Galatians Chapter Six
Here is the answer to those who then sought, and now seek, to bring in law for sanctification and as a guide: the strength and the rule for holiness are in the Spirit. The law does not give the Spirit. Moreover (for it is evident that these pretensions of observing the law had given liberty to the pride of the flesh) the Christian was not to be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another. If any one, through carelessness, committed some fault, the Christian's part was to restore this member of Christ, dear to Christ and to the Christian, according to the love of Christ, in a spirit of meekness, remembering that he himself mig ht fall. If they wished for a law, here was one: to bear each other's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ (that is, the rule of all His own life here below). It is not by boasting, when one is nothing, that true glory was acquired. It is but deceiving oneself, says the apostle, in language which, by its simplicity, pours unspeakable contempt on those who did so. These legalists boasted much of themselves, imposed burdens on others; and investing themselves with their Judaic glory-that which was a burden to others, and one which they did not help them to bear, was vain-glory to themselves-they gloried in their Judaism, and in making others subject to it. But what was their work? Had they laboured really for the Lord? In no wise. Let them prove their own work; then they would have reason to glory in what they had done themselves, if there was any christian work of which they had been the instruments. It certainly would not be in what they were doing then, for it was another who had done the work of Christ in Galatia. And after all, every one should bear his own burden.
The apostle adds a few practical words. He who was taught should, in temporal things, succour those who taught him. Furthermore, although grace was perfect and redemption complete, so that the believer received the Holy Ghost as a seal thereof, God had attached infallible consequences to a man's walk, be it after the flesh or after the Spirit. The effects followed the cause; and they could not mock God by making a profession of grace or Christianity, if they did not walk according to its spirit, as led, in a word, by the Holy Ghost, who is its practical power. Of the flesh they would reap corruption; of the Spirit, life everlasting. But, as Christians, they must have patience in order to reap, and not grow weary of well-doing: the harvest was sure. Let believers, then, do good to all, especially to those of the house of God.
Paul had written this letter with his own hand-an unusual thing for him. He generally employed others (as Tertius for the epistle to the Romans), dictating to them that which he wished to say, adding the benediction with his own hand, as certifying the correctness of that which was written (1 Cor. 16:21; 2 Thess. 3:17): a remarkable proof of the importance that the apostle attached to his writings, and that he did not send them forth as ordinary letters from man to man, but as being furnished with an authority that required the use of such precautions. They were carefully invested with the apostolic authority. In this case, full of sorrow, and feeling that the foundations had been overthrown, he wrote the whole with his own hand. Accordingly, in saying this, he returns immediately to the subject which had caused him to do so.
Those who desired to make a fair show after the flesh constrained the Gentiles to be circumcised, in order to avoid the persecution that attached to the doctrine of the cross-to free salvation by Christ. The circumcised were Jews, of a religion known and received even in this world; but to become the disciples of a crucified man, a man who had been hung as a malefactor, and to confess Him as the only Saviour-how could the world be expected to receive it? But the reproach of the cross was the life of Christianity; the world was judged, it was dead in its sin; the prince of the world was judged, he had only the empire of death, he was (with his followers) the impotent enemy of God. In the presence of such a judgment, Judaism was honourable wisdom in the eyes of the world. Satan would make himself a partisan of the doctrine of one only God; and those who believed in it join themselves to their former adversaries, the worshippers of devils, in order to withstand this new enemy who cast reproach on the whole of fallen humanity, denouncing them as rebels against God, and as devoid of the life which was manifested in Jesus only. The cross was the sentence of death upon nature; and the Jew in the flesh was offended at it, even more than the Gentile, because he lost the glory with which he had been invested beforeothers on account of his knowledge of the only true God.
The carnal heart did not like to suffer, and to lose the good opinion of the world, in which a certain measure of light was accepted or tolerated by people of sense (and by sincere persons when there was no greater light to be had), provided they did not set up pretensions that condemned everybody, and judged everything which the flesh desired and relied on for its importance. A compromise which more or less accepts the flesh-which does not judge it as dead and lost, which, in however small a degree, will acknowledge that the world and the flesh are its basis-the world will accept. It cannot hope to strive against the truth that judges the whole conscience, and it will accept a religion that tolerates its spirit and adapts itself to the flesh, which it desires to spare even when painful sacrifices must be made; provided only that the flesh itself be not entirely set aside. Man will make himself a fakeer-sacrifice his life-provided that it is self that does it, and that God shall not have done the whole in grace, condemning the flesh as incapable of well doing, having nothing good in itself.
