In No Other Gospel, pastor Josh Moody wrote about Galatians 6: “I used to think that these final verses of the teaching in Galatians were just helpful, practical instruction, but actually they are what the gospel looks like in community. And they are by contrast what legalism looks like. Paul is saying that a grace-filled community is a restorative community, whereas a legalistic community is a judgmental community.”
After giving two lists, “acts of the flesh” and “fruit of the Spirit,” and especially after his exhortation not to be conceited or contentious (5:26), Paul addressed what to do about sin in both ourselves and others. In relation to others, he instructed the church to restore sinning brothers and sisters gently (v. 1). The assumption was that they had already recognized and repented of their sin. Since God forgives them, so should we. We should not erect barriers but instead restore them to fellowship and heal the relationship. Paul also exhorted us to “carry each other’s burdens” (v. 2; Rom. 15:1–3). That is, we should help each other out in areas of moral or spiritual weakness, or when our problems become excessive.
In relation to ourselves, Paul warned that we must be on guard against temptation (v. 1). Getting close to sin might pull us in, or at least tempt us to pride. This can quickly lead us into being self-deceived or giving us a false sense of self-importance (v. 3). We should instead be self-aware and responsible, testing our actions against God’s standards instead of comparing them with or judging others (v. 4; Matt. 7:1–5). In this sense, we should carry our own loads (v. 5). While we live in community as the body of Christ, we also stand accountable before God
Apply the Word
In light of Galatians 5 and 6, today might be a good day to focus on allowing the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts. Do we struggle with any of the “acts of the flesh”? Which “fruit of the Spirit” is God seeking to cultivate in our lives these days? As the Holy Spirit guides you, confess, repent, take action, and praise Him for the joy of His presence.