Lesson 16 - The New Life in Christ

Lesson 16 - The New Life in Christ

(Galatians 6:1-18)

Having established the difference between the life under the control of the Holy Spirit and the life under the control of the sin nature, Paul encouraged the believers in Galatia, who were living their spiritual lives, to restore those who had been led astray by the Judaizers. Paul also gave them some instructions on how to do this. First, Paul said that those who are spiritual are to do the restoring. Second, he said it was to be done in the “spirit of meekness.” Thirdly, Paul said to be careful not to get caught up in their error.

In verse one Paul used the Greek word “prolambano” for overtaken, which is a good translation. However, it means to be overtaken unaware. The Greek word for fault is “paraptoma” and means a false step, a blunder or a failure to achieve. This is the exact opposite of the Greek word for walk in Galatians 5:25, which is “stoicheo” meaning to walk in a straight line. What we have therefore is not so much a willful sin as a lapse into sinful activity by abandoning the power of the Holy Spirit in favor of law-keeping. In other words, they had been deceived by the Judaizers.

The Greek word for restore is “katartizo” and means to repair, to restore to a former good condition, to prepare, to fit out or to equip. This restoration was not merely a restoration to fellowship, but a restoration to a position of grace under the filling ministry of the Holy Spirit. And it was to be done in a spirit of meekness. The Greek word for meekness is “prautes,” which means to seek the interest of others and to exhibit humility (“there but for the grace of God go I”).

The final instruction from Paul was for them to be on their guard against this false teaching lest they get caught up in it. The Greek word for consider is “skopeo” meaning to be attentive, to fix your attention upon or to give heed to. Paul knew full well that even the most mature believers could be deceived into believing false doctrine and must constantly be on guard.

Paul went on to say that as a spiritually maturing believer you should be concerned about your fellow believers and want to help them. Bearing another’s burden involves impersonal love – the kind that Jesus Christ exhibited toward the human race. If you truly have impersonal love for a fellow believer you will be willing to assist them in returning to a relationship with God. This does not involve sticking you nose into someone else’s business against their will.

In Galatians 6:3 Paul explained that the believer who had the conceited idea that he was superior to the “sinning” believer was deceiving himself, since he was not superior. It would be this attitude that would cause more harm than good. Furthermore, the believer with a superior attitude should look at his own life and not compare himself to others. Why? The answer is because everyone of us has his own burdens to bear (no one is perfect). This would be the right attitude when dealing with another who needs our spiritual help and/or advice. What they do not need is a judgmental or a superior attitude from their fellow believer.

In Galatians 6:6 Paul exhorted these believers who had been taught the Word of God by him and others to constantly be having things in common with those who had taught them grace. This was not the case for those believers who had followed after the false teachings of the Judaizers. The attitude of these believers who were being lead astray was that it mattered little which teachers they fellowshipped with – Paul and his associates or the Judaizers. Paul’s assessment was that these believers would reap exactly what they were sowing.

Paul then returned to his comparison of the new spiritual nature and the sin nature. Those who sow to the sin nature (allow it to control them) will reap corruption. The Greek word for corruption is “phthora” and means to bring into an inferior or worse condition. This would describe the believer who is out of fellowship with God and being controlled by his sin nature. The believer who sows to the Holy Spirit shall reap the benefits of eternal life (both now and in eternity). This would describe the believer in fellowship with God and being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Paul then encouraged those spiritually maturing believers to not give up, but to continue working toward a helpful solution for those who had been deceived by the Judaizers. Paul said that the desired result would come if they persevered. Paul said that this should be the attitude of the believer toward all men, but especially toward fellow believers.

Paul then made an emotional appeal to those who he had taught in the Galatian churches. He asked them to observe that he had written this epistle personally and had not dictated it to a secretary, as he did all of his other letters. Paul most likely had an eye disease common to people in the area, which rendered him almost totally blind. The reason he penned this could simply have been the urgency of getting this letter to them or that he wanted it to be as personal as possible. In either case, he wanted the Galatian believers to realize the seriousness of the issue involved.

In Galatians 6:12-13 Paul pointed out the motivation behind the false teachings of the Judaizers. The Judaizers had openly joined themselves to the church and by doing so had openly rejected the Law as a means of salvation. This would have placed them under the wrath of the religious Jews. Therefore, the imposing of keeping the law (circumcision) was an attempt to prove to the Jewish religious community that they had not rejected the Law as a means of salvation.

