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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Galatians 6

Verse 1

Galatians 6:1

I. In considering the duty of restoring the lost and criminal, let us note, first, the spirit in which it is to be performed: "Restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." Surely this is the very opposite to the spirit of the world. That spirit refuses to consider the possibility of ourselves being tempted, parades a challenge in the face of the world to question our own purity and inviolability, and declares that we are determined never to admit the hypothesis of our becoming like the sinful. We have to put on a spirit directly contrary to that which we find around us in the world, to sit at the feet of a far different Teacher, and learn of Him. Our blessed Lord spent His life and shed His blood in devising means whereby His lost ones might be recovered to Him; and every follower of His is exhorted not to look only on his own things, but also on the things of others.

II. There was one law in which our blessed Lord summed up His social and practical precepts, one which peculiarly belongs to Him: "Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do unto them." In by far the greater number of cases of discharged prisoners it is to be feared that evil influence prevails, and they relapse into crime; but there is a remnant in whom there is a desire, more or less earnest, to regain as much as may be of what has been lost. The whole world is against them, but we should open our doors to them, and encourage them. We should look on the fallen as our brethren, bearing their burdens, instead of disclaiming them and letting them sink under their weight, and so fulfilling the law of Christ.

H. Alford, Quebec Chapel Sermons, vol. vii., p. 195.

References: Galatians 6:1 . Homilist, 3rd series, vol. i., p. 340; Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 143; E. Johnson, Ibid., vol. xiv., p. 262; H. W. Beecher, Ibid., vol. xviii., p. 22.Galatians 6:1 , Galatians 6:2 . Ibid.., vol. xxv., p. 378; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 80. Galatians 6:1-5 . Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ill., p. 217.

Verse 2

Galatians 6:2 , Galatians 6:5

I. St. Paul combines in this passage the two great ideas on which all previous morality had been based: the one self-preservation, self-development, that is to say, that out of which the sense of responsibility grows; the other selfforgetfulness, that is to say, that out of which all effort for other people grows. It combines them in a complete harmony. "Bear ye one another's burdens," is the rule of selfforgetfulness; "Every man should bear his own burden," is the simple rule of self-preservation. And because the harmony between these two statements is so hard to preserve, because in the agony that is caused by self-reflection we are so liable to be carried away by the one to the exclusion of the other, it may be well to consider this apparent paradox.

If. This apparent diversity between "Bear ye one another's burdens" and "Let every man bear his own burden" is always meeting us and always challenging us. It looks at us under the name of individualism or humanism in every modern philosophical treatise that we read, or it comes to us in some of the smallest personal questions of our daily life. The solution of the problem was the despair of the old world before Christianity came. Greek philosophy, from beginning to end, is rampant individualism. The very antithesis to this is the Buddhist system. On the face of it, Buddhism appears to be the most refined form of what is called humanism. But about the theoretical self-abandonment of Buddhism there is this fatal defect: that directly it becomes practical it is found to aim at mere self-crushing, at what is neither more nor less than suicide. Christ's religion escapes mere Buddhist universalism. Go out, says St. Paul, from yourselves to help others; bear their burdens, restore them by the magic touch of fellowship in the spirit of meekness. Fling your soul away into the struggles and sorrows of others, and so fulfil the law of Him who, in the highest sense, bare their sorrows. The more sympathetic you become, the more will self-reflection grow; the more will you find the truth of the great paradox that those who lose their life for Christ's sake even now will find it.

Prebendary Eyton, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxix., p. 49.

References: Galatians 6:2-5 . S. Pearson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 154; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 560; W. Williamson, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. v., p. 330. Galatians 6:4 . Homilist, 3rd series, vol. vi., p. 322.

Verse 2

Galatians 6:2 , Galatians 6:5

I. St. Paul combines in this passage the two great ideas on which all previous morality had been based: the one self-preservation, self-development, that is to say, that out of which the sense of responsibility grows; the other selfforgetfulness, that is to say, that out of which all effort for other people grows. It combines them in a complete harmony. "Bear ye one another's burdens," is the rule of selfforgetfulness; "Every man should bear his own burden," is the simple rule of self-preservation. And because the harmony between these two statements is so hard to preserve, because in the agony that is caused by self-reflection we are so liable to be carried away by the one to the exclusion of the other, it may be well to consider this apparent paradox.

