Galatians 6

We’ve come to the end of Galatians

I hope you’ve learned a bit more about the reason for Paul’s letter to them and how we can apply it to our lives today

  • Chapter 1
    • we learned that they had turned to “another gospel” – which Paul says is no Gospel at all! They had been deceived by some Jewish legalists who were wanting them to be bound to following the requirements of the law – specifically circumcision
    • Also in chapter 1 he reminded them that he has also once been zealous for the law but then he had been called into the grace of Christ (v. 6)
    • and then down in v. 15 he tells them that he also had been called into grace through God revealing His Son in him….. this same Son that was also revealed in the Galatians.
    • In essence that this New Covenant of Grace is about the Son of God abiding inside us…. oneness
  • Chapter 2
    • he assures them that he had met with the Jerusalem Council and they had agreed that under the New Covenant circumcision and the following of the law is not necessary
  • Chapter 3
    • he asks them why they who had begun in the Spirit would now try and be made perfect in the flesh? And also had they received the Spirit by the works of the law (flesh) or by the hearing of faith — of the faith of Jesus?
    • He went on to remind them that the works of the law are under a curse because you would have to obey ALL of it’s commandments in order to not be cursed — which of course was an impossibility
    • Then he tells them the purpose for the Law — that it was a tutor “to bring us to Christ” that we might be justified by faith.
    • of course that is speaking about a transitional generation – because the law was nailed to the Cross – those under it’s tutorship is speaking of the generation before the cross.
    • and that it was only for a specific time period — after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor —  the finished work of the cross eliminated the need of the law – it became a dead, faithless system
  • Chapter 4 he talks about our sonship IN CHRIST
  • And Chapter 5 was about our freedom IN CHRIST

Which now brings us to chapter 6……

6:1-6: Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (2) Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (3) For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (4) But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. (5) For each one shall bear his own load. (6) Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.

