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The Law Of Christ

Paul has spent the entire letter he has written to the Galatian churches as a warning to not allow false teacher to add the burden of the Law to their lives now that they follow Christ.  Today Paul continues the last few thoughts he has on how life as a follower of Christ should look like.

It will seem odd that Paul would talk about the Law of Christ when he has spent the previous five chapters fighting against any sort of law being placed on those who follow Christ.  Today we will take a look at what that means in our lives.  First, though, let’s deal with the last verse of chapter 5.

Paul says to the Galatians, Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.  The previous sentence that Paul has written was that if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  Here, in verse 26, he shows us a couple of items that have no place in the Spirit led life.  It’s easy to become puffed up with ourselves.  This is the type of life that following the false teachers led to.  If you feel like you are meeting the life that these law giving teachers say that you should live, then you will measure everyone and become prideful.  “Hey, look at me, I’m keeping the law better than so and so.”  At the same time, you may become envious because someone is in a better situation than you.  Trying to keep the law through will power and the flesh leads to pride and envy, which actually contradict God’s law.  So, we can see, that it actually leads to a life of sin.

Paul next shows us what to do rather than fill ourselves with pride and envy.  Brethren, even if anyone is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself so that you will not be tempted.  What is our job at followers of Christ?  To restore others to a relationship with Christ.  If we see our brothers and sisters in Christ sinning, it’s our job to help them come back to Christ.  Those who are spiritual, which I believe means living and walking by the Spirit, are to help restore them.  How?  With a spirit of gentleness.  We probably all know people who would want to do this with a heavy hand.  Paul wants this to be done delicately.  He also adds a warning that we should look after ourselves so that we will not be tempted.  I think this refers back to the previous verse where he says let us not become boastful.  We should not feel proud that we have not succumbed to sin while restoring someone.

What does this lead to?  Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.  I think this goes a bit against our American, Lone Ranger type of Christianity.  First, we don’t really like for anyone to know what our burdens are.  Second, our thought too often is that other persons stuff isn’t really our business.  Paul shoots this down.  We are each other’s business.  It’s my job to help support you and bear your burdens so that you will not sin.  Same for you with me.  This fulfills the law of Christ.  We are all in this thing together.

What we must in this passage, if we haven’t yet, is that Paul  is attacking pride.  In the law of Christ, there is no room for pride.  Verse three says For if anyone things he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  That is what the false teaching Judaizers lead to.  They lead to people thinking that they are really something.  They are deceived.  They lead to self-deception.

Verse 4 almost, if we’re not careful, sounds like Paul contradicts what he wrote in verse 3.  But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.  What I think Paul is getting at is that we cannot compare ourselves to one another regarding what we do in Christ.  I must not compare myself to you, which could lead to pride.  Instead, I must examine myself and let that stand on its own.  Does Paul want me to really boast about this?  I don’t think so.  The only thing we can boast in is the work of Christ that is happening.  Not in anything we are doing ourselves.

Verse 5, then, sounds like a contradiction to verse 2.  For each one will bear his own load.  Is Paul now saying that we stand on our own?  No.  He is saying that we are not measured against anyone else for our sin.  We alone are found responsible for it.  We bear that the responsibility for it when we stand before Christ, not in comparison to our brother.

Takeaways

1.  Adding law to following Christ results in pride.

2.  The law of Christ reduces burdens, doesn’t add to them.

3.  We must work to restore our brothers and sister and help them overcome sin in their lives.

4.  We have nothing to boast in, other than Christ.

5.  We must not compare ourselves to others regarding our spiritual lives.

 

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