Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sanctification By Grace: Galatians 6

Theme: Salvation is by grace, not works.

3. Because the Spirit gives victory over sin (5-6)
      B. Through the Spirit, we bear the fruit of love (5:13 - 6:18)
          1. By restoring brothers who sin (1)
          2. By bearing other's burdens (2-5)
          3. By doing good to all men (6-10)
 
Although Christ frees us from the Law and its curse, believers should use this freedom to serve one another in love, rather than sin (cf. 5:13). Chapter six continues this theme, showing ways to serve in love.

1. By restoring brother's who sin (1). The picture, here, is of a brother running from but overtaken by a faster sin. Believers who are "spiritual", should try to restore such. The concept of being "spiritual" seems to denote one who is led by the Spirit rather than the flesh (cf. 5:16-26). This includes being meek (1b), lest the one trying to restore also become tempted. In 1 Corinthians 4:21, Paul contrasts coming to the Corinthians with an iron rod of correction, with meekness. Matthew 11:29, Ephesians 4:2, and Colossians 3:12 associate meekness with being lowly, humble, kind, patient, and self controlled. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 also describes a "spiritual" person as one who appraises "all things" by the wisdom of God's Word, rather than the wisdom of the world. Those who are spiritual should restore sinning brothers.

2. By bearing other's burdens (2-5). The word "burden", here, means a "heavy, crushing load". We should help those who are carrying more pressures than they can handle. To engage in this kind of ministry, one first needs to lay aside arrogant pride. Rather than compare himself to the person under the heavy burden, and conclude he is better, a burden bearer should evaluate his own actions independently (3-4). The "load" everyone must carry for themselves is a different kind of load than the one which requires help from others. This load is only the "pack" of a marching soldier, which Christ promised would be light (Matthew 11:30).

3. By doing good to all men (6-10). To those who teach us the Word of God, we should share "all good things. This may refer to giving money or other goods to those who minister in teaching us God's Word. The phrase, "God is not mocked" means He is not "snubbed". That is, no one can "turn their nose up" at God. What one sows, he reaps. If one sows to the sinful nature, he will reap corruption. If he sows to the Spirit, he will reap "eternal life". This doesn't mean one can earn salvation, but that the Spirit, "in due season" (9) will bear the fruit of Christ's eternal nature in the life of the believer who yields to Him by faith. The principle of sowing and reaping seems to refer back to the matter about yielding to the Spirit rather than the flesh (7-8) (5:16-26), but also to sharing all good things with those who teach (6), and the following verses about doing good to all men, but especially other believers (9-10).

Verses 11-18 give the closing summary, in which Paul again urges the Galatians to avoid those teachers and gospels which promote the addition of works to faith as a term of salvation.  The scars Paul bore for preaching salvation by grace, through faith, apart from works, confirm his confidence was in Christ alone, and not human merit. He commends us to the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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