Thursday, September 06, 2007
Each one WILL bear his own load ?
He has really got me to thinking about the verses that proceed Galatians 6:7. Is Paul contradictng himself in about bearing one anothers burdens and then saying we will bear our own load? It seems that way but I have never really devoted much time trying to figure out exactly what Paul is saying. I think I know what he is saying, but its hard to put in words to communicate it.
I want to start with Gal. 5:25 and end with Gal. 6:5 to make sense of the context within the main subject of context which I believe is not using our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. By the way Trevor has some excellent thoughts on the reason Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians, you can find it here, I agree it was written/inspired to keep us from the fatal mistake of trying live the Christian life by law instead of faith. Its dangerous to fall from grace, Jesus said apart from me you can do nothing, His teaching after the last supper but before the garden in John 15 is the same as what Paul is trying to get through to the believers in Galatia. Not in that believers will end up in the lake of fire but that we will live fruitless lives here on earth. Anyway, I digress, once again I really like Trevors thoughts on the actual reason Paul wrote Galatians to begin with.
Gal. 5:25,26 to Gal. 6:1-5
25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
26Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another
1Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
2Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
3For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
4But 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.
5For each one will bear his own load.
Ok, I think Paul is saying that if we live by the Spirit we need to watch out and also walk by the Spirit. Paul seems to be implying that we can in our mind live by grace but also not walk in it(grace) toward others everyday. We can become boastful and challenging if we don't watch out and actually walk by the same standards before others that we know in our minds are true.
In fact in verse 1 Paul is saying not only should you not become boastful of victory over sin in your own life(verse 4), you should help others who have been caught in a sin they can't seem to shake. But spiritual believers should only be the ones that help bear the burdens, why? Well it seems to me that those who walk by the spirit will showing the fruit of Christ which is patient and kind and understanding what the person caught is going through.
Those who are "spiritual" understand this. Verse 3 is the big one here for someone who might think they are spiritual but in actuality they have deceived themselves.
Wow, now re-reading verse 2 was an eye opener for me. Did you just "hear" what the Holy Spirit just said? He said bearing one anothers burdens, which is "even if anyone is caught in a trespass" WILL fullfill the law of Christ. In other words getting down and dirty and helping those who are caught in sin by helping bear the burdens the sin is putting on the person IS fullfilling the law of Christ. Is this not what Isaiah was saying about what Jesus was going to do for us in Isaiah 53?
Have you ever heard another believer say; "yeah they did it to themselves, they should know better, God says He won't be mocked there are consequences to sin", or "they are just lazy and cons living off everyone else", I have said the latter myself about others, gee I am deceiving myself by thinking I am something because I am not conning someone because I have a job. You know what, that person IS the person in verse 3, I am that person alot of times. When that comes out of my mouth because it is in my heart, I am no more spiritual than the one I am talking about, much less the one that God wants someone to help bear their burdens.
Ok, I know this post is getting long, but verses 4 & 5 and the seeming contradiction from verse 5 compared to verse 2.
I think verse 4 is tied right to verse 3. Paul says "But" each one must examine himself, just like this two-edged sword has done to me today in verse 3. But if we see where we have improved within ourselves in showing fruit from the heart and not compared to another then praise God I can boast to myself about it.
Here now is what I see verse 5 saying:
We WILL bear our own load, notice it did not say burden, but what is this load? I think it is the "load" within our hearts that causes us to ache within our hearts when we are honest with oursleves that we lack so much of actually walking by the same Spirit that we set our mind to live by. Remember verse 25? But praise God there is no condemnation for those of us "in Christ".
Grace & Peace
I'm always a bit late when it comes to posting comments. I only got to read your kind words today. Thank you for dealing with the subject I mentioned, and for your generous and favourable mention of my post. It cheered me a lot to read it.
You've dealt with the matter really well in my opinion. Presumably a big problem for the Galatian church was their high-mindedness - especially looking down on those who weren't 'of the circumcision'. So even when Paul deals with this problem (reaching its climax at the start of Gal 5?), he knows that this same proud spirit pervades believers even beyond this circumcision issue.
So after Paul deals with the fruit of the Spirit at the end of chapter 5 he shows the practical implications of this for the Galatians. Instead of being proud of their understanding of spiritual things, or their obedient lifestyles in light of others' failures, they were to be like-minded toward all their brothers and sisters in Christ. Hence they should bear one another's burdens.
By drawing reference to Isaiah 53 you have really opened my eyes to something beautiful. We believers have the privilege of following Christ's example: identifying ourselves with sinners. Though, of course, all believers are still sinners, I assume that Gal 6:1 is applying this principle to spiritual men and women who ought to now identitfy themselves with struggling believers.
By bearing their burdens, they are doing what Christ did for all mankind, so it can be said that the law of Christ is being fulfilled. This links in with what I was saying in my post regarding 'the New Commandment'. Off the top of my head, Christ states that loving one another is the New Commandment somewhere in John 13 and 15. Then Romans 13 says that loving one's neighbour fulfils the law. And now we have Galatians 6:2. Also interesting that the first characteristic to come from the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5)is love.
The natural outcome of such selfless actions is to NOT see oneself as superior to another believer who struggles. And, as you say, when he looks inwardly at his own life he will not be doing so with a spirit of 'comparison'. He will not be boasting in his spiritual successes as over against a fellow believer (6:4) because he will only have a desire to lead that fellow believer to the same 'level'.
But I wonder could verse 5 refer to the end-goal of our lives – in that our loads/burdens/struggles are things which we alone are accountable to God for at the judgment seat of Christ. Could the future tense (“WILL bear”) imply that day in the future when all believers give account for themselves alone, and are not able to plead with God that “at least I was better than him/her”?
I like your reference to the verses being a "double-edged sword". If I think about my life too much I'll be feeling that stab every minute!
Again Kris, thanks for your kind words.
Please send our love to all along with our wishes for a wonderful time of thanksgiving.
May God continue to bless. ;-)
Anyway thank you Trevor for your comments. Again I really liked your thoughts on Paul's letter to the Galatians and hope the 2 or 3 persons that check in would go over and read.
Grace & Peace