If. This apparent diversity between "Bear ye one another's burdens" and "Let every man bear his own burden" is always meeting us and always challenging us. It looks at us under the name of individualism or humanism in every modern philosophical treatise that we read, or it comes to us in some of the smallest personal questions of our daily life. The solution of the problem was the despair of the old world before Christianity came. Greek philosophy, from beginning to end, is rampant individualism. The very antithesis to this is the Buddhist system. On the face of it, Buddhism appears to be the most refined form of what is called humanism. But about the theoretical self-abandonment of Buddhism there is this fatal defect: that directly it becomes practical it is found to aim at mere self-crushing, at what is neither more nor less than suicide. Christ's religion escapes mere Buddhist universalism. Go out, says St. Paul, from yourselves to help others; bear their burdens, restore them by the magic touch of fellowship in the spirit of meekness. Fling your soul away into the struggles and sorrows of others, and so fulfil the law of Him who, in the highest sense, bare their sorrows. The more sympathetic you become, the more will self-reflection grow; the more will you find the truth of the great paradox that those who lose their life for Christ's sake even now will find it.

Prebendary Eyton, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxix., p. 49.

References: Galatians 6:2-5 . S. Pearson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 154; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 560; W. Williamson, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. v., p. 330. Galatians 6:4 . Homilist, 3rd series, vol. vi., p. 322.

Verse 5

Galatians 6:5

(with Galatians 6:2 ; Psalms 55:22 )

I. "Every man shall bear his own burden." Some burdens are inseparably attached to us; deliverance from them is as impossible as life would be without air and exercise and cold water. We must bear them; there is no help for it. Between the wicket-gate and the gate of glory John Bunyan put the hill of difficulty. God puts between the two gates, for you and me, many difficulties. Difficulties strengthen; they compact a man's faith; they sinew his soul; they make him Christlike. This death-grapple sometimes with difficulty gives us force, and the loads which God lays upon us teach us lessons to be learned in no other school. The hardest lesson for every one of us to learn is this: to let God have His own way and trust Him in the dark.

II. "Bear ye one another's burdens." We have seen how the carrying of our own load gives us strength. There are other loads that we could help our fellow-creatures to carry, and that service is to teach us that beautiful grace sympathy. Happily we have here the reason for it: "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." That law is love. Christ is love. We must carry His law into practice every day if we would prove that, while we profess and call ourselves Christians, we are worthy of the title.

III. "Cast thy burden on the Lord." God does not release you from the performance of duty, but He will sustain you in doing it. The load shall not crush you; nay, rather it shall sinew your graces, and send you forth more thoroughly furnished for God's work here and glory hereafter. Trust means that when we take up the burden we lean on the Burden-bearer, though unseen, assured that He shall never fail in His promise, "My grace shall be sufficient for you."

T. L. Cuyler, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 33.

Reference: Galatians 6:5 . J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 8th series, p. 209.

Verse 5

Galatians 6:5

(with Galatians 6:2 ; Psalms 55:22 )

I. "Every man shall bear his own burden." Some burdens are inseparably attached to us; deliverance from them is as impossible as life would be without air and exercise and cold water. We must bear them; there is no help for it. Between the wicket-gate and the gate of glory John Bunyan put the hill of difficulty. God puts between the two gates, for you and me, many difficulties. Difficulties strengthen; they compact a man's faith; they sinew his soul; they make him Christlike. This death-grapple sometimes with difficulty gives us force, and the loads which God lays upon us teach us lessons to be learned in no other school. The hardest lesson for every one of us to learn is this: to let God have His own way and trust Him in the dark.

II. "Bear ye one another's burdens." We have seen how the carrying of our own load gives us strength. There are other loads that we could help our fellow-creatures to carry, and that service is to teach us that beautiful grace sympathy. Happily we have here the reason for it: "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." That law is love. Christ is love. We must carry His law into practice every day if we would prove that, while we profess and call ourselves Christians, we are worthy of the title.

III. "Cast thy burden on the Lord." God does not release you from the performance of duty, but He will sustain you in doing it. The load shall not crush you; nay, rather it shall sinew your graces, and send you forth more thoroughly furnished for God's work here and glory hereafter. Trust means that when we take up the burden we lean on the Burden-bearer, though unseen, assured that He shall never fail in His promise, "My grace shall be sufficient for you."

