Bible Commentaries
Galatians 6

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

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Verses 1-18


1. Concerning the Restoration of a brother. (Galatians 6:1-5 )

2. Concerning Reaping and Sowing. (Galatians 6:6-10 )

3. The conclusion. (Galatians 6:11-18 )

Practical exhortations conclude the defense of the gospel. The previous chapter stated that they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh and its lusts. In the beginning of this chapter the treatment to be accorded to a man (a brother) who has been overtaken in a fault is given. The law would demand the cutting off of such a one. It is harsh and merciless. But grace bears a different message. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” The sin of a believer does not put him out of the true church, the body of Christ, but it interrupts communion with God. The erring brother is to be treated in a spirit of meekness and to be restored. Then law is mentioned, but not the law of Moses, but the law of Christ. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” He is the great burden-bearer for His people and to bear the burdens of others is to act as the Lord Jesus does. None is to think of himself to be something when he is nothing; the legal spirit puffs up. Every man is to prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. “For every man shall bear his own burden”--this is in reference to the judgment-seat of Christ when each must give an account of himself.

Another instruction is concerning ministry to those who teach. “Let him that is taught in the Word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” This is the way a loving and gracious Lord has appointed. The believer who receives the ministry of the Word through one of the gifts in the body of Christ has a personal responsibility towards him who ministers. He is to communicate to him in earthly things, and thus have a part in his ministry. How different in Christendom, with its fixed salaries, pew-rents and, worse still, when evangelists appeal to the unsaved, to Catholics and Jews, to swell the collection. Important is the principle of Galatians 6:7-9 . We quote from another:

“We may repeat again that the toleration of evil is never grace. It would be a perversion of the very thought of grace to imagine this. ‘Be not deceived,’ he says, therefore, ‘God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap, for he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption and he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.’ These are principles of absolute necessity. Nothing can alter them. If a man sows a certain seed, he knows, or he should know, that he can get of that seed nothing but what is proper to it. If a man sows to his flesh, he sows, in fact, the corruption which he reaps. The very principle of self-will which must, of necessity, be in it, is a principle which is essentially that of sin. Every form of sin Will come under this, and God may allow, in fact, such seed to come to harvest, in order that we may recognize its character, as we otherwise would not do. In the opposite way to that of the man who, bearing good seed, goes forth even weeping, but returns with joy, a man in this way may sow his seed rejoicing, but it will be the return that will be sorrowful. It does not follow that God cannot come in and deliver us from what would otherwise be the necessary fruit of such sowing, if only there be the true self-judgment of it in the soul; for to a Christian, the reaping of it is but in order to self-judgment, and if we will judge it first, there may be no need of reaping at all. Judge it first or last we surely must, or the thing will develop for what it is and be manifest, not to ourselves alone it may be, but to others also. On the other hand, ‘He that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.’ Blessed and wonderful reaping! The life is looked at here, Of course, in its practical character, in its fruits and activities. The life itself, the life which produces this, is no matter of reaping at all, it is what we must have to be Christians. Nevertheless, we can reap it as a practical thing, and the witness of it is that, even though reaped here upon earth, it is something which has eternity in it.”--Numerical Bible.

Galatians 6:11 tells us that he had written this letter with his own hand and that in large letters. It seems as if the energy of the Holy Spirit came upon him in such a degree that he had to dispense with the usual amanuensis he employed. Then he reverts to the great controversy once more. These false teachers, the proselyting teachers, wanted to boast with the Galatians, but he knew only one boasting or glorying, “in the cross of our Lord Jesus, whereby the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” The cross meant everything to him and thus it should be with every believer, saved by grace.

But what does he mean when he speaks of bearing in his body the marks--the stigmata--of the Lord Jesus? The Romish conception of the supernaturally imprinted scars of the nails in the apostle’s body does not need to be investigated, for it is a superstition. The expression simply means the trials and sufferings he underwent for Christ’s sake and which left their marks on his frail body (2 Corinthians 11:24-33 ). What the Galatians needed the most is the final word of Paul to the Galatians. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit, brethren.”

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Galatians 6". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". 1913-1922.