The circumcised did not observe the law-that would have been too wearisome, but they desired to glory in proselytes to their religion. In the world the apostle has seen nothing but vanity and sin and death; the spirit of the world, of the carnal man, was morally degraded, corrupt, and guilty, boasting in self, because ignorant of God. Elsewhere he had seen grace, love, purity, obedience, devotedness to the Father's glory and to the happiness of poor sinners. The cross declared the two things: it told what man was; it told what God was, and what holiness and love were. But it was the utmost degradation in the eyes of the world, and put down all its pride. It was another who had accomplished it at the cost of His own life, bearing all possible sufferings; so that the apostle could give free course to all the affections of his heart without boasting himself of anything; on the contrary, forgetting himself. It is not self that we glory in when we look at the cross of Christ: one is stript of self. It was He who hung upon that cross who was great in Paul's eyes. The world which had crucified Him was thus seen by the apostle in its true character; the Christ who had suffered on the cross in His likewise. In that cross would the apostle glory, happy, by this means to be dead to the world, and to have the world ended, crucified, put to shame, as it deserved to be, for his heart. Faith in the crucified Son of God overcomes the world.
To the believer the world has its true character; for, in fact, in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value (all that has passed away with a dead Christ), but a new creature, according to which we estimate everything as God estimates it. It is to such, the true children of God, that the apostle wishes peace. It was not Israel circumcised after the flesh that was the Israel of God. If there were any of that people who were circumcised in heart, who gloried in the cross according to the sentiments of the new creature, those were the Israel of God. Moreover every true Christian was of them according to the spirit of his walk.
Finally, let no one trouble him with regard to his ministry. He bore the stigmata of the Lord. It is known that marks were printed on a slave with a hot iron to indicate the person to whom he belonged. The wounds which the apostle had received, fully shewed who was his Master. Let his right then to call himself the servant of Christ be no more questioned. Touching appeal from one whose heart was wounded at finding his service to the Master whom he had loved called in question! Moreover, Satan, who imprinted those marks, ought indeed to recognise them-those beautiful initials of Jesus.
The apostle desires that grace be with them (according to the divine love that animated him) as souls dear to Christ, whatever their state might be. But there is no outpouring of heart in greetings affectionately addressed to Christians. It was a duty-a duty of love-which he fulfilled; but for the rest, what bonds of affection could he have with persons who sought their glory in the flesh, and who accepted that which dishonoured Jesus and which weakened and even annulled the glory of His cross? Without any wish of his, the current of affection was checked. The heart turned to the dishonoured Christ, although loving those that were His in Him. This is the real feeling contained in the last verses of this epistle.
In Galatians we have indeed Christ living in us, in contrast with the flesh, or I still living in flesh. But, as systematic truth, we have neither the believer in Christ nor Christ in the believer. We have the Christian's practical state at the end of chapter 2. Otherwise the whole epistle is a judgment of all return to Judaism, as identical with heathen idolatry. The law and man in the flesh were correlative; law came in between the promise and Christ, the Seed; was a most useful testing of man, but when really known putting him to death, and condemning him. Now this was fully met in grace in the cross, the end in death of man in flesh, of sin, in Christ made sin. All return to law was giving up both promise and the work of grace in Christ, and going back again to flesh proved to be sin and lost, as if there could be relationship with God in it, denying grace, and denying even the true effect of law, and denying man's estate proved in the cross. It was heathenism. And days and years, etc., took man up as alive in flesh, was not the end of the old man in the cross in grace. We have Christ as our life thereupon, or death would leave us of course hopeless. But we have not the christian condition, we in Christ and Christ in us. It is the discussion of the work that brings us there, and where man is, and of vital importance in this respect. Man in the flesh is wholly gone from all relationship with God, and none can be formed: there must be a new creation.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Galatians》
Exhortations to meekness, gentleness, and humility. (1-5) To kindness towards all men, especially believers. (6-11) The Galatians guarded against the judaizing teachers. (12-15) A solemn blessing. (16-18)
Commentary on Galatians 6:1-5
(Read Galatians 6:1-5)
We are to bear one another's burdens. So we shall fulfil the law of Christ. This obliges to mutual forbearance and compassion towards each other, agreeably to his example. It becomes us to bear one another's burdens, as fellow-travellers. It is very common for a man to look upon himself as wiser and better than other men, and as fit to dictate to them. Such a one deceives himself; by pretending to what he has not, he puts a cheat upon himself, and sooner or later will find the sad effects. This will never gain esteem, either with God or men. Every one is advised to prove his own work. The better we know our own hearts and ways, the less shall we despise others, and the more be disposed to help them under infirmities and afflictions. How light soever men's sins seem to them when committed, yet they will be found a heavy burden, when they come to reckon with God about them. No man can pay a ransom for his brother; and sin is a burden to the soul. It is a spiritual burden; and the less a man feels it to be such, the more cause has he to suspect himself. Most men are dead in their sins, and therefore have no sight or sense of the spiritual burden of sin. Feeling the weight and burden of our sins, we must seek to be eased thereof by the Saviour, and be warned against every sin.
