In this lesson, Paul continues his exhortations on Christian living. Then he concludes the epistle by emphasizing again the gospel of grace and denouncing the works of the legalists.
Did You Know...?
- Bearing One Another’s Burdens (6:1-5)
- Doing Good (6:6-10)
- Glory in the Cross of Christ (6:11-15)
- Admonition and Benediction (6:16-18)
Who is the command in verse 1 directed to?Hide Answer
Paul gives the command to the spiritual, i.e. those who bear the fruit of the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. A spirit-led life is not just theoretical. It is manifested in concrete action.
How should we restore a brother overtaken in trespass? (cf. Mt 18:15; Jas 5:15-16, 19-20)Hide Answer
Restoring a brother involves pointing out his error and guiding him back to the right path. We also need to pray for him so that he may be forgiven and strengthened.
With what attitude should such restoration be done?Hide Answer
1. It should be done “in a spirit of gentleness.” In other words, we should not condemn the weak but help them out of genuine concern. Our Lord Jesus reminds us to love even the least of our brothers, just as a loving shepherd seeks the lost one (Mt 18:5-14). Spiritual restoration is like applying medication to a wound. It must be done with care and tenderness.
2. We need to be careful lest we also be tempted. We ought to take the brother’s mistake as a warning for ourselves so that we will not also commit the same trespass. While helping our brother with sympathy, we should not tolerate or condone sin (Jude 22-23).
What would be the wrong way to deal with someone who is overtaken in a trespass?Hide Answer
Sometimes, when a brother is weak, very few have the courage to help him and the love to pray for him. Instead, gossip and passing of judgment start going around among the brethren in church. Such attitude and practice is contrary to the spirit of love among Christians.
Have you ever helped a fellow believer in his weakness? What lessons did you learn from the experience?
In the context of verse 2, what does it mean to bear one another’s burdens?Hide Answer
Bearing one another’s burdens means helping each other’s spiritual weaknesses through encouragement, correction, and prayer.
What is the law of Christ (2)? (cf. Jn 13:34; 14:21; 15:12; 1Jn 3:22- 23; Jas 2:8; 2Jn 5-6)Hide Answer
It is the new commandment our Lord has given to us—to love one another as He has loved us.
According to verse 3, why would a believer fail to bear other’s burdens?Hide Answer
When a person thinks that he is something, he is bound to pass judgment on the weak instead of helping them with sympathy.
What should someone who thinks himself to be something do, according to verse 4?Hide Answer
We need to each examine ourselves to see if our deeds are pleasing to
the Lord and not take pride by comparing ourselves with others. We will
all be individually accountable to the Lord (1Cor 4:3-5; 2Cor 2:9-10).
Do you examine yourself on a consistent basis? With what measure do you measure yourself?
Explain the apparent contradiction between verses 2 and 5 (Hint: interpret verse 5 in light of verses 3 and 4).Hide Answer
While the command to bear one another’s burdens refers to restoring the weak, the command to bear our own load has to do with being personally accountable to God.
Doing good is the central teaching of this passage. What kind of good deeds is meant here?Hide Answer
Verse 6 teaches us to provide for the material needs of God’s workers, who labor for our spiritual needs. In this sense, the good deeds are monetary. But from the rest of the passage, we can see that the references to good deeds may be applied to all areas of service and do not need to be limited to monetary help.
What is the golden rule here?Hide Answer
Why does Paul start the command with “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked”? What does this mean?Hide Answer
God’s principle of sowing and reaping is absolute. While man may fool himself with the thought that he can reap what he did not sow, God cannot be fooled.
What kind of a Christian is deceiving himself?
In what areas in your life should you start sowing to the Spirit rather than the will of your flesh?
According to verse 9, what are the possible hindrances of failing to do good?Hide Answer
We may sometimes “grow weary” and “lose heart” in doing good. Doing good requires sacrifice and persistence. Our good deeds may not always be appreciated. But we need to put our trust in the Lord’s promise and keep sowing patiently until the time of reaping.
Are you passive in doing good, or do you find every opportunity to do good? Think of concrete ways to start increasing your good deeds today.
What is the motivation of the false teachers?Hide Answer
1. Make a good showing in the flesh (12). This means putting on an appearance of godliness by observing the letter of the law but devoid of sincerity toward God.
2. Avoid suffering persecution for the cross of Christ (12). By appearing to conform to the tenets of Judaism, these people will not have to suffer the persecution of the unbelieving Jews.
3. Boast in the followers’ flesh (13). If the Galatian believers are circumcised, then these false teachers may boast that these new converts are their followers.
In what ways are we sometimes tempted to take the easy way out in being a Christian so as to avoid suffering persecution for the cross of Christ?
What does Paul mean that the world has been crucified to him and he to the world?Hide Answer
When the Bible speaks of “the world,” it sometimes refers to godless values, unbelief, and the desires of the flesh (1Cor 1:21; 2:12; Gal 4:3; Col 2:8; Jas 1:27; 4:4; 1Jn 2:15-17; 5:4,5,19). In this context, “the world” has do with the boasting that comes from human achievements. To Paul, what he used to value and boast about is now rubbish (Phil 3:3-9). To the world, the Paul that used to be is now dead.
Has the world been crucified to you, and you to the world?
Verse 15 brings out a strong contrast between legalism and faith in Christ Jesus. What is the contrast?Hide Answer
.Legalism pays attention to external achievements, but faith in Christ brings about the transformation of a person’s entire being (2Cor 5:17).
What “rule” is verse 16 referring to?Hide Answer
The rule as stated in verse 15, that the flesh counts for nothing, but a new being made through the Spirit
Why is the identity “Israel of God” particularly significant in view of the message of this epistle?Hide Answer
While the Judaizers may think that they are the Israel of God, in this epistle, Paul argues that those who are of faith are true descendants of Abraham and true Israel, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.
What are the marks of the Lord Jesus on Paul’s body (2Cor 4:10)?Hide Answer
The marks of the Lord Jesus on Paul’s body are his sufferings for Christ’s sake. Paul’s sufferings are a signature of his apostleship (2Cor 6:4-6; 11:23-30).