Galatians 6: 1 – 10 Doing good to all

Galatians 6: 1 – 10 Doing good to all

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to somebody else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

*       *       *

This passage is a collection of thoughts on how the Galatians – and all Christians – can put their faith into practice.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

We are all likely to sin, and there are many different ways of sinning. Here, Paul seems to be talking about sin that is so obvious it has come to the attention of the church family. Paul advises that the people to deal with that sin are those who live by the Spirit. That makes sense. Sin is turning aside from God; ‘missing the mark’. The best people to help a sinner turn back to God are those who are used to listening to the Holy Spirit, thereby discerning God’s will. Their discernment identifies the right direction; their obedience in their own life sets a good example.

Notice that Paul says “restore that person gently”. The sinner is not to be condemned but restored; moreover, their restoration is to be done gently.

Paul also warns those who work to restore the sinner. “But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” The temptation may be to self-righteousness; or pride; or to imitate the sinner. Or if the sin has been divisive – adultery, for example – there may be a temptation to take sides. Anyone working to restore a sinner must firstly focus on discerning what the Holy Spirit is saying about the situation, and secondly be aware of the risk of temptation.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.” As we carry each other’s burdens, we are imitating what Jesus did for us. When I studied John’s gospel, it seemed to me that you could sum up its teaching as “Follow Jesus” and “Love each other”. That’s what Paul is saying here. And, of course, he is using that word ‘law’ again. This whole letter has been about freedom from the law. Here Paul is saying “You don’t have a long list of actions that are forbidden and actions that are mandatory; you have a Lord to follow. His law is that you should love each other.”

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

‘Sowing to please the flesh,’ means giving human desires and drives priority over God’s will. If we do that, those desires will mislead us and ultimately imprison and destroy us. ‘Sowing to please the Spirit’ means paying attention to the indwelling Holy Spirit and being obedient to what he tells us about God’s will. As long as we are sowing to please the Spirit, we will experience the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. We will experience love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5: 22 – 23)

“Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Is it possible to become weary of doing good? Paul evidently thinks so. And what is his solution? “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” It is in practical care and concern for each other that we grow spiritually, and retain our enthusiasm.

Prayer

Heavenly Father

Thank you for these words of Saint Paul. Please help me to take the opportunities I have to do good to all people. Please help me to be less selfish.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

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