This 10-day devotional reading looks into what Paul teaches about supporting the brother who sins and the brother who labours for the Lord. He also shares truths about false teachers and pride in the christian life.
Devotional Reading: Galatians 6:1
- The brother who sinned here is someone who had a lapse in judgment and slipped or stumbled into sin. This is not a case of intentional, habitual, willful sinning.
- “Restore” (καταρτίζω katartizō - Present Active Imperative here) was used in secular Greek for setting fractured or dislocated bones. In the NT, it was used in the sense of refitting, repairing, or mending something broken such as nets.
- We, who are in a position of relational and moral responsibility, are commanded to help get back on track (restore) our brothers who have gone astray.
- The command to restore brothers who stumbled into sin requires 3 essential qualities on our part as restorers:
1. spirituality - an established moral integrity & credibility before the person concerned.
2. gentleness - an exercise of patience and grace upon the person while showing the gravity of the sin committed (its effects and consequences).3. carefulness - an acknowledgment of your own imperfections, weaknesses, and tendencies, and your own vulnerability to temptations.
Devotional Reading: Galatians 6:2
- In view of the context (a brother with a lapse of judgment who slipped into sin), the picture here is of a brother who, most probably, has been struggling with a temptation that has overtaken him and caused him to sin. This is obviously a case of a brother needing help to be restored and overcome his temptations by means of counseling, guidance, and accountability.
- The Law of Christ (His whole teaching) is summed up in Loving God wholeheartedly and Loving others like you would yourself (Matt. 22:36-40; John 13:34-35; 15:12; 1 John 3:23). By helping others in their times of need, we fulfill this Law.
- There are life’s burdens (especially when it comes to weaknesses) that we cannot deal with solely on our own. Many times we will need the help of caring & mature brothers around us… giving us counsel and holding us accountable. This is why we need to have friends (small groups) around us who are ready to help… and we should also be sensitive to the needs of friends around us, ready to help.
Devotional Reading: Galatians 6:3-5
- There are two problems (or manifestations of pride) that may keep a person from helping others (bearing one another’s burdens)
1. when he feels superior with his self-worth (v.3, when he thinks of himself as more important than he really is) and,2. when he feels superior with his service (vs.4, when he compares his work with that of others)
- We should never deceive ourselves into thinking that we have no need of others or that others cannot cope without us, or that we have more important things to do than help others with their “insignificant” problems (vs.3).
- Since we each have our own personal loads to carry and tasks to carry out (vs.5), we should never (which in most cases is done in contempt) compare our service to that of others (vs.4).
- Feeling we are better than others because of some commitment we made or a work we have done is very much un-Christian(like) and goes against what God wants to see in us, which is humility. The attitude and pride that comes with the superficial commitment or work is a clear manifestation of immaturity.
Devotional Reading: Galatians 6:6
- A different example of burden-bearing is given here: meeting the needs of those who preach & teach God’s Word (Pastors & teachers).
- In the Jewish context, the teachers were paid through the taxes with which the Jews paid to the government. The Gentiles were used to paying fees for rendered services. Voluntarily giving to the one who taught or preached to them was radically new & different.
- The support for full-time ministers of the Word is something very much neglected or taken very lightly by most churches today. While it is true that there are ministers who do not take their jobs seriously and may not deserve more blessings for their mediocre efforts, there are also those who seriously sacrifice much time and effort to make sure that their efforts glorify God. These are those who are worthy of double honor (1Timothy 5:17).
- “Share all good things” is not confined to monetary blessings alone. “All good things” can take many forms of generosity, respect, honor, and love.
- The full-time ministers shouldn’t have to demean themselves by begging or trying to get the people to take pity on them. Christians ministered to and blessed should willingly grab every opportunity to bless ministers.
Devotional Reading: Galatians 6:7-8
- While the principle of sowing and reaping here can be applied to the whole discussion of how we treat and help those in need of brotherly attention (vs.1-6), it more specifically points here to the previous verse -our treatment (financial support and all other aspects) of ministers.
