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Galatians 1:1-24 Galatians 2:1-21 Galatians 3:1-29
Galatians 4:1-31 Galatians 5:1-26 Galatians 6:1-18
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Galatians 6:1-18

 

“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.  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For every man shall bear his own burden.  Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.  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.  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh.  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.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.  From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.  Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon your spirit.”  (unto the Galatians written from Rome.) 

 

Bearing one another’s burdens

 

The first two burdens Paul mentions are ones we can help others bear:  Galatians 6:1-5, “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.  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  For if a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For every man shall bear his own burden.”

1.  Bearing the burden of someone overtaken in a sin:  “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” (verse 1).  The Greek word for “overtaken”, prolambano [Strongs #4301, to take in advance, surprise, come aforehand, overtake], means “as if by surprise”, “caught off-guard.”  The word “fault from the Greek word paraptoma means “a falling aside or mishap, to stumble.”  A lifeguard can always hear the cry of distress over the noise of the crowd on the beach.  A healthy church will always have people in it who are trained to recognize people in spiritual distress, struggling people.  The word “fault” doesn’t necessarily mean a sin although it can be.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”  The ministry of spiritual rescue is not intended to be isolated to a few in church, but can be for anyone.  The goal is restoration of  hurting or fallen people in humility.  The distress or sin could also be for those caught up in a false teaching.  The word “restore” comes from the Greek word katartizo, “to completely, thoroughly repair…to mend”, as in setting a broken bone.  James 5:19-20, “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him (i.e. brings him back to God); let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”  As you can see, James addresses this very same subject.  Restoration is to be done in a spirit of meekness.  Meekness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  A spiritual person will have the fruit of the Holy Spirit in his or her life, and as we saw, meekness was one of those fruits mentioned in Galatians 5:23.  “Consider thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”  Don’t think you’re immune to what you are pointing out to another. 

 

2.  Second way we can bear other’s burdens:  “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (verse 2).  The word “burden” is the Greek word baros, also means “fault”, but could also mean infirmity, a weakness, pressure, tension, or a grief.  The word “bear” Greek bastazo, the idea of removal, to lift, bear, carry, take up.  John 19:17, the same word for Jesus “bearing his cross.”  This verse conveys the idea of helping someone who has been given a load which is too heavy to bear.  Bearing burdens of others here is the idea conveyed by the story of the Good Samaritan.  There is a ministry by the name of Samaritan’s Purse that helps people who have suffered in some sort of disaster beyond their control.  Samaritan’s Purse does this on an international level.  (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/samaritan_purse.htm).  In this verse Paul is showing that the members of the church should help out those who have come under burdens too heavy for them to bear.  It could be an overwhelmed single mom or an elderly widow in the church, or it could be helping those outside the church in similar fashion as Samaritan’s Purse, but on a local scale.  Or yet again, it could be strictly on a one-on-one basis.  You see a need, you help lift the load of another, letting Christ’s light shine on others.  The body of Christ, both in the years around 150 AD and 250 AD grew tremendously in number of Gentiles, more than the mere number Paul reached, those few “God-fearing” Gentiles in the 50s AD.  This incredible influx of Gentiles into the Judeo-Christian churches in Asia Minor and elsewhere was due directly to the application of those in the Church, the body of Christ,  to lifting the burdens of their neighbors around them during two unprecedented medical disasters.  To read about it, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/LegacyOfLove.htm.  This was Christianity at its best.  This is what Paul is teaching here.  In Psalm 42:11 David says “Why are you cast down, O my soul?”  In Psalm 23:3 he says “he that restoreth my soul.”  In Phillip Keller’s book A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, he says this about restoration and being cast down, “Only those intimately acquainted with sheep and their habits understand the significance of a “cast” sheep or a “cast down” sheep.  This is an old English shepherd’s term for a sheep that has turned over on its back and cannot get up again by itself.”  You see, as Phillip brings out in his book, the sheep, especially as it grows a big thick fleece, is a large body held up on four thin legs.  The animal basically becomes top-heavy.  If one falls or rolls accidentally on it’s back, it doesn’t have the ability to right itself.  Phillip continues, “If the owner does not arrive on the scene within a reasonably short time, the sheep will die.  This is but another reason why it is so essential for a careful sheepman to look over his flock every day, counting them to see that all are able to be up and on their feet.  If one or two are missing, often the first thought to flash into his mind is, One of my sheep is cast somewhere.  I must go in search and set it on its feet again…It is not only the shepherd who keeps a sharp eye for cast sheep, but also the predators.  Buzzards, vultures, dogs, coyotes and cougars all know that a cast sheep is easy prey and death is not far off.  This knowledge that any “cast” sheep is helpless, close to death and vulnerable to attack makes the whole problem of cast sheep serious for the manager.  Nothing seems to so arouse his constant care and diligent attention to the flock as the fact that even the largest, fattest, strongest and sometimes healthiest sheep can become cast and be a casualty.  Actually it is often the fat sheep that are most easily cast.  The way it happens is this.  A heavy, fat, or long-fleeced sheep will lie down comfortably in some little hollow or depression in the ground.  It may roll on its side slightly to stretch out or relax.  Suddenly the center of gravity in the body shifts so that it turns on its back far enough that the feet no longer touch the ground.  It may feel a sense of panic and start to paw frantically.  Frequently this only makes things worse.  It rolls over even further.  Now it is quite impossible for it to regain its feet.  As it lies there struggling, gases begin to build up in the rumen.  As these expand they tend to retard and cut off blood circulation to extremities of the body, especially the legs.  If the weather is very hot and sunny a cast sheep can die in a few hours.  If it is cool and cloudy and rainy it may survive in this position for several days…So it will be seen why a sheepman’s attention is always alert for this problem.” [A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23,  p.50, par. 3-4, p. 51, par. 2-5, p. 52, par 1-2, 4.]  Any member of your congregation can become “cast down” or suddenly find themselves “under a burden too heavy to bear.”  John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  James 2:8, “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.”   “No one is useless in the world who lightens the burdens of others” Charles Dickens.  Another burden we can share is the burden of grief.  Job’s three friends stayed with him for seven days without saying a thing, just comforting him.  Ruth, an out-cast in Israelite society because she was a Moabite, was seen by Boaz picking up the gleanings, left-overs, in the harvest fields.  Ultimately, she was comforted by Boaz (Ruth 2:13). “For if a man thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (verse 3).  Sometimes people get so “spiritual” that they think they’re above it all, too good to help others who have burdens.  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.”