T. L. Cuyler, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 33.

Reference: Galatians 6:5 . J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 8th series, p. 209.

Verse 5

Galatians 6:5

(with Galatians 6:2 ; Psalms 55:22 )

I. "Every man shall bear his own burden." Some burdens are inseparably attached to us; deliverance from them is as impossible as life would be without air and exercise and cold water. We must bear them; there is no help for it. Between the wicket-gate and the gate of glory John Bunyan put the hill of difficulty. God puts between the two gates, for you and me, many difficulties. Difficulties strengthen; they compact a man's faith; they sinew his soul; they make him Christlike. This death-grapple sometimes with difficulty gives us force, and the loads which God lays upon us teach us lessons to be learned in no other school. The hardest lesson for every one of us to learn is this: to let God have His own way and trust Him in the dark.

II. "Bear ye one another's burdens." We have seen how the carrying of our own load gives us strength. There are other loads that we could help our fellow-creatures to carry, and that service is to teach us that beautiful grace sympathy. Happily we have here the reason for it: "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." That law is love. Christ is love. We must carry His law into practice every day if we would prove that, while we profess and call ourselves Christians, we are worthy of the title.

III. "Cast thy burden on the Lord." God does not release you from the performance of duty, but He will sustain you in doing it. The load shall not crush you; nay, rather it shall sinew your graces, and send you forth more thoroughly furnished for God's work here and glory hereafter. Trust means that when we take up the burden we lean on the Burden-bearer, though unseen, assured that He shall never fail in His promise, "My grace shall be sufficient for you."

T. L. Cuyler, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 33.

Reference: Galatians 6:5 . J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 8th series, p. 209.

Verse 7

Galatians 6:7

I. There is none to whom so much mockery is offered as God. Men walk on His earth and deny His existence. Others acknowledge His existence, but by their lives defy His power. Men come to His house of prayer, and there, amidst the rising accents of supplication and praise and the descending message of His word, they think of their farm and their merchandise, or follow in fancy their worldly desires. They go thence, and not a word of that which they have asked is remembered with a view to its answer. And even to the spiritual ordinance of the body and blood of Christ do not men not unfrequently bring unclean hands and an unhallowed heart, and even when the signs of forgiveness and immortality are being administered to them are they not living in unrepented sin and the bondage of corruption? But with all this God is not mocked. His Divine majesty dwells in light unapproachable, far above any stain of pollution or danger of insult from us, the creatures of His almighty will. It is not God, it is our souls, that we mock when we thus tamper with their best and dearest interests. It is ourselves whom we expose to shame and everlasting contempt.

II. How this is the case, the second fact announced by the Apostle may explain to us: "God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." The present life is our seedtime. Our hearts and consciences are the field to be sown. By the seed are meant those living principles, whether good or ill, which sink down below the level of the surface, not what men profess, but what men follow. Those seeds spring up and bring forth fruit of one kind or other; that is, they become put into practice in men's lives by the words of their tongues and the works of their hands. The great harvest is the end of the world, when every man's principles shall be judged by every man's works, the seed by the fruit which it shall have brought forth. What he has sown, not what he has professed to sow, will then be seen. The great harvest day shall declare what each man's principles have been in the deep chambers of his heart, and according to that declaration shall his eternal lot be, for happiness or for misery.

H. Alford, Sermons, p. 113.

References: Galatians 6:7 . T. J. Crawford, The Preaching of the Cross, p. 98; Homilist, 2nd series, vol. i., p. 456; Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 253; T. Teignmouth Shore, The Life of the World to Come, p. 1; J. Vaughan, Children's Sermons, 1875, p. 266; Outline Sermons to Children, p. 241.

Verse 7

Galatians 6:7

I. There is none to whom so much mockery is offered as God. Men walk on His earth and deny His existence. Others acknowledge His existence, but by their lives defy His power. Men come to His house of prayer, and there, amidst the rising accents of supplication and praise and the descending message of His word, they think of their farm and their merchandise, or follow in fancy their worldly desires. They go thence, and not a word of that which they have asked is remembered with a view to its answer. And even to the spiritual ordinance of the body and blood of Christ do not men not unfrequently bring unclean hands and an unhallowed heart, and even when the signs of forgiveness and immortality are being administered to them are they not living in unrepented sin and the bondage of corruption? But with all this God is not mocked. His Divine majesty dwells in light unapproachable, far above any stain of pollution or danger of insult from us, the creatures of His almighty will. It is not God, it is our souls, that we mock when we thus tamper with their best and dearest interests. It is ourselves whom we expose to shame and everlasting contempt.