- To reap “eternal life” here does not refer to earning salvation, but rather to reaping blessings that last for eternity.
- When one puts his efforts and resources into gratifying his earthly desires, everything he gets back is temporal and will eventually be gone. But when he invests his efforts and resources into ministering and supporting the ministry (financially and thru other forms), his returns (ROI) last forever.
- A Christian who focuses his life on temporal things is building something that will last only for a time.
Devotional Reading: Galatians 6:9-10
- “grow weary” comes from an expression describing a bowstring that has become unstrung.
- Do not be discouraged (grow weary) and become of no use for God’s ministry (unstrung bowstring).
- It is easy to be discouraged when we don’t see the fruits of our labors. But God promises that in His proper time we will reap, here now in part, and later on in full in heaven.
- We should grab every opportunity to do good, first to Christians, then to everyone else with whom we have the chance to do so.
- Paul emphasizes his conclusion with large letters. In these verses he describes the false teachers:
1. They were out to please men (vs.12a)
2. They feared suffering for the Lord (vs.12c)
3. They required from others what they did not practice themselves (vs.13a)
4. They boast about their accomplishments (vs.13b)5. They focus on outward conformity (vs.13b)
- The forms of hypocrisy of false teachers described here are practices and attitudes many times seen among Christians. One doesn’t have to be an outright false teacher to be guilty of any of these.
- Let’s be watchful and strive to focus more on:
1. glorifying God not pleasing men
2. upholding truth despite opposition
3. keeping our integrity, not recklessly contradicting the standards we teach
4. being humble, not boastful of what we do5. desiring spiritual transformation rather than mere conformity to traditions
Devotional Reading: Galatians 6:14
- The Judaizers were so proud of their accomplishments and how they followed traditions (selectively that is, in this case). They were so sure that in addition to believing Christ, this was the way to earn favor with God and be saved.
- There is nothing we can boast about, in terms of service, good works, or achievements, with regards to faith. Even our very strength to carry out what we do comes from God.
- While Christ’s sacrificial death is one thing about our faith we can boast about, it also humbles us completely. There was nothing we did or could have done to earn salvation. Not only are we saved from sin’s penalty but also from it’s power. We are incapable of genuine ministry apart from Christ (John 15:5). And, it is only in Him that we are able to face difficulties (Phil.4:13). Truly, our boasts can only be of the cross.
- When we think of what Christ’s sacrifice means to us and who He is in our lives, the world becomes nothing to us. What the world can offer, in exchange for submission to Christ, is of no value (like dead or crucified) anymore. Even we are regarded by the world as nothing when we practice our faith (vs.14b).
Devotional Reading: Galatians 6:15-16
- Paul emphasizes that external conformity is nothing. What’s important is salvation and becoming a new creation through the new birth (vs.15).
- In contrast to the curse in the beginning (1:6-9), he ends his letter with a conditional blessing (vs.16).
- Outward conformity (or good works) is nothing to God when it comes to salvation and it’s all the new birth we have through belief in Christ (vs.15). This is somewhat of the same emphasis also in the Christian life. While outward conformity to Christian standards is important, what matters to God most is the transformation that should happen internally.
- Paul wished peace and mercy upon those who taught the truth. We should value the truth and bless, honor, and pray for those who uphold and teach the truth.
Devotional Reading: Galatians 6:17-18
- As Paul appealed to them to stop the arguments and controversies, he was in a way telling them to follow the truth and uphold it.
- The marks he speaks of in vs.17 most probably refer to scars from the wounds he received when he was persecuted. His point here was, he obtained these scars because he never tried to please people. Rather, he taught even when the truth offended his hearers.
- In upholding the truth, we should never give room to false teachings or anything that can corrupt the mind. We should be vigilant against these and put a stop to it the first instance we see them in the church. These can easily distract us from the important things that need to be done.
- The truth will not always be pleasant to others. All sorts of negative reactions can be thrown at us but we should never give up. God’s truth will always offend those who oppose Him, reason why we can never be people-pleasers if we want to please God.
photo credit to: cm_dasilva