"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. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load."
The main verse I want to focus on is Galatians 6:2:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
One of my absolute favorite Christian bands is Casting Crowns. I just love their songwriters! I identify with the words of so many of their songs. One particular favorite is, We Are The Body. It is a song that describes several scenarios where people find themselves in church only to feel unwelcome. One verse describes a girl who happens into church, and there are other girls making fun of her. Another describes a weary out-of-town businessman who slips into church and people look at him with judgment!
The chorus asks, “if we are the body,” than basically, why are we not offering what Jesus would offer - love? If we really are the body, and, friends, we are, than why “aren’t His arms reaching, His hands healing, His words teaching, His feet going and His love showing them there is a way?” Have you heard that song? If we are honest, who has not judged, accused, or pointed a finger? Once again you will find me at the front of that line. However, as always, there is hope. Because God is not one who condemns us, He provides a better way! There is a better way, and that is what Paul is saying in this passage!
Before we get into the passage, a note about Galatians: Galatians is the only letter Paul specifically addressed to a group of churches. Galatia was not a city, but a region of Asia Minor, which included many towns. The recipients of the letter were believers, but like many believers today, there were a lot of legalists in the church. Legalism teaches that justification or sanctification depends upon a person’s own efforts. Matthew Henry Commentary says that this belief is the “most persistent enemy of the gospel of grace!”
This is an area where God has really worked on me! I am a rule follower! I love rules. I love boundaries. I have no problem with rules. There are people who say, “rules are meant to be broken,” well, my thought is, “shame on them!” I viewed pretty much everything simply black and white.
That all changed when I broke a rule. I fell! I fell hard! I was humbled, and I realized that it is impossible to always obey the rules because I had a flesh, and I am weak, and I get tempted. All of a sudden being a legalist was not going to work for me. I learned to not only understand the full impact of grace, but I learned to devote my life to ensuring anyone who will listen to me to understand it as well. Grace is not a license to sin. Paul teaches to use the Christian liberty that grace offers properly and not to abuse it.
Galatians 6: 1 and 2:
“Brothers, 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. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
As believers, we must be spiritually equipped to be available to minister restoration to others who have fallen or are bound by sin. The Greek word for “restore” is katartizo. It was a word the Greeks used to mean “setting broken bones.” Paul, in 1 Corinthians, refers to the Church as the Body with different body parts that are all necessary.
I love this thought. Just like if you have a broken bone, you would make haste and get that bone set? Right? Well, this is the same thought. If someone is “broken,” if someone is “fallen,” we must make haste and restore – gently. And we do this by exercising compassion and bearing one another’s burdens. Through Christ, we have been freed from the Law of Moses, but we are under the law of Christ. The law of Christ is the law of LOVE!
Speaking of love, I absolutely love the way this Commentary describes this passage:
“Moral failure in the church should not be a surprise, nor should it be considered fatal to the life of the church. What is important is the church’s response when such failure occurs. The church may respond with harsh condemnation under the law. That response will crush the sinner and divide the church. That seems to have been what was happening in the churches in Galatia. The zealots for the law were merciless to sinners. But Paul wants to show that the occasion of sin is the opportunity for Spirit-led people to display the fruit of the Spirit in order to bring healing to the sinner and unity in the church.”
“In order to bring healing to the sinner, we must have a compassionate view of the one who has sinned. Paul does not define the kind of sin, but he does describe the consequence of sin. He views the sinner as one who is caught in a sin. When a person sins, other people are hurt, other people are victims of that sin. But we must remember that sinners themselves are also in some sense victims of sin. Abusers have also been abused. They have been overtaken, ambushed and seized by sin. Paul is not excusing the sinner of personal responsibility. But he is recognizing the terrible captivating force of sin. Jesus said it best, ‘Everyone who sins is a slave to sin’ (John 8:34). When we view moral offenders as those who are enslaved and entrapped, we have a compassionate attitude toward them. We will want to help them break the bondage of sin over their life.”
Friends! We may be the “only church” people will go to. We may be the “only Bible” people read. We must have a tender heart to anyone and everyone who is hurting or broken or struggling, no matter what they are doing. My favorite line of We Are The Body is “Jesus paid much too high a price for US to choose who should come!” AMEN!!!
Galatians 3: 5:
“For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.”
The note on this passage says, “Be sober in your self-assessment. Employ only Jesus’ life and teachings as your standard for your judgment, not the performance of others!” Wow! That is great! That is sobering! That last verse, “each one shall bear his own load” is talking about the day, that one day, when we will all face God. That day will come when it is just you and I, alone, in front of God.
So what’s the bottom line, friends? We all fall short! We all have sinned! Who can cast a stone? So let’s ask the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts, to have compassion and tenderness towards one another, and to pray that others will have compassion and tenderness towards us when we fall!
I love Dr. Phil (okay, true confessions, I watch him sometimes while I am making dinner!) Dr. Phil always says, “It’s tough out there, but we can DO this!” How about it? We CAN do this! Hallelujah! Amen.