II. How this is the case, the second fact announced by the Apostle may explain to us: "God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." The present life is our seedtime. Our hearts and consciences are the field to be sown. By the seed are meant those living principles, whether good or ill, which sink down below the level of the surface, not what men profess, but what men follow. Those seeds spring up and bring forth fruit of one kind or other; that is, they become put into practice in men's lives by the words of their tongues and the works of their hands. The great harvest is the end of the world, when every man's principles shall be judged by every man's works, the seed by the fruit which it shall have brought forth. What he has sown, not what he has professed to sow, will then be seen. The great harvest day shall declare what each man's principles have been in the deep chambers of his heart, and according to that declaration shall his eternal lot be, for happiness or for misery.

H. Alford, Sermons, p. 113.

References: Galatians 6:7 . T. J. Crawford, The Preaching of the Cross, p. 98; Homilist, 2nd series, vol. i., p. 456; Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 253; T. Teignmouth Shore, The Life of the World to Come, p. 1; J. Vaughan, Children's Sermons, 1875, p. 266; Outline Sermons to Children, p. 241.

Verses 7-8

Galatians 6:7-8

Deceived Sowers to the Flesh.

I. The first thing which strikes us in the text is the solemnity of the Apostle's warning. He seems to intimate that such is the audacious wickedness of the human heart that it has within it so many latent mazes of iniquity that men might be self-deceived either as to their apprehensions of that which was right before God, or as to their own actual condition in His sight; and he tells them that God is not mocked by this pretended service, that to Him all hearts are open, and that in impartial and discriminating arbitration He will render to every man according to his deeds. If there is but a possibility of this, it behoves us to take earnest warning.

II. Consider the import of the Apostle's statement, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," etc. He who would gather the wheat into the garner must scatter the wheat seed in the furrow. Barley and rye will come each from its own seed, and tares, if an enemy stealthily scatter them while the husbandman and his fellows slumber. It is manifest, then, that the great principle which the Apostle would impress upon us is that we have largely the making or the marring of our own future; that in the thoughts we harbour, and in the words we speak, and in the silent deeds which, beaded on time's string, are told by some recording angel as the story of our life from year to year, we shape our character, and therefore our destiny for ever. They who sow for this world reap in this world, and may outlive their own harvests; they who sow to the Spirit seek for abiding issues, and their harvest has not yet come. There are three special kinds of sowers to the flesh whom the Apostle seems to have had in mind: the proud; the covetous; the ungodly. They are all spiritual sins sins of which human law takes no cognisance, and to which codes of earthly jurisprudence affix no scathing penalty. On this very account, however, they are fraught with immeasurably greater danger. There is the greater need that these spiritual sins should be disclosed in all their enormity and shown in their exceeding sinfulness and in their disastrous wages, in order that men may be left without excuse, if they persist wilfully in believing a lie.

W. M. Punshon, Sermons, p. 253.

I. Note the great law expressed in the text, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." We know that in natural things a man cannot sow wheat and get rye; that he cannot take chaff and cast it over the ground, or drill it in, and expect a crop from that which is not seed at all. Much less, if he were to cast abroad the seeds of what was pernicious and poisonous, if he were to sow thistles and briers and thorns, might he expect that the summer fields would be covered with the promise of a rich harvest with which his barns would be filled. So in the higher sphere sowing to the flesh will bring corruption in the loss of reputation, character, standing, all! And in a higher sphere still we may reap corruption in the extinction of faith, love, Divine hope, and communion with God, by separation from Him leading to complete incapacity and loss of power for this communion of the soul with its Maker, and that is corruption in its darkest and worst sense.

II. "He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." The man will best govern the animal when God governs the man, when the man sows to the Spirit in the sense of sowing to the Divine impulse, suggesting, restraining, preventing grace, it may be, operating upon his nature. Do not let us be weary in welldoing. There is often a good while between the seedtime and the harvest, and there may be a good while between the seedtime and the harvest in a man's doing that which is right; but go on: be not weary; in due season you shall reap, if you faint not. The law is as operative and influential on the one side as on the other, in relation to the good as well as to the evil. Therefore, however you may sometimes feel depressed by long and weary waiting for some result, never let that tempt you to falter or to put forth your hand to some iniquity. Be upright, and true, and loyal to Christ and to God, and if the blessing tarry, wait for it; it will come all in due time. It is a good thing for a man both to hope and quietly to wait for the blessings of God.

