Today: [Galatians 6:] When and How to Correct Others: In the final chapter of Galatians Paul gives instructions regarding the correction of others. There will always be those around us who fall short of our perceived expectations and standards. What we do next and how we handle such situations bears heavily on what happens next in our own lives.
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[Gal 6:1-18 KJV] 1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. 12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit. Amen.
In addressing the errors of legalism and religious expectation Paul gives instruction in dealing with those who fall short. This is an issue it was necessary to address because where religious legalism is emphasized there will always be accusation and finger-pointing. It has been said that to the degree we level blame we establish our own guilt. To emphasize religious expectation and outward conformity to societal requirements leads to the de-escalation of the message of affirming grace. In v. 1 the problem is not one of brutal self-examination, but of finding fault in those around us who fall short of the standards, we may be exempting ourselves from for various reasons. Paul’s counsel is when you observe a brother or sister being overtaken in a fault (with a beam sticking out of your own eye) – if you consider yourselves to be spiritual restore that person in a spirit of meekness and humility. To fail to do so sets in motion a principle of reciprocity that will snare you in the same failings that you choose to identify in others selectively.
What God has called us to is not to laden people down with our recriminations and expectations but rather to bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. When we stand before God we are not going to be asked how many people did we correct or chastise, but did we learn how to love? The danger is (v. 3) if we think ourselves to “be something,” i.e., to be qualified to correct others and expose their faults – we risk deception. I love what Kenneth Copeland’s son said concerning life’s lessons he learned from his father – it wasn’t his job to correct anyone. Correction comes, and it has its place but by whom and under what circumstances? Many so-called prophets and high-minded people will not go to bed at night or sleep well unless they have corrected and excoriated someone. This is deception, and it is very addictive because it is our nature to accuse others all the while excusing ourselves. Our responsibility is to “prove our own work” (v. 4), and then our rejoicing is not in putting someone else down but in holding ourselves accountable before God. Thus (v. 5) shall every man bear the burden of his own shortcomings rather than covering them up in a thin veneer of religious finger pointing at those who fall far less short than we do.
In v. 6 the command of Paul is to communicate (or support) those that preach and teach the gospel. There was apparently a problem among the Galatians that they were not financially facilitating the gospel ministers in their midst. Paul states (v. 7) that it is a mark of insincerity to be reticent or reluctant to give in support of the furtherance of the gospel. In fact, Paul identifies reluctance to give as a mockery to God who says in His word whatsoever a man sows that shall he reap. What is He referring to? He is referring to finances. In other words, if your minister’s load is lightened by your generous support even so God will see to it that you are likewise lightened and blessed. Are you struggling financially? Check up on your giving. If you sow to the flesh (v. 8) or sacrifice only to your own satisfaction, then you will reap corruption. But if you so to the Spirit you will reap life everlasting. In context what is sowing to the Spirit? It is giving to the gospel. Do not let the field of the Spirit of God in your life lie fallow. It is there as a rich resource waiting on the seeds you sow to produce a harvest of blessing back in your life.
Of course when you speak of giving there is always the reply “I’m doing that, and it isn’t working…” to which Paul replies (v. 9) let us not be weary in well doing for in due season you will reap. Therefore (v. 10) take every opportunity to do good unto all men particularly those that are of the household of faith.
Paul begins to close his letter (v. 11) making note that he has written the entire missive in his own hand. If he was legally blind as some suggest how is it that he was able to do this? Writing the letter himself is unique in Paul’s writings and shows how passionately he feels about the issues he addresses among the Galatians churches. He can’t leave this to his secretaries Timothy or Titus; he gave these things his personal attention. His closing rebuke is that the legalizers in their midst were only putting on a show, placing requirements upon the Galatians that they themselves were not living up to. Let that be a lesson to you – if you gave your body to be burned and satisfied every demand of those with religious mentalities you would still fall short. Religious bigots do not tell you where you are going wrong in order to see you correct yourself. They tell you where you are going wrong to establish their own sense of self-importance. I’ve seen men and women for years submit to this kind of abuse. They are told “submit to us and obey, and one day you will be ready for God to use you…” Then you look in on them ten years later, and they are still being told the same thing: “Submit to us and obey and one day God will use you…” These people are glorying in the scorn and condemnation they heap upon others. Why would you allow yourself to be seduced by these dysfunctional leaders? Your responsibility (v.15) is to dispense with all such disputings and give yourself over to an exploration of what it is to be a new creation in Christ Jesus. As many as walk according to this rule will find God’s mercy, and the peace of God will be upon them.
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