Commentary on Galatians 6:6-11
(Read Galatians 6:6-11)
Many excuse themselves from the work of religion, though they may make a show, and profess it. They may impose upon others, yet they deceive themselves if they think to impose upon God, who knows their hearts as well as actions; and as he cannot be deceived, so he will not be mocked. Our present time is seed time; in the other world we shall reap as we sow now. As there are two sorts of sowing, one to the flesh, and the other to the Spirit, so will the reckoning be hereafter. Those who live a carnal, sensual life, must expect no other fruit from such a course than misery and ruin. But those who, under the guidance and influences of the Holy Spirit, live a life of faith in Christ, and abound in Christian graces, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. We are all very apt to tire in duty, particularly in doing good. This we should carefully watch and guard against. Only to perseverance in well-doing is the reward promised. Here is an exhortation to all to do good in their places. We should take care to do good in our life-time, and make this the business of our lives. Especially when fresh occasions offer, and as far as our power reaches.
Commentary on Galatians 6:12-15
(Read Galatians 6:12-15)
Proud, vain, and carnal hearts, are content with just so much religion as will help to keep up a fair show. But the apostle professes his own faith, hope, and joy; and that his principal glory was in the cross of Christ. By which is here meant, his sufferings and death on the cross, the doctrine of salvation by a crucified Redeemer. By Christ, or by the cross of Christ, the world is crucified to the believer, and he to the world. The more we consider the sufferings of the Redeemer from the world, the less likely shall we be to love the world. The apostle was as little affected by its charms, as a beholder would be by any thing which had been graceful in the face of a crucified person, when he beholds it blackened in the agonies of death. He was no more affected by the objects around him, than one who is expiring would be struck with any of the prospects his dying eyes might view from the cross on which he hung. And as to those who have truly believed in Christ Jesus, all things are counted as utterly worthless compared with him. There is a new creation; old things are passed away, and new views and dispositions are brought in under the regenerating influences of God the Holy Spirit. Believers are brought into a new world, and being created in Christ Jesus unto good works, are formed to a life of holiness. It is a change of mind and heart, whereby we are enabled to believe in the Lord Jesus, and to live to God; and where this inward, practical religion is wanting, outward professions, or names, will never stand in any stead.
Commentary on Galatians 6:16-18
(Read Galatians 6:16-18)
A new creation to the image of Christ, as showing faith in him, is the greatest distinction between one man and another, and a blessing is declared on all who walk according to this rule. The blessings are, peace and mercy. Peace with God and our conscience, and all the comforts of this life, as far as they are needful. And mercy, an interest in the free love and favour of God in Christ, the spring and fountain of all other blessings. The written word of God is the rule we are to go by, both in its doctrines and precepts. May his grace ever be with our spirit, to sanctify, quicken, and cheer us, and may we always be ready to maintain the honour of that which is indeed our life. The apostle had in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus, the scars of wounds from persecuting enemies, for his cleaving to Christ, and the doctrine of the gospel. The apostle calls the Galatians his brethren, therein he shows his humility and his tender affection for them; and he takes his leave with a very serious prayer, that they might enjoy the favour of Christ Jesus, both in its effects and in its evidences. We need desire no more to make us happy than the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle does not pray that the law of Moses, or the righteousness of works, but that the grace of Christ, might be with them; that it might be in their hearts and with their spirits, quickening, comforting, and strengthening them: to all which he sets his Amen; signifying his desire that so it might be, and his faith that so it would be.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Galatians》
 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.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in any fault — By surprise, ignorance, or stress of temptation.
Ye who are spiritual — Who continue to live and walk by the Spirit.
