faces in being captive to the same error.
The context of Galatians is the false teachers leading astray good, sincere people. Paul wants the misled good people to be restored to the truth. However, he warns those who would restore them that they must do it with good knowledge of the truth, with meekness and with the understanding that the false doctrines are very appealing to the human understanding. The restorer must understand that the flesh finds the false doctrines very appealing, and the he is in danger of falling into the error.
In 1984 Everett Sileven, pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Louisville, Nebraska, was jailed and his church padlocked when his Christian school was deemed illegal by the state of Nebraska. Like many men across the land, he had refused to accept a government license. It was reported that there were several thousand government cases against churches, religious organizations and home schools in those days. Eventually the Nebraska law under which Sileven was convicted was changed, but a judge still imposed an eight-month sentence on Sileven.
Later, Sileven traveled the country telling people how to legally avoid paying the income tax. He was arrested, and charged with conspiracy. The judge said what he was telling people was not wrong, but it was wrong to tell the publically tell the people. He was sentenced to a minium security prison in Marion IL. I went over to visit him once while he was there.
While he was there, he was influenced by the "Christian Identity" crowd. He was given a 15 part lesson by Nord Davis, called "Star Wars," which defined and promoted Christian Identity. He sent me a copy, asking for my review of it. I spent thousands of hours on it, and wrote a book which I sent back to him.
In the context of Galatians, Paul's warning here is not to try to correct someone's Scriptural fault, or false doctrines, unless you are spiritual enough to stand against the appeal of that false doctrine.
Spirit of meekness... Seeing something that another does not see, tempts us to look down on them. It tempts us to consider ourselves better, and it is very easy for that spirit of superiority to come though. Really, we should not try to "correct" others unless we can do it with a meek spirit, because our non meek spirit will come out.
One more thing about the verse. There is a responsibility to correct others when the "spiritual" person sees another in a fault, ether doctrinal or sin. ye which are spiritual...
Many times, even trying to meekly correct another leads to hard feelings from that person. But does that possibility release us from responsibility? It is especially bad among friends. I have found in my life that when I see a fault in a friend, I am fearful at calling their attention to it. I know that the result will, more than likely, be the loss of a friend.
What kind of responsibility do we have according to v. 1?
The overtaken can also refer to sin. The person did not set out deliberately to sin, but "fell" into it. Those spiritually strong enough to stay out of that sin are to patiently and meekly reprove, council and encourage the "sinner." The spiritual person is to lovingly point out the sin, and do all he can to help extract the sinner from his sin.
Remember from where the Lord brought us before we get too hard on others.
This passage can also corresponds what is taught in Matthew 18, confronting others about sin.
2. V. 2, Love bears one another's burdens.
Paul is not encouraging us here to bear another's burden of their utility bill or mortgage.
He tells us what he means:
Romans 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Strong... That is, strong in the faith in the matters under discussion in Romans 14eating meat offered to idols. In Galatians it would be in the matters of the Jewish religious laws and false doctrines.
Love is patient, or longsuffering, with the views of others.
Paul tells these people to remember from where the Lord brought them, and patiently entreat those who are being misled by the false teachers.
We who have been brought to the truth of Scripture in so many areas, such as Calvinism or Dispensationalism, or even genuine salvation, must remember to be longsuffering with those who have not been brought to the truth in these areas.
On the other hand, others should be patient with us, for none of us has a corner on the truth.
An obvious application is being patient with the infirmities of others, and help them overcome those infirmities with counsel, exhortations and our prayers.
Whether a person is off the track in his theology, or captive to his infirmities and sins, we should be kind to them, and help them in any way possible. Did not Christ bear with those who were willing to listen to him? Was he not kind to all, even those who rejected his message. But he would not compromise his message, which made others hate him. Nor can we compromise, but we must be willing to listen to truth and learn when necessary.
3) V. 3. Love is not lifted up with pride, nor self-importance.
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Vainglory... empty pride, self-esteem, honor self, attract attention, make one's self the center of attention. No matter how much talent nor ability we have, we must not use it to exalt self.
In v. 3, Paul warns of a danger that can result from v. 2the spiritual of v. 1 can easily get lifted up with pride because he did not fall into the same trap as the one being helped. He could get quite lifted up with self-importance because he was able to help the sinner, or lifted up with pride because he could see the sin that the sinner was blinded to.