If these false teachers could have persuaded the church to believe their false doctrine they would be able to boast to the Jewish community of their accomplishment. Paul wanted his fellow believers to recognize the sinister plot and avoid it. What they should be “glorying in” was not the keeping of the Law, which had no salvation benefit, but the Cross of Christ, which did have salvation benefit. Furthermore, Paul pointed out that after salvation, the Cross (representing the entire doctrine of Soteriology) set up the potential for the rejection of Satan’s world system and the acceptance of God’s power system (a new creation in Christ).

In Galatians 6:16 Paul used the Greek word “stoicheo” once again for walk. “Stoicheo” means to align with or to walk in a straight line. Paul consistently used this concept throughout his epistles as an acronym for the Christian Way of Life. If the true Israel of God (the Church), will align themselves with who they really are as royal family of God, they will experience the peace of God and the mercy of God in their daily lives.

Paul concluded this epistle with a plea to the Galatian believers not to add to the marks that he already bore in his body for the sake of Christ. Remember that Paul had been stoned, beaten, shipwrecked and much more because of his zeal for the gospel of Christ. These Galatian believers were about to add additional grief to Paul’s life by rejecting his teaching of grace.

Grace in the Christian Life After Salvation

“But He gives more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud but gives grace to the humble”. James 4:6

God the Holy Spirit, in grace, does all the work, which produces the character of Jesus Christ in us. (Romans 8:29, Galatians 5:22-23) We should be truly thankful that God’s plan does not depend upon us, but upon Him. If you have your eyes on what you are doing for God or even what someone else is doing for God (even the pastor) you will never be grace-oriented. Our focus should always be on what God is doing. God treats us in grace because of His character, therefore, we are able to treat others with grace by using Divine Viewpoint Thinking (God’s thinking).

God has a perfect plan for each one of us, but it is up to us to discover that plan. The filling of the Holy Spirit, which means we are being controlled and guided by Him, is a grace provision from God. This allows every believer to understand His Word, regardless of education or IQ. Therefore, we are commanded to be strong in grace. (II Timothy 2:1) We are to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:8) We find grace in our prayer life. (Hebrews 4:16) There is stability in grace. (I Peter 5:2) God gives us grace to become the person He wants us to be. (I Corinthians 15:10) God’s grace is always sufficient in our time of suffering. (II Corinthians 12:9) God is waiting to show His grace to every believer. (Isaiah 30:18-19) The Christian life, under grace, is a system of thinking. (Romans 12:1-2)

The Christian Way of Life is a life of thinking the thoughts of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The mind of Christ is the doctrine found in the Word of God, the only source of absolute truth. In order to have the proper thinking the believer must be consistently learning, believing and applying the Word of God to every circumstance in life.

God has given all believers a command to grow spiritually and He never gives us a command without giving us the means necessary to obey it. God, therefore, has provided His written instruction book (the Bible) and the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit. Both are grace functions for every believer in this age, regardless of education or I.Q. Any believer with a positive attitude towards Bible doctrine can learn, believe and apply it accurately.

The opposite of grace is legalism (keeping the law or good works). (Romans 11:6) Legalism is performing human good works in an attempt to gain the favor or approval of God, either for salvation or spirituality. Producing human good brings glory to man. Producing divine good through the filling of the Holy Spirit brings glory to God. Human works added to faith in salvation cancels grace. (Galatians 2:16) Human works added to the Christian life produces legalism and cancels grace. (Galatians 5:1)

Spiritual maturity does not happen overnight. It takes a lifetime of persistent and consistent study to learn Bible doctrine. God’s Word likens spiritual growth to building a house. Often expressed as edification, the concept in Greek is to build or to build up. For the Christian, this occurs in his soul as he exposes himself to accurate Bible teaching and applies the truth that he learns. As with any building, we must be careful to first “lay” the right foundation before we build on it. The Scripture is clear that the only foundation for the believer is Jesus Christ Himself (the Living Word) and His written Word, the Bible. The written Word of God is meant to be understood and utilized as a blueprint for building your spiritual building (the Christian Way of Life).