  • I like that he calls them brothers here — in chapter 4 he asked them why he had become their enemy?  
    • They were no longer treating him as a brother but it made no difference to how he chose to see them… as brothers and according to chapter 5 fully confident that they would turn back and continue in a life of grace by the Spirit
  • and now in chapter 6 he calls them “spiritual”
    • pneumatikos — pneuma is spirit and “ikos” is a suffix that is added to a noun to make it an adjective in Greek.  It means “having characteristics of” “or the nature of”
    • Having the nature of the Spirit…. you who are living IN CHRIST, you who are living in the Spirit.
  • Restore one who is overtaken in any trespass
  • Just about every translation says “if someone falls into sin”
    • He’s not talking about sin.
    • I always thought that’s what it meant… help restore someone who sins… help them get right with God again.
      • Thinking that way is having a sin conscious mentality, your mind is dull.
      • There is a veil over our eyes when we read Scripture with an Old Covenant mentality.  
    • But 2 Cor 3:16 says when anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
      • this is repentance in action…. I thought one way but now through revelation from Holy Spirit I align my thinking with God’s heart
    • that’s why I like studying in context and through the lens of the finished work of Christ.
    • He hasn’t been talking about “sin” in the entire book of Galatians
    • Remember he’s been talking about the contrast of law and grace
    • falling from grace into the legalistic mentality of works and performance — Doing in order to receive or become
    • finding your righteousness in what you do instead of simply who you are IN CHRIST
  • overtaken is prolambano in Greek meaning to be overtaken, taken by surprise;
  • trespass is paraptoma means a falling away; slip or lapse and comes from the root parapipto which is two words… para meaning “close beside” and “pipto” to fall; to fall away after being close beside; to defect or abandon; fallen from a close position
    • That sounds like what had happened to the Galatians — they had fallen from a close position of grace
  • restore is katartizó in Greek meaning to prepare or perfect, for it’s full destination or use; to bring into its proper condition (whether for the first time, or after a lapse); to properly adjust to be in good working order;
    • Sounds like what Paul was doing with these “fallen” Galatians…. restoring them – adjusting them back to good working order back into proper condition of who they are IN CHRIST.
    • Paul is telling them “brothers, see what I’m doing with you, this is what you’ll be doing with others who fall from grace”
  • What a prophetic chapter… though I’ve never seen it as Paul being prophetic before because it doesn’t have the “prophetic language” I’ve grown accustomed to hearing
    • He doesn’t preface the chapter with “Thus sayeth the Lord” or “I hear God saying” or “I’m getting this by the Spirit”
    • He just sees them through the eyes of the Father and talks to them in love — declaring their destiny
    • I saw in this verse a clearer idea of what the prophetic is….
    • it’s releasing a revelation of restored identity
      • “brothers” – born of God; a son of God;
      • “you who are spiritual” – walking IN CHRIST; living life led by the Spirit to a place of rest, a refreshing place free from the law and it’s fearful bondage.  
    • and releasing a revelation of restored purpose
      • “restore others” — adjusting them back to good working order back into proper condition of who they are IN CHRIST; reveal the Son in them like I revealed Him in you;
    • So in this one verse, he declares (prophesies) their restored identity and their restored purpose or mission — this was not how they were walking at the moment – they had fallen from grace and saw Paul as an enemy;
  • He then tells them to bear each other’s burdens
    • bear is to take away or carry away; it is through the idea of removal
    • burden is anything that is a weight; something that is oppressive, pressing you down with oppressive force; such an oppressive burden makes a person unable to function or enjoy free movement.
  • Again, he’s not talking about sin
  • Last week we talked about the only thing that can cause you to not enjoy your freedom IN CHRIST is the oppressiveness of the law; of falling from grace into the legalistic (do’s and don’ts) thinking
    • Taking the oppressive burden of legalism off someone’s shoulder is fulfilling the law of Christ.
    • The message of grace removes all law-related burdens such as guilt, suspicion, inferiority, shame and a sin-consciousness.
    • The burden making them unable to enjoy their freedom IN CHRIST  is an oppressive way of thinking where they don’t truly see themselves as God does — as they truly are
  • they have deceived themselves
    • deceived is phrenapataó in Greek which is 2 words, phrḗn, “inner-outlook or mindset that regulates your behavior” and apatáō, “to deceive by distorting”; “confused inside-out” which means to become the victim of one’s own confused mind-set
    • It’s a distorted mindset
    • Only grace can reveal your true identity in Christ
    • Legalism (doing in order to become or receive) will cause you to have a distorted, confused mindset
      • you’ve then fallen from grace — which is then no longer able to teach you to say no to sin or to live righteously and godly.
      • because the law empowers sin
      • the result is living as someone you’re not — free from the power, guilt and punishment of sin
  • When we have a revelation of our own restored identity in Christ and our restored purpose of restoring others IN CHRIST and in this message of grace, we will no longer compare ourselves to one another but rather living our own lives led by the Spirit.

6:7-10:  (7) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (8) For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (9) And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (10) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

  • Everything Paul preached in the New Covenant is about grace…. living our lives solely from the finished work of Christ
  • So why does he now talk about sowing and reaping?  That’s in stark contrast to grace
  • The nature of New Covenant grace is that we no longer reap what we have personally sown.
    • Romans 5:8:  And yet, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  
    • Rather, Jesus reaps what we have sown, while we reap what Jesus has sown — it’s the Divine exchange  
  • The old law-keeping covenant was obey and you’ll be blessed.
    • Disobey and you’ll be cursed.
    • But the new covenant is all about grace: We’re blessed because Christ obeyed.
  • It seems like you get to these verses and Paul unexpectedly shifted focus abruptly…
    • But we need to keep reading in context of the whole letter
    • He wasn’t just throwing in random thoughts before he finished the letter.
    • He’s not talking about sin and he’s not talking about money
    • He has been contrasting law and grace, flesh and Spirit throughout the entire letter
  • Galatians 3:3 “After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”
    • flesh = law keeping; human effort
  • Romans 7:5 For when we lived according to the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the Law were at work in our bodies, bearing fruit for death.
    • sowing to your flesh is trusting in your human effort, traditions, and law keeping to live righteously before God
    • “sowing to the flesh” is about distorting the gospel by adding law to grace,
    • The result is you will reap corruption —
    • He didn’t shift the focus of the letter… it’s no different than what he was talking about in Galatians 5 and also in chapter 2
      • Gal 5:2-4 “Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace”
      • Gal 2:16, 21:  “Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law…. (21) I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die”
  • Make sure when you study that you keep things in context and that you read through the lens of grace — through the finished work of Christ.
    • Sowing and reaping is Old Covenant thinking…. legalistic (performance based) thinking
    • Paul is still contrasting grace and law in these verses.

