FREEDOM TO HELP OTHERS
Lord, make me sensitive to the needs of others.
Read GALATIANS 6
Doing Good to All
6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, 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 they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever 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 the New Creation
11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh 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 keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to[b] the Israel of God.
17 From now on, 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 and sisters. Amen.
a Galatians 6:14 Or whom
b Galatians 6:16 Or rule and to
New International Version (NIV)
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“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17). Eventually, he will make everything new (Rev. 21:5).
The Bible encourages God’s people to cast their burdens onto their God (Psa. 55:22; 1 Pet. 5:7). So, in urging the Galatian believers to bear each other’s burdens, Paul suggests that they be “God-like” to each other (F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Galatians, 260–261). As the popular proverb goes, “a burden shared is a burden halved.” The early church understood how this worked in practice (Acts 2:44,45). Paul says that this attitude fulfills the law of Christ, echoing his earlier exhortation in 5:13,14. Again, the Christian life of freedom is not about unfettered license to have fun but rather a life regulated by Jesus’ teachings minus the Law.
Verse 5 appears to contradict what Paul has just said in verse 2, but verse 4 speaks of our responsibility before God, and verse 5 takes the argument further by saying that all believers must give an account of their lives to God (cf. 1 Cor. 3:12–15). While we can be secure in our salvation, we may not ignore God’s requirements. Christ has freed us from sin and death so that we can serve in love, bear fruit, and help others.
Verses 7–10 introduce the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. Believers can sow toward the flesh to satisfy the old, sinful nature—or toward the Spirit for a far better result. For Paul, the former is no longer an option because in identifying with the crucified Christ he considers himself dead to the world and its desires. As a manifestation of sowing in response to the Spirit, Paul urges the Galatians to continue doing good to all people, especially fellow believers. Sometimes we can get discouraged because crime, political corruption, and overall deceit seem to be rewarded, but no one can escape the consequences of this particular spiritual law.
As a new creation, let us show this by keeping in step with the Spirit. Consider how you can live in Christian freedom and sow well.
Lord, teach me to be ever mindful of the kinds of seeds I sow on a regular basis. Teach me the daily dynamics of sowing and reaping.