Do Good to All
Galatians 6 (Pastor Brian)
Doing Good to All
1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load. 6 Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Not Circumcision but a New Creation
11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand! 12 Those 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. 13 Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. 17 Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
This is the conclusion of the letter to the believers in Galatia. Paul is wrapping up the indignations and exhortations throughout the letter. The reason he wrote this: there was a danger of the believers reverting to the Law of Moses. After he’d preached to them, the Judaizers had come in to say, “Oh yeah, Jesus. He’s cool. But you gotta follow THE LAW baby, or you ain’t nothin’.”
The question had arisen: should the obey the Law of Moses? should they be circumcised? No, not necessarily. There were things they should abstain from: blood sacrificed to idols, idolatry, sexual immorality, etc. Not everyone agreed with this – and Paul had encountered this opposition during his missionary journeys, and now he’s writing to them that “Faith alone saves us.” (not any of these other externals). But the believers were being influenced by the legalists to revert to the Law of Moses.
The believers needed to get back into grace, get back into the spirit of grace.
Now, in the conclusion of the letter, Paul is wrapping up. The letter to the Galatians is considered the “Magna Carta” – proclamation of Freedom – for the Christians. John Bunyan, and Martin Luther among others were very partial to it and attested to its power to save and change hearts.
God used this letter to bring out the teaching of freedom through grace, by faith, to many believers.
v. 1 What kind of sin?
This wording used here indicates a moment of failing – “overtaken” or “caught” in a sin. We think of John’s gospel (chp 4) where the lady was caught in adultery. Some sins are more obvious and outward and the fall more extensive in the understanding of people.
Even if you fall temporarily, the one who is spiritual should (gently/meekly) restore the one who is fallen. Why? Consider yourself who may also be tempted and fall. We all have the sinful nature to contend with. (Romans “I do what I don’t want to do, I don’t do what I want. Who will deliver me from this body of death?”)
We all must be humble – not high and mighty, to come down to the one who is fallen and lift them up.
John MacArthur has written:
- Pick them up
- Hold them up
- Build them up
Take heed that we also don’t fall. Yes, there are warnings in Scripture, but we all must be alert and humble before the Lord because we are all sinful and able to fall. Countless others have fallen in numerous ways. Don’t brag, don’t say, “It’ll never happen to me” because then you’re almost inviting it to happen (be tempted).
Paul is also using the word “restore” like a doctor or surgeon would restore (set) a broken or dislocated limb.
As brothers and sisters in the faith, we must help one another, and carry each other’s burdens – this is the fulfillment of the Law of Christ (i.e. if you want a Law, use this one – the Law of helping others). Jesus helped others and so should we. We must help, not make the burden of sin heavier. This is the purpose of God’s love.
v. 3 Warning against deception
(Do you think you’re a spiritual giant? You’ll never be caught in a sin? You too are susceptible.)
Each one should test his own actions and take pride in his own without comparing himself to someone else. Examine yourself before the Lord. (1 Cor “Judge yourselves…” Are you in the faith? Humble? Living in victory? Confessing sins? Receiving forgiveness? Walking with the Lord? Be REAL. Acknowledge your dependence on him.)
- Each one has his own burden to bear.
- Each one should carry his own load.
(But wait, he just said, “help others” – is this a contradiction?)
- Baros = burden that is TOO heavy (physical, emotional, etc) for one person to carry it alone (exhortation #1) – help them so that they will survive and be built up.
- Forteon = ordinary backpack that is heavy BUT manageable (exhortation #2) – everyone must carry his own weight.
Bear one another’s load when it’s TOO much.
But also take care of your own load and responsibilities.
v. 6 Support and share with those who labor in the gospel – if we want their help (preaching and teaching) we should also help them. (i.e. don’t expect everything for FREE)
Paul wasn’t a Prosperity minister, but he just wanted to be sure the preachers and teachers were well supported and taken care of.
“It wasn’t just financial things – if instructing another, share in all beautiful/good things – a testimony, etc.” So that both can be blessed – teacher and pupil.
- Don’t be deceived God cannot be mocked.
- A man reaps what he sows.
We could apply this in many settings – but in this context, it seems to apply to the financial well-being of the preachers and teachers. If they must work an extra side job just to support themselves, they’ll have less time to care for the people.
Sow to the Spirit, reap in the Spirit (eternal consequences and rewards) – this is NOT about earning salvation through works – BUT it is to say that works have benefits and rewards. Jesus, “Let your light shine before men.” The works are the FRUIT of salvation, not the ROOT of salvation.
v. 10 Do Good to All
At that time, the wealthy often financed new buildings and banquets – all could benefit.
“Be a public benefactor” – “If you sow abundantly, you will reap abundantly” (2 Cor).
At this point, Paul takes the pen himself (a scribe would usually transcribe these letters) “See what large letters I use as I write with my own hand…”
The only reason that people wanted Christians to get circumcised was to make them just another sect (section) of Judaism. They really just wanted to be accepted by non-believing Jews.
But hey, not even the believers in the Law keep the Law – yet they want you to, just so they can brag about you (bringing converts into the Jewish fold).
Boasting about achievements is dangerous to spiritual health.
When we boast in the cross we boast in our weaknesses, saying that human efforts lead only to death, but the cross leads to life.
Because of the cross, the old self is irrelevant. The new reality = it doesn’t matter who or what you are. None of this means anything – what matters is the New Creation. As the Holy Spirit convicts of sins, and we repent and ask him to come and make us new, He changes us from the inside out.
Our dependence is on Christ, not ourselves.
This rule of God is that circumcision doesn’t matter. (Israel is not a Physical thing – but a Spiritual thing – we are New Creations – Jew and Gentile – united in Christ).
“The marks of Jesus” = not stigmata – but SCARS from persecution for Christ – he was whipped, beaten, stoned, imprisoned, etc.
“If you want to look at the flesh, look at these scars as evidence that I’m preaching Chist and not anyone else.”
The whole epistle has been rounded out now with loving others, doing good, and that the power of the gospel can be demonstrated by how we live. It’s a living faith, not a dead faith. Amen.
This is our Magna Carta – our Great Charter of Freedom in Christ.