From the recording Galatians

Galatians chapter 6 verses 1 to 6 - Sharing and Bearing 

Sowing & Reaping (6:7-10) 
Glorying & Crucifying (6:11-18) 

Living in the Strength of the Flesh (6:1-3) 

The Situation Specified (v1) 

 “if a man be overtaken in a fault” 

 “Overtaken”: “prolambano”: ‘taken by surprise, seized unawares, overtaken, entrapped’: note passive voice (Longenecker) 

 “Fault”: “paraptoma”: “fall beside” or “false step”: contains the idea of falling, not planned, “a mistake rather than a misdeed” (Ridderbos) 

 This is not a brother who persistently commits  particular sin, nor a brother who feels the only thing he has done wrong is to get caught! 

 The teaching only applies to the situation specified. 

 Here is a brother relying upon the strength of his flesh (5:16) and what was apparent to everyone but himself has happened: he has fallen. 

 It was never his deliberate intention to sin. It was inevitable. 

The Qualification Required (v1) 

General: “spiritual” cf. 5:22-23. 
Specific: “Spirit of meekness” cf. 5:23. Not weakness 

 The fall of the other Christian is not cause for gloating or pride. 

The Restoration Desired (v1) 

 “Restore”: “katartizo”: to put a thing in its appropriate condition. Used of the setting of fractured bones. Put a person back in his place. Fellowship with the Lord & then fellowship with His people. 

 When a believer falls into sin, out of fellowship, they are out of place. The believer loses & so does the assembly. “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it” (1Co12:26). 

The Reflection Advised (v1) 

 “considering thyself…” 

 Can see how the downfall has been due to living in the strength of the flesh. It has been as a result of ‘temptation’ – a principle which operates in the realm of the flesh (James 1:13-14). 

“Bear ye one another’s burdens” (v2) 

 “bear”: present imperative, don’t just do it once, keep at it. 

 Need to be close to share a burden 

 So many things can crowd out our life, work, family. Can become introspective & disinterested in others. 

 “burdens”:  what constitutes a burden in v2? Anything which has become too much for the believer to cope with & which can be shared by another. Anything which could put them under such pressure that they are tempted or enticed to sin. 

“Burdens are weights too heavy for individuals to shoulder & capable of being shared with other brethren in the fellowship” (Vos p110). 

“if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing” (v3) 

 to bear “one another’s burdens” takes humility. We will neither approach the brother of v1 in a spirit of meekness, nor will we share his burden if we are aloof & disinterested & proud. 

 Perhaps too it was a false sense of self confidence that led to the problem of verse 1 in the first place. 

Living by the Power of the Spirit (6:4-6) 

“let every man prove his own work” (v4) 

 As Christians we love to do what we’re not told to do & so often we fail to do what we are instructed to do. 

 “prove”: “dokimazo" : “to put to the test, examine, prove by testing” (Leon Morris).Note present imperative once again cf. “bear” (v2). 

 We love to examine, criticise & put to the test the service, ministry & preaching of others. Not what we are instructed to prove: “own work”. 

 This is instructed & is thus a matter of obedience. It is also a matter of prudence. One day Christ will ‘prove’ or ‘try’ our work (1Co3:13): “the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is,” – “try” = “dokimavzw” 

 What Christ will do absolutely at the bema we are exhorted to do now in anticipation. Illust: BMJ smoke detector experiment, given & fitted free, reduced deaths in 1st year, back a few years later deaths the same, never replaced the batteries! Didn’t expect the fire, weren’t prepared. Suggest we prime our smoke detectors. Anticipate the fire. 

 Need to examine our own service. Presume we are engaged in some! 

“For every man shall bear his own burden.” (v5) 

  Do we have a contradiction between verses 2 & 5? 

  Some point to the 2 diff. words for burden: 

“bavro"” (v2) 
“fortivon” (v5) 

 Suggest they are 2 different burdens. Certainly 2 different words that would itself seem to indicate 2 different burdens. 

 How is it the man in v2 requires help with his burden & yet the brother in v5 bears his burden alone? 

 Some then suggest that the burden of v5 is a lighter burden, a smaller burden, more easily handled and easier to carry, but it is also used by the Lord of the burdens placed upon men by the Pharisees (Matt23:4) “heavy burdens and grievous to be borne” also used of the burden carried by a whole ship (Acts27:10). 

 Whilst there is no doubt there is a difference in the burden being carried, maybe its not just as simple as the first burden is a heavy one and the second is a light one. 

 Observed that in vs1-3 the brother lives in the strength of his flesh. He’s tempted, he falls, he needs restored. 

 In vs4-6 the subject seems more to be that of service (v4) & hence we’ll move onto the subject of supporting the servant. Service for God can only ever be accomplished in the power of the Spirit. 

 Suggest that in vs4-6 we have a man living in the power of the Spirit. The ‘burden’ is the ‘burden’ of service, but the reason it can be borne, is not because it’s ‘so small’ but because it’s carried in the power of the Spirit. This word for “burden”: “fortivon” (v5) is the word used by the Lord in Matt11:30 of His burden, a burden borne together with Christ. 

 In service for Christ, we are in service with Christ. How often have we faced a task which we felt inadequate for only to discover that His grace is sufficient for me & that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. 

 The Lord has a task for you? You’re not up to the task? You’re right, you’re not, but Christ is! 

“Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth…” (v6) 

 There’s an assembly with a pastor! 

 Surely after all that we’ve said ~ service wouldn’t envisage trying to employ a pastor to take over your responsibilities? 

 Doesn’t refer to the practice of employing a pastor. Can’t do. If they had employed a pastor they would be forced to support him wouldn’t need to be told to do so. 

 Here is a brother who has found it necessary to reduce his commitment to secular employment to more fully dedicate himself to spiritual activities. 

 This truth is complimentary to, not contradictory to other NT passages concerning the teacher: 

1Tim3:1-2: Teaching is undertaken by the “ejpiskophv”: ‘bishop’ or ‘overseer’ 
Titus1:5-9: The ‘elder’ is equivalent to the ‘overseer’ who teaches & there are a plurality of elders (1:5) 
Acts20:17,28: Elders equivalent to overseers, there is a plurality of the same in each assembly. Not one man over many assemblies, nor one man over one assembly, but many men in one assembly.

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Yours by Grace in Christ

Dr J Stewart Gillespie