T. Binney, Penny Pulpit, New Series, Nos. 487, 488.

Eternal Punishment.

I. The doctrine of eternal punishment ought to be denied, because of its evil fruits. A good tree does not bring forth corrupt fruit, and we owe to this doctrine all the slaughter and cruelty done by alternately triumphant sects in the name of God. So dreadful were its deeds that a door of escape was provided from its full horror by the Church of a former time. The doctrine of purgatory and of prayers for the dead was the reaction from its terrors, and it saved religion. Unrelieved by this merciful interposition, eternal punishment would have slain the world.

II. In denying the eternity of hell, do we in truth destroy the doctrine of retribution? Not at all; we establish it, and are enabled to assert it on clear and reasonable grounds. First, we can believe in it. The heart and the conscience alike refuse to believe in everlasting punishment. The imagination cannot conceive it; the reason denies its justice. But the retribution taught by the opposite doctrine that God's punishment is remedial, not final; that it is exacted, but that it ends when it has done its work is conceivable, is allowed by the heart, for its root is love; is agreed to by the conscience, for it is felt to be just; is accepted of the reason, for it is based on law. In our belief, the ground of retribution is this: that God cannot rest till He has wrought evil out of all spirits, and that this work of His is chiefly done by causing us to suffer the natural consequence of sin. The very root, then, of our belief in the non-eternity of punishment involves an awful idea of punishment. For on this ground God will not cease to be a consuming fire to a man till He has destroyed all his evil. Nor can He cease. The imperative in His nature binds Him to root out evil, and God does His duty by us. Does this view destroy, and not rather assert, retribution?

III. We can all understand that. Introduce evil into your life, and you are introducing punishment. God will not rest till He has consumed it. Sow to the flesh, and you shall of the flesh reap corruption; you shall eat the fruits of your own devices, and find in them your hell. And God will take care that you do. He will not spare a single pang, if only He can bring us to His arms at last. Punishment here and in the world to come is no dream, but a dread reality; but it is strictly and justly given, and it comes to a close. One cry of longing repentance changes its quality, one bitter sorrow for wrong, one quick conviction that God is love and wishes our perfection. But to produce that repentance, and till it is produced, God's painful work on our evil is done and will be done. There is but one truth which can enable us to fight against wrong, and to conquer in the end and give us power, faith, and hope in face of all awful revelations. It is the unconquerable goodness of God, the conviction, deep-rooted as the mountains, of His infinite love and justice, the knowledge that the world is redeemed, the victory over evil won, and that, though the work is slow, not one soul shall be lost for ever. For He shall reign till He hath subdued all things to Himself in the willingness of happy obedience and the joy of creative love.

S. A. Brooke, The Unity of God and Man, p. 45.

References: Galatians 6:7 , Galatians 6:8 . E. Cooper, Practical Sermons, vol. i., p. 96; G. Bladon, Church of England Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 185; T. Stringer, Ibid., p. 293; Homilist, 2nd series, vol. i., p. 575; Ibid., 3rd series, vol. iv., p. 173; S. Pearson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 172; G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines, p. 189. Galatians 6:7-9 . E. Johnson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 155.

Verse 8

Galatians 6:8

Sowing to the Spirit.

I. The natural man has no desire for immortality. This is the desire which is always assumed in the New Testament as lying at the root of all spiritual life, of all growth in holiness. If a man is to sow to the Spirit, he must first believe in spirit; he must believe that he is a spirit, that he is not a mere part of this world, to vanish away and perish like the herb of the field when his day here is over. But the natural man has not this first great spiritual desire. The natural man is without the proper desire for immortality; the spiritual man, as is ever conspicuously put before us in Scripture, has this desire strong in him, and it is the beginning and the foundation of the religious life which he leads here.

