Galatians

Do Not Give Up

“Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:6-10.

God is watching. He knows about your faithfulness. He knows about your generosity. The good that you do will be remembered by the one who really counts.

When Elijah was discouraged, and thought he was the only faithful one in Israel, God showed him that there were seven thousand who had not bowed their knees to Baal. God knew who was with Him and who wasn’t. And Jesus said that if anyone brought you a cup of water because you belonged to Christ would not lose his reward. (Mark 9:41). Small acts of kindness and things done in secret will be rewarded because God sees not only the act, but the heart behind it.

Bearing Another’s Burden

“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. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.” Galatians 6:1-5.

We fulfill the law of Christ when we bear one another’s burdens. In this context, it is a brother’s transgression, and your ability to restore him that is how you share his burden. But there is also a warning included, to not think too highly of yourself. After all, you, too, have your own burden. Sometimes you also need help.

The words that are translated from the original Greek text as “burden” and “load” are not the same words. The one translated as “burden” means “weight.” The one that is translated as “load” means “invoice.” From this we might surmise that although we are sometimes overwhelmed by the weight of temptation and need help, we all still have a price on us for our sin. Fortunately, it was paid by Christ on His cross. We are emulating Him when we bear another’s burden.

The Perfectionists

“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Galatians 5:7-15.

The Galatians had received the good news from Paul with joy. Christ had died to make them free, and all their sin was washed away. After Paul moves on, others come to tell them they still have to keep the law to REALLY be free. And until they do, they are still unworthy sinners. So they thought they could keep their freedom by being more perfect and keeping the law. But they could not be perfect. And their freedom became bondage to striving for perfection.

This is no longer about circumcision. No one is checking for that anymore. But it is still relevant because legalism can always find an issue to hang its hat on. There will always be imperfections that someone will demand must be eradicated. Then, that becomes the terms of your freedom instead of being forgiven by the Son of God. You cannot be free until you are faultless, even though you were justified by God Himself.

We fulfill the law when we love one another and serve one another, even if we do it imperfectly. Because, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9).

Fallen From Grace

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

“Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” Galatians 5:1-6

What we believe defines our spiritual reality. Believe the promises of God and you receive His kingdom. Replace those promises with something else, and you are severed from the kingdom. It is NOT a matter of failing to do works to be saved.

For many Christians this is an uncomfortable and unresolved subject. Can people who were once saved be lost? There are several places in the new testament that at least infer that it can happen. In this passage Paul says “you are severed from Christ” if you seek to be justified by works. Paul also talks about being cut off from Christ after being grafted in when he sent this warning to the Romans:

“Then you will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.” (Romans 11:19-23).

It all comes down to faith and unbelief. Christ died for the sins of the whole world. Believe, and you enter the invisible kingdom. Refuse to believe, or stop believing, and you leave it behind. As Jesus said, “The one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 11:24).

We Were Slaves

“I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:1-7.

We were all slaves to sin, but have been made free through Christ. Simarly, when Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, it was because of sin. But later, because of his relationship with God, he was not only set free, but made ruler of the Egyptian economy.

Even if you remain a slave in the physical world, if you believe in Christ, you will be free, destined to inherit the earth with Him. But if you are the one who holds the whip, and you are an unbeliever, you will eventually end up in the lake of fire.