 

Burdens divided into two basic classes

 

So now we’re going to see that Paul divides burdens into two basic classes.  We’ve looked at the first class, burdens we can help others bear, burdens we can share.  The next class is burdens we must bear alone. “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For every man shall bear his own burden” (verses 4-5).  The word for “burden” here is phortion, which means “load to be borne”, and is used to denote a ships’ cargo, or used to speak of “a child in the womb”.  This verse could be translated “Every man must shoulder his own pack.”  Some people expect their church (or the churches of others) to bear their own loads.  One pastor calls them “wet noodles”, because no matter how you try to stand them up, they go limp and fall down again.  Paul said elsewhere if a man won’t work, don’t feed him.  It’s the guy whose always traveling about, sometimes from church to church, looking for the hand-out.  In the Sabbatarian Churches of God I came from we had a specific ministry for widows and orphans, and those really down on their luck through no fault of their own (those with the proper type burden Paul just told us to help bear for others).  These “moochers”, “wet noodles” would come around to the pastor from time to time looking for a hand-out, trying to tap into the fund.  Pastors and members alike had to be wary of this type of person.  Paul addresses this subject when he talks about support of widows and orphans elsewhere in his Epistles. 

 

Support your own pastor

 

Now this is a horrible translation in the King James, which doesn’t convey the true meaning of what Paul is trying to say here.  “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things” (verse 6).  “This is probably the bluntest verse in the Bible [but the translation doesn’t show it].  Paul is really putting it on the line.  The Greek word koinoneo translated “communicate”, means sharing, taking part---sharing the things of Christ together.  Paul is bluntly saying this: “Pay your Preacher.  If someone ministers to your spiritual benefits, minister to him with material benefits.”  If God has blessed you materially and you are being blessed by someone spiritually, then you ought to minister to that person with material benefits.  This is put on a grace basis of sharing, but believe me, friend, if you go into a grocery store and buy bread and meat and go by the checkout stand without paying for it, you are in trouble.  There are many people who are ministered to spiritually, but when they go by the checkout counter, they don’t share.  No one thinks anything about it.  The Word of God says that you are to share with those who minister to you.”  [Galatians, THRU*THE*BIBLE*COMMENTARY SERIES, J. Vernon McGee, pp. 119-120, par. 1 & 5 resp.]  Just thought I’d let J. Vernon McGee, a longtime pastor, let you know how pastors feel about this verse and the situation it describes.   [For ideas on giving, and the history of Biblical tithing and how it applies to us as believers, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/gifts.htm.]

 

You reap what you sow, so don’t sow to the flesh, but to the Spirit

 

Galatians 6:7-10, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  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.  And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”  There are two basic kinds of seed you can sow, so choose wisely.  The word “mocked” comes from the Greek word “to turn up the nose [at]”.  You can’t turn your nose up at God about his laws, sowing your wild oats as they say, and get away with it.  2 Corinthians 9:6, “But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully.”  So make sure you’re sowing to the Spirit bountifully, and not to the flesh.  Deuteronomy 29:19-20, “And it shall come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.”  That’s a pretty stern warning about having a flippant attitude toward sowing to the flesh and thumbing your nose at God about it.  Beware, there is also a delayed reaction to the sowing and the harvest time.  Jacob sowed lies, and it took years, but he reaped lies.  Read Genesis 27-29.  Ahaz found out the same thing.  Read 1 Kings 1-19. 