In helping the "wounded" of v. 1, we must not have a spirit of self-importance. We are forbidden to look down on them, and in doing so, lift up ourselves.
"I am better because I see this, and they do not."
We must avoid any of contention or strife. We are prohibited from attempting to gain anything over others by physical strength, superiority of intellect, numbers, dark schemes , rivalry, angry passions or the spirit of ambition.
We must not attempt to do anything by merely showing we have more talent, courage, zeal or spiritual knowledge.
Our motives are to always be out of love for others, love for God, love for the truth and the desire for his glory.
How many ministers preach out of vainglory? How many Christians act godly out of vainglory?
How often are we motivated by our desire to outdo others in dress, material possessions, and yes, even good works?
How many even Christian women dress out of vainglory. They have an appealing body, and they know it. So they dress to show a lot of skin, or to attract attention. Of course, when they dress to attract attention, they are dressing to have others lust after them.
It is not uncommon to be tempted to use our God-given talents, abilities and even our looks, in a self-glorifying way, rather than to glorify God. In fact, it is very difficult at times to deflect the glory given to us over our talents, and not be lifted up, thinking we are something when we are not. We must deflect any praise we get to the Lord of Glory.
1 Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
Even the desire to help the poor can be corrupt in trying to outdo others, or by trying to draw attention to ourselves.
Again, the context of Galatians 6:3, is the false teachers and their false doctrine. Those who are spiritual in the knowledge of the truth are to confront the false doctrines. Love is patient. The "confronter" must be humble, and not be lifted up with pride, thinking that he is better than the ones being led astray. To think otherwise is to deceive one's self.
V. 3, when he is nothing...
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
We can also deceive ourselves by denying our God-given strengths and abilities. Paul tells us that we must have an honest opinion of ourselves. We must not deny the gifts God has given us to glorify himself, particularly when confronting false doctrine.
God has given each of us unique gifts. We can deny them by failing to use them for the glory of God.
4) V. 4. Love for God and for man will be PROVED OUT IN OUR WORKS.
How do our doctrines and works line up with the truth of God's word? What do our works prove about our character? (The context would be doctrine, for Paul is countering false doctrine.)
Do our works prove an indifference to our Christian
responsibilities to God and to man? Can we be honest about our
actions? Probably not.
Prove his own work... We must be fair and impartial when we compare our character with God's word. What do our works prove? Not our works when compared to others, but our works when compared to God's word.
Joy in himself alone... In 6:13, the false teachers were rejoicing when they won converts to their way of thinking.
Human nature likes to compare itself with others, and rejoice when we find ourselves better than others.
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
But we see that we are to honestly evaluate our character with God's word, and correct where needed. We will not be dependant upon the praise of men for our joy. Rather, the joy will be within, as we know in our heart we please God.
If we depend upon others for our joy, we will
be sadly disappointed every time.
If we depend upon a false estimate of ourselves, we will be sadly disappointed every time.
5. V. 5. Bear his own burden...
V. 5, opens with for, meaning it is attached to v. 4. If he is a virtuous man, as proved by the outward and inward works as identified by Paul in chapter 5 & 6, he will have joy. But if he is a vicious man, he will be miserable, not only here but in that sure day of judgment:
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
Note v. 11 should motivate us to do Galatians 6:1.
V. 4, the context here is v. 1. So the Apostle says that our first concern must be, What do our lives, actions and character prove? Are we not warned by our Lord:
Luke 6:41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
We want to be sure that the actions of our fellow Christians support their Christian testimony, while ignoring our own actions. The Lord says that our first responsibility is to see that our lives live our profession before we worry about others.
How easy it is to get involved in seeing that others do right, and ignore our own situation. We can get more concerned about others than we are of ourselves.
As a lady used to tell me, Every tub sits on its own bottom.
5) V. 6. Love for God and for man will support the teachers of God's word.
V. 6 seems to be the last outward evidence in this list of our love to God and to our neighbor
Christians are here exhorted to be free and liberal in maintaining their ministers
The office of the ministry is divinely appointed, and is not common to all. Rather, it is confined to only those whom God has qualified, and has called to it.
Ministers are to study God's word so they can teach and instruct according to the truth of God's word. 2 Timothy 4:2. They are to declare the whole counsel of God, Acts 20:27. Paul tells us that they are not to be lords over our faith, but helpers of our joy, 2 Corinthians 1:24, Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand..