6:11-15:  See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! (12) As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. (13) For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. (14) But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (15) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

  • I don’t put much stock in the sub headings that are in the Bible before certain verses
    • I guess the translators put them in to give us an idea of what the following verses are about.  
    • But you need to be careful with those because they can incorrect
      • For example the NASB has the subheading “the conflict of two natures” for Romans 7:14-21
      • If you use that to be the lens you read through… you can mistakenly believe that we as Believers have 2 natures
  • However,  I really like the subheading describing verses 11-15 in chapter 6
    • Most translations use the subheading “Paul’s final words” or something to that extent for these verses
    • The NKJV has “glory only in the cross”;   
    • The Message Bible and Tree of Life translations are similar
      • Message has “Nothing But the Cross” for all of chapter 6
      • Tree of Life has “living under God’s favor” for verses 11-15
  • Paul begins these verses by drawing attention to the large letters he wrote with his own hand
    • While studying I came across several theories about why there were large letters — all of which made me laugh
      • he had poor penmanship
      • he had a nervous condition that caused his hands to shake
      • he had an eye condition that made it hard to see so he wrote large letters  
  • So, what does “large letters” mean?
    • The Greek word (πηλίκος) can indicate the importance of something or even the length of the letter itself.  
    • “the letters” indicates the means by which Paul was now writing, with larger handwriting.
    • Letters were written large to draw attention to some significant point or to avoid errors and insure that the reading is precise.
    • It is possible these large letters indicates emphasis, the “ancient version of bold print”
  • It stood out from the rest of the epistle.
    • It was probably his intention to get their attention… to make sure they did not miss the message he sought to convey in this final section of his epistle.
    • He was obviously calling special attention to these verses
  • The scribes did that in the Old Testament… there are about 100 abnormal letters.
    • They were used to call attention and to guard against error
    • Paul would’ve been familiar with this practice
  • What is Paul drawing attention to?
    • the motives of the Judaizers
      • they are circumcised yet they don’t even keep the law
      • their pride, their boasting would be that they won you over
    • this new life isn’t about circumcision… it’s about the finished work of the Cross
      • He wants to make sure if the Galatians get anything from this letter it’s this — circumcision means NOTHING — the Cross means EVERYTHING

6:16-18:  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (17) From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. (18) Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

  • Then he closes the letter by blessing them and declaring that the “Israel of God” is those who walk according to this rule — (v. 15) in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
    • The true Israel is the new creation — which is the one new man: Jew and Gentile IN CHRIST.
      • Our union with Christ sets the pace and makes us the true Israel, not whether we are Jew or Gentile, circumcised or not!
  • The final thing he says is:  Brothers and sisters, may the revelation of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be the rule of your spirit. (Mirror Bible Translation)
    • And that’s a great close to our Bible study…..
        • You have been freed from the bondage of the dead faithless system of the law and from carrying out the desires of the flesh
        • let the revelation of the grace of the finished work of Christ rule your spirit.
          • Clarke’s commentary says may it live in your heart, enlighten and change your souls, and be conspicuous in your life!
            • Grace is visible in our lives to others… Acts 11:23: When he arrived and saw the grace of God
            • Talking about the Antioch church — Barnabus saw the grace of God — v. 21 says that a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord
      • It’s important for us to let the revelation of the grace of the finished work of Christ rule our spirits because it will change us from the inside out
        • and as we preach grace it will also cause those around us to believe and turn to the Lord — to awaken to their righteousness.
  • Paul was confident that the revelation of grace….. of the finished work of Christ plus nothing…. would rule the Galatians spirits… they would not stay deceived.

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