Restore such an one — By reproof, instruction, or exhortation. Every one who can, ought to help herein; only in the spirit of meekness - This is essential to a spiritual man; and in this lies the whole force of the cure.
Considering thyself — The plural is beautifully changed into the singular. Let each take heed to himself.
Lest thou also be tempted — Temptation easily and swiftly passes from one to another; especially if a man endeavours to cure another without preserving his own meekness.
 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Bear ye one another's burdens — Sympathize with, and assist, each other, in all your weaknesses, grievances, trials.
And so fulfil the law of Christ — The law of Christ (an uncommon expression) is the law of love: this our Lord peculiarly recommends; this he makes the distinguishing mark of his disciples.
 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
If any one think himself to be something — Above his brethren, or by any strength of his own.
When he is nothing, he deceiveth himself — He alone will bear their burdens, who knows himself to be nothing.
 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
But let every man try his own work — Narrowly examine all he is, and all he doeth.
And then he shall have rejoicing in himself — He will find in himself matter of rejoicing, if his works are right before God.
And not in another — Not in glorying over others.
 For every man shall bear his own burden.
For every one shall bear his own burden — ln that day shall give an account of himself to God.
 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Let him that is taught impart to him that teacheth all such temporal good things as he stands in need of.
 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
God is not mocked — Although they attempt to mock him, who think to reap otherwise than they sow.
 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.
For he that now soweth to the flesh — That follows the desires of corrupt nature. Shall hereafter of the flesh - Out of this very seed.
Reap corruption — Death everlasting.
But he that soweth to the Spirit — That follows his guidance in all his tempers and conversation.
Shall of the Spirit — By the free grace and power of God, reap life everlasting.
 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
But let us not be weary in well doing — Let us persevere in sowing to the Spirit.
For in due season — When the harvest is come, we shall reap, if we faint not.
 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Therefore as we have opportunity — At whatever time or place, and in whatever manner we can. The opportunity in general is our lifetime; but there are also many particular opportunities. Satan is quickened in doing hurt, by the shortness of the time, Revelation 12:12. By the same consideration let us be quickened in doing good.
Let us do good — In every possible kind, and in every possible degree.
Unto all men — Neighbours or strangers, good or evil, friends or enemies. But especially to them who are of the household of faith. For all believers are but one family.
 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
Ye see how large a letter — St. Paul had not yet wrote a larger to any church.
I have written with my own hand — He generally wrote by an amanuensis.
 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.
As many as desire to make a fair appearance in the flesh — To preserve a fair character.
These constrain you — Both by their example and importunity.
To be circumcised — Not so much from a principle of conscience, as lest they should suffer persecution - From the unbelieving Jews.
For the cross of Christ — For maintaining that faith in a crucified Saviour is alone sufficient for justification.
 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
For neither they themselves keep the whole law — So far are they from a real zeal for it. But yet they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh - That they may boast of you as their proselytes, and make a merit of this with the other Jews.
 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.
But God forbid that I should glory — Should boast of anything I have, am, or do; or rely on anything for my acceptance with God, but what Christ hath done and suffered for me. By means of which the world is crucified to me - All the things and persons in it are to me as nothing.
And I unto the world — I am dead to all worldly pursuits, cares, desires, and enjoyments.
 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
For neither circumcision is anything, nor uncircumcision — Neither of these is of any account.
But a new creation — Whereby all things in us become new.
 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
And as many as walk according to this rule — 1. Glorying only in the cross of Christ. 2. Being crucified to the world. And, 3. Created anew. Peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel, that is, the Church, of God - Which consists of all those, and those only, of every nation and kindred, who walk by this rule.
 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
From henceforth let none trouble me — By quarrels and disputes.
For I bear — And afflictions should not be added to the afflicted.
In my body the marks of the Lord Jesus — The scars, marks, and brands of my sufferings for Him.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Galatians》
Chapter 6. Practice of Love
Sow to Please
Sow to Please the Spirit
I. Carry Each Other's Burdens
II. Never Boast Except in the Cross
III. Be a New Creation
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Six General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To see that liberty in Christ involves responsibility toward others
and our own selves
2) To appreciate the principles involved in "sowing" and "reaping",
especially as they relate to the flesh and Spirit
3) To understand the importance of becoming "a new creation" in Christ
In this final chapter, Paul reveals that liberty in Christ involves
responsibilities. Those who are "spiritual" are to restore those
overtaken in trespasses, and all are to bear one another's burden
thereby fulfilling the "law of Christ" (1-2). At the same time, each
Christian ought to examine himself and seek to bear his own load (3-5).