Again, quoting Matthew Henry:
3. It is the duty of those who are taught in the word to support those who are appointed to teach them; for they are to communicate to them in all good things, freely and cheerfully to contribute, of the good things with which God has blessed them, what is needful for their comfortable subsistence. Ministers are to give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine (#1Ti 4:13); they are not to entangle themselves with the affairs of this life (#2Ti 2:4), and therefore it is but fit and equitable that, while they are sowing to others spiritual things, they should reap their carnal things. And this is the appointment of God himself; for as, under the law, those who ministered about holy things lived of the things of the temple, so hath the Lord ordained that those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel, #1Co 9:11,13,14.
My dad was quite critical of my "full time" status with churches. He said I needed to have a trade, and support myself, as he did.
Now the tone of this section changes from one of love to one of serious instructions and warnings.
In this section, Paul sums up what he has been saying since 5:13. He has warned of the warfare between the flesh and the Spirit, 5:17, and he now presents the results of serving one or the other 6:8.
We will not take the time to put every point from 5:13 on into the teaching of 6:7, though it would not be hard to do. The promise of v. 7 is God will reward, either good or bad, according to who we follow what is told us to here.
6:7 is normally understood in a negative sense. Be sure your sin will find you out.
Numbers 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
But we see from v. 8, that v. 7 has both a negative and positive view.
First, sin will have its reward:
Ecclesiastes 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:
We see Solomon's words in action around us all the time. Because nothing bad happens to those who ignore God, they think the Lord has "winked" at their indifference or sin.
It is sad when people say, "Well, nothing bad has happened to me up to this point, so I see no reason to serve the Lord."
So we quote Galatians 6:7 as though it were Numbers 32:23, be sure your sin will find you out. That is a true saying, but that is not the only teaching of this passage.
Second, good works will have their reward. Though the reward may not be in the time frame we expected or hoped for, God will remember them. Paul says the same thing in Romans 2:6-11.
In fact, Galatians 6:9 implies that the primary teaching of vv. 7, 8 is positive.
In other words, we do good for others, and it seems that the Lord has overlooked what we have done. But he assures us that he has not. We will reap what we sow.
We see from vv. 9, 10, that v. 7 has a strong positive application. If we do good unto all men, we will reap the promised benefits from God. Maybe not in our present life, but in that day of judgment, there will be rewards.
V. 9 is a comforting promise. We shall reap for the good we have done according to God's word.
Admittedly, it is easy to grow weary and discouraged in doing good. However, we never tire of doing evil.
We should note that the only sure reward we are promised is the reward of doing our Christian duty no matter what the outcome.
1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
In v. 10, Paul pretty much sums up what he has said about loving God and loving others. Doing good fulfills the law of God toward our neighbor.
As we have the opportunity... Opportunities come from God, and they come one after another. Doing good in the past does not count for now.
Do good to all men... define good. This is a very open ended command. Doing good to the hungry man might be withholding food from him.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
Doing good to another man might involved turning him over to the authorities to be put to death for a crime.
Certainly, good to all can be defined as giving all the gospel.
Both good and all must be within the bounds of Scripture.
However, our first responsibility of good is toward other Christians.
Conclusion of this section would be v. 4. That is, Our love for God and for man will be PROVED OUT IN OUR WORKS.
What do our visible works prove to those watching us?
Summation: Vv. 11-18.
Now Pul sums up what he said in the previous letter.
1) large a letter... There is plenty of speculation about what Paul meant here, and we will not add to that speculation.
2) mine own hand. Lightfoot says that Paul only took pen in hand and wrote this conclusion to the letter, vv. 11-18. However, the strong implication is that he wrote the entire letter with his own hand, showing:
a) his genuine love for the people;
b) the seriousness of his concern about the errors of the false teachers among them, and
c) his honest desire to recover them from the errors they were being led into.
How do we show our genuine concern for those we are concerned about?
3) he restates his position about the false
teachers among them; they were men proud of their linage to Abraham
and their "privileges" of being Hebrew followers of
the Jews religion.
Paul expressed his alarm over the teaching that Christian converts should follow the Old Testament Jewish days, months, times and years. (4:10.)