 

Paul’s eyesight and large handwriting

 

“Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand” (verse 11).  This refers to Paul’s poor eyesight, cf. Galatians 4:15 and 2 Corinthians 12:7.  Paul sometimes used others to physically write his epistles, letters, as seen by Romans 16:22, “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.”  When Paul saw the Judaizers were destroying the simple gospel of Christ by mixing it with law, some think he couldn’t wait for a secretary and wrote the Epistle of Galatians himself, with his own large handwriting. 

 

The Judaizers again,

 more evidence about who they were

 

“As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross.  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh” (verses 12-13).  The Judaizers, as I explained in the study on Galatians 1, were composed out of the group of Pharisees that had come to a physical knowledge that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, but couldn’t, even after Acts 15, give up the ceremonial part of the Mosaic Law as a requirement for salvation.  An indication of a large group in Jerusalem existed out of whom this radical Pharisaic group could have come out of is given in Acts 21:20-21, where James remarked to Paul “Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law; and they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.”  Now the whole early Church in Jerusalem and Judea had to come through a period where they had had that belief, considering their religious background.  But this Pharisaic group, from their very background, had a very close relationship and fellowship with all the other non-believer Pharisees.  They were brothers, so to speak.  This group that did believe Jesus was the Messiah (at least at a physical knowledge level) wanted to escape persecution under the Jewish leadership at Jerusalem, many of them Pharisees also.  And they also wanted to look good in front of their non-believer Pharisee friends.  This is exactly what Paul is revealing in these two verses, which I also covered at the end of the study of Galatians 1.  This is not the fruit of a true Holy Spirit indwelt believer in Jesus, Yeshua haMeshiach.  Paul even gives us the key evidence that this is true.  “For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh” (verse13).  So they openly and aggressively sought to mix the requirements of the Old Testament Mosaic Law with the gospel of Christ, the grace of God, one, to protect their own hides, and two, to wrack up ‘brownie points’ with their other non-believer Pharisee friends.  But as Paul noted, and this is what leads me to believe they weren’t even real believers, they weren’t empowered by God’s Holy Spirit.  “For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law.”  Taken in context with both verses, 12 and 13, this is talking about the Judaizers that were supposed believers, not their non-believer Pharisee friends.  They weren’t even close to showing the fruits of the Spirit if they were breaking God’s laws, which Paul says they were.  Paul says essentially they were at the level of Galatians 5:19-21, below the level of the ‘hard-deck’.  As I brought out previously about these Judaizers, they died out, probably dying in the Jewish wars with Rome.  I seriously doubt God would have protected them when 70AD came around and Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.  My guess is that they died with their Pharisaic friends in Jerusalem, and if they escaped, they didn’t remain with the Church.  So applying what Paul says about  “Judaizers” to legalists of our present day and age is taking this letter out of it’s  proper historic context, as I said before.  Why?   Because many legalists are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, they just don’t have a proper spiritual understanding of what Paul revealed in Galatians.  So to apply what Paul says about Judaizers to legalists who do have the Holy Spirit is taking Galatians out of context, and allowing us to attack another part of the body of Christ, which is also not Scriptural.  You don’t have to attend a church you deem legalist, so stop criticizing them.  Who made you judge and jury?  As Paul said in Romans 14, ‘Who made you a judge over another man’s servant?’  And we all know when Paul said “another man’s servant”, that other man is Christ. The Judaizers wanted to glory in the flesh, circumcision.  What should we glory in?

 

What should we glory in, if not the flesh?

 

 “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” (verse 14).  This should be the attitude of every believer in Jesus Christ.  We’re not to be boasting about the fact that we’re keeping the Sermon on the Mount (the law of Christ), or that you belong to this church or denomination or that one, or whatever Christian religious organization.  We should glory in the Cross of the One who died there---and that he died to buy us our freedom from sin and the 2nd death, that he died to buy us eternal life.  Now that’s something to glory in.  “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature [creation]” (verse 15).  The essential thing Paul is saying here is this: ‘Has the Spirit of God, God’s Holy Spirit, come into your life and made you ‘a new creature, creation’ in Christ?’  “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, mercy, and upon the Israel of God” (verse 15).  ‘Israel of God’ is a play on words here by Paul.  Israel, the Hebrew word means “governed by God.”  Paul is saying ‘Peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the ‘governed by God’ of God.’ 

 

Battle scars

 

“From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (verse 17).  The Greek word for “marks” is stigmata, meaning scars.  In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 Paul tells us about how he got his battle scars in the service of Jesus Christ.  “Are they ministers of Christ?  (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once stoned, thrice suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeys often, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).  As with football players, the scratched helmet and torn uniform showed they weren’t “bench-sitters.”  Paul’s saying ‘I’m the real deal, look at my battle scars which I’ve obtained in service to Jesus Christ.  And as for these Judaizers, they’re just trying to save their own precious hides from persecution.

 

closing

 

“Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.  Amen” (verse 18).  Paul has clearly shown what the grace of God is in this Epistle to the Galatians he wrote with his own hand.  Now he wishes them all to have the grace of God operative within their spirits. 

 

To read an excellent article which makes the various covenants of God clear and easy to understand, log onto:
  http://www.unityinchrist.com/newcovenant/TheNEWCOVENANT.htm

 

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