Further responsibilities involve sharing with those who teach, and not
growing weary in doing good to all, especially those of the household
of faith. As motivation to do good, Paul reminds them of the principles
of "sowing" and "reaping", particularly as it relates to the flesh and
Paul's concluding remarks include an insight into the motivation behind
those seeking to compel circumcision. While such people may seek to
glory in the flesh, Paul himself will only glory in the cross of the
Lord Jesus Christ (11-14). Summarizing his whole epistle in one verse,
Paul reasserts that circumcision is inconsequential, and that in Christ
Jesus becoming a new creation is what really matters (15). With a plea
for no one to trouble him since he bears in his body the marks of the
Lord Jesus, Paul closes this epistle with a prayer of peace, mercy, and
grace upon those who walk according to his teaching, and upon the
of God (16-18). Israel
WITH A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY (1-10) LIBERTY
A. IN THE MATTER OF BEARING BURDENS (1-5)
1. Be willing to bear one another's burdens (1-2)
a. Those who are spiritual ought to restore those overtaken in
a trespass (1)
b. Bearing one another's burdens fulfills the law of Christ
2. Be willing to bear your own burden (3-4)
a. If one thinks himself to be something when he is not, he
deceives himself (3)
b. Examine your own work, and bear your own load (4)
B. IN THE MATTER OF GENEROSITY (6-10)
1. Those who are taught should share in all good things with
those who teach (6)
2. Principles governing sowing and reaping (7-9)
a. What a man sows, that he will also reap (7)
b. Sow to the flesh, and you reap corruption; sow to the
Spirit, and you reap everlasting life (8)
c. Don't grow weary in doing good, for in due time we shall
reap if we do not lose heart (9)
3. Where there is opportunity, do good to all, especially to
those of the household of faith (10)
II. CONCLUDING REMARKS (11-18)
A. A FINAL REBUKE OF THOSE WHO WOULD BIND CIRCUMCISION (11-13)
1. The large letters confirm that Paul has written with his own
2. The motivation behind those who compel others to be
a. They desire to make a good showing in the flesh (
b. They do not want to suffer persecution for the cross of
c. They wish to glory in your flesh (13b)
3. Those who would bind circumcision do not even keep the Law
B. PAUL'S OWN CONFIDENCE IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST (14-17)
1. God forbid that he might glory in anything other than in the
cross of Jesus (
2. For by Christ the world has been crucified to him, and he to
the world (14b)
3. In Christ, circumcision is inconsequential; what matters is a
new creation (15)
4. For those who abide by this same rule, peace and mercy be upon
them, and upon the Israel of God (16)
5. Let no one trouble him, for he bears in his body the marks of
the Lord Jesus (17)
C. BENEDICTION (18)
1. Directed toward the brethren
2. That the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with their spirit
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- A liberty with a sense of responsibility (1-10)
- Concluding remarks (11-18)
2) What should those who are "spiritual" be willing to do? What
attitudes should accompany them in what they do? (1)
- Restore those overtaken in a trespass
- A spirit of gentleness, and a watchful eye for one's own self
3) How can we fulfill "the law of Christ"? (2)
- By bearing one another's burdens
4) What responsibility is placed upon each person? (4)
- To bear his or her own load
5) What responsibility does the person taught have toward the one who
- To share in all good things with him
6) What three principles are given by Paul concerning "sowing" and
- Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap
- Sow to the flesh, and you will of the flesh reap corruption; sow
to the Spirit, and you will of the Spirit reap everlasting life
- Don't grow weary in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if
we do not lose heart
7) As we have opportunity, what is our responsibility? (10)
- To do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of
8) What motivation does Paul ascribe to those who would compel
- They desire to make a good showing in the flesh
- That they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ
- That they may glory in your flesh
9) What was the inconsistency of those compelling circumcision? (13)
- They themselves did not keep the Law
10) In what did Paul glory? (14)
- The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world had been
crucified to him, and he to the world
11) In Christ Jesus, what is it that avails anything? (15)
- A new creation
12) Upon whom did Paul pray for peace and mercy? (16)
- As many as walk according to the rule that a new creation in
Christ is what really matters
of God Israel
13) Why did Paul ask that no one trouble him? (17)
- Because he bore in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus
14) What was Paul's final benediction to the Galatians? (18)
- "Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.