Sunday, July 15, 2007

Galatians 6

6:1-3 Bear One Another's Burdens

6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

One place this fruit of the Spirit should come into play is in our dealings with our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially when they get caught up in sin. We have a duty to such a person. Those who walk by the Spirit should take action to restore him. This means to put him or her in the proper condition, like setting a broken arm. We want to restore this person to the way he or she was before she became caught in the transgression.

We should do this in a spirit of gentleness, not harshness. Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit (see 5:22). The one who does the correction should approach the other in meekness and gentleness. The one who does the correction must also watch themselves, so they won’t be tempted to commit the same sin.

We are to bear each others burdens. Burden here means a heavy weight, such as all Christians will have to bear at times, in the reproach of the world. There is no place for conceit, thinking you are better than others, but there is also no place for cowardice.

6:4-5 Bear Your Own Load

4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.

Conceit, or thinking oneself better than others, comes from testing your work or yourself against others. Paul said to test your own work. Test yourself against the standards set by Christ. Worry about how you are doing and don’t feel the need to put others down as not doing as well as you are.

Each will have to bear his own load. That seems a bit of a contradiction, doesn’t it? We are to bear the burdens of others, but each is to carry his own load? Here, load means something each person must carry for himself or herself, such as a knapsack.

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