There are folks today who claim to trace their linage back to Abraham, so they "keep" the Jews holy days, e.g., Passover. Those who love the Lord Jesus should have the same alarm over any desire in the hearts of professed Christians to follow the old Jewish religious practices, hoping they will be more closely identified with the Heavenly Father.
4) Paul, inspired by the Spirit, exposed the motives of these teachers.
Their first motive was to avoid the persecution for the cross of Christ. They compromised the gospel of Christ lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. Paul spoke these words from personal experience, for he persecuted the church for the cross of Christ.
Their second motive was so they could boast about how many followers they acquired. (There is money in millenialism!) The true character of the false teachers is described by Peter:
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (2 Pet. 2:3.)
Outwardly they appeared righteous before men, but their goal was not the well-being of the people, but their own well-being. Rather than feeding the flock of God, they were fleecing the flock of God to build up their own self-ego.
Joel Osteen, false prophet
The August 2008 issue of "Portfolio," has an article about Joel Osteen. The title of the article is, "God Wants Me to Be Rich." The article points out that he teaches that God wants all who follow Joel to be rich also. For those of us who believe the Bible, the critique of Joel shows him to be a very wicked man one of the false prophets Paul warns about.
His father was a fugitive from the Southern Baptist Convention, and by a series of events, Joel was able to take over his father's 5,000 member church. Joel is a logical conclusion of the Oral Roberts movement of the 50s and 60s, having attended ORU for a year. Joel presented a softer, gentler Jesus, and the crows came. In 1999, on Larry King Live, Joel refused to restrict heaven to Christians only, and will not take a stand on sodomites, abortion, nor evolution.
Joel says he "feels our pain," while making himself wealthy. He earned $13 million for his last book in advance alone. He takes no church income, and gives maybe 50% of his income to the church, which still leaves him quite rich. Also, his church brings in over $75 million in annual revenue "by urging us to let go of it, to turn it over to God, to accept God's favor so that we may be as prosperous as Joel." (The church is $45 million in debt.)
Joel sees hard times as a good opportunity for him to rake in the money for himself and for his church, with the average attendance of 45,000, and the largest televangelist following of our day, 7 million viewers.
He had former Disney employees design his $25 million 5,000 capacity children's facility to entertain the children in a McDonald's like play area.
(His spares no expense in having the best entertainment and music. His music has people dancing in the aisles to the tune of "Just as I am," and "We Have Overcome.")
His salvation invitation at the end of each service is to ask those who are willing to turn their lives over to Jesus to stand up, and make their commitment right then and there, and they will be started on the road to wellness and prosperity.
Do we compromise the gospel? Do we compromise the word of God? Do we compromise what we know we should or should not do in order to avoid losing friends, or so we can fit into the world?
5) Paul points out that behind all the pleasant words about keeping the old Jewish religious laws (that were done away with by the work of Christ), the teachers were actually lawless they undermined the clearly stated laws:
a) of justification by faith apart from any works of the law, which alone makes one a child of Abraham and heir to the promise, as proved by the Old Testament law and prophets;
b) of brotherly love, love thy neighbour as thyself;
c) of humble service;
d) concerning proper care for their faithful ministers and proper financing of godly charitable works;
e) of Christ and obedience to His words as spoken in the Commandments;
f) of the works of the flesh vs the works of the Spirit, and
g) of circumcision.
The goal of the Galatians' teachers was not love for the Law-Word of God nor for the people; rather, it was to pursue their own purpose, which included exalting themselves before men and a good income.
Some time ago, a CD was sent out, anonymously, documenting the infighting for power and money among some of the biggest names in the electronic evangelism industry, all in the name of "promoting the Lord s work." Paul has only condemnation for "teachers" who are motivated by a desire for more power (i.e., influence over people) and money.
His desire is that they would abound with the grace of God, that is, both the desire and power to do the Lord s will as revealed in His Law-Word.
V. 18, Grace
We must conclude with this thought: The messages of false teachers with their false gospels (which is not gospel) and their false distinction between men, Jew/Israelite vs Greek/Gentile rather than the distinction of faith in Christ, are very appealing. Only the grace of God keeps one out of the snares of those teachers and only the grace of God can deliver those caught in the snare of those wicked men.
Ps. 91:3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
124:7 7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
1 Tim. 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Taking his farewell of them, he wishes them grace, and the Spirit against the deceits of the false apostles, who labour to beat those outward things into their brains. With your minds and hearts. (Geneva.)