II. But this is the second point that we come to, viz., the sowing to immortality, the laying up in store a good foundation against the time to come, that we may attain eternal life. Those who are convinced of the truth of, and who earnestly desire to reap, this everlasting life, must sow to everlasting life. As soon as the soul is really seized with the desire for everlasting life, the sort of actions which it takes interest in, and which attract it, and which it wants to do for the sake of its own individual prospects and hope of gaining this eternal life, are not any actions connected with profit or greatness in this world, but simply good actions. It is the strong wish to do righteousness, to do duties to God and man, which accompanies the strong desire for immortal life. Why? Because we know that it is goodness alone which is the enduring and immortal thing in man, and that by it alone can we fasten ourselves on to eternity and "lay hold on eternal life."

J. B. Mozley, Sermons Parochial and Occasional, p. 203.

Verse 9

Galatians 6:9

Unweariedness in Well-doing.

Let us not be weary in welldoing in consequence of

I. The rivalry of other workers. (1) Note the undying activity of the world. There is no mercy for the half-hearted man; he is quickly jostled off the racecourse or crushed to pieces upon it. When a worker has become weary, and can no longer hurry forward or labour at his calling, the world perhaps pauses a moment to push him out of its way, chuckles at the vacant space or released capital, closes over the circle that formed for a moment around him, and hurries on its eager race. (2) If we turn from the unwearying work of the busy world to contemplate the great power of evil, if we try to realise its presence, to separate it in thought from the world which it defiles and seeks to ruin, we are appalled by its ceaseless efforts to accomplish its deadly purpose. Whatever power can afford to rest, the power of evil never grows weary. (3) The energies of goodness never rest nor take their ease. On all hands the numerous and combining ranks of the children of light are taking on them the whole armour of God and going forth to do battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil.

II. The mighty name of Christian combines many of the strongest arguments to unwearying service. (1) The Christian owes his own salvation to unwearied love and infinite sacrifice. (2) Christians are the pledged disciples of the great Worker in this field of holy exertion. (3) Christ Himself lives and works within the Christian by the power of His Spirit.

III. Further incentives to perseverance may be found in the peculiar and insidious character of the temptations to which welldoing is exposed. (1) The man who is resolved to ruin himself has the evil propensities of his fallen nature to help him. On the other hand, welldoing exacts a perpetual conflict with the evil tendencies of our nature. (2) Another of the hindrances to which welldoing of this kind is exposed is the tendency of our machinery to wear out and our own disposition not unfrequently to hurry it off the field. (3) There is weariness in welldoing from the very number of methods by which it may be pursued.

IV. Consider the reason which the Apostle urges for our observance of this injunction. It rests on the great law of God's dealings, the reward of patient labour: "Ye shall reap if ye faint not."

H. R. Reynolds, Notes on the Christian Life, p. 334.

The Weary Well-doers.

I. Well-doing is the broad evidence of the Christian calling. We are the Lord's free army to drive the devil's unholy legions from the earth and to destroy the fruits of his accursed reign. It is the great enterprise of Christ; He came for it, lived for it, died for it, and reigns for it on high. He holds the hope of it as the dearest jewel of His treasure, the warmest passion of His heart. That man can be none of His who, seeing the poor lying wounded in the world's highway, passes by on the other side. Those who can leave the world to struggle on as it may, while they care for their own salvation, utter the most awful blasphemy if they take the name of Christian on their lips. To share Christ's burden here is man's great education for the bliss and glory of eternity.

II. Be not weary in welldoing. Note (1) the causes of weariness: ( a ) The weight of the flesh. The great battle of life is with the heavy, weary, languid flesh, that ties us to the dust. Weariness in welldoing is part of the universal weariness: the slow movement of the flesh under high compulsions; the deadness of the soul itself to truth and Christ and the eternal world, ( b ) The largeness of the problem. ( c ) The immense difficulty and intricacy of the work and the evil it brings in its train. ( d ) The measure in which sorrow is mixed with sin. ( e ) It is thankless work. We might give up our ministry in despair but for the memory that nothing in the way of our carelessness and thanklessness has dulled the zeal of the ministry of the Lord. (2) The reasons which should move us to endure: ( a ) Because such words as these are written in the Bible (Matthew 18:21-35 ); ( b ) because these words are sustained and enforced by the infinite patience and mercy of God; ( c ) this endurance is life's grand lesson; ( d ) there is an end which will fulfil all our hope for humanity in sight.

J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, p. 295.

Against Weariness in Well-doing.

I. One consequence of welldoing, as an argument against weariness, is the consciousness and the joy of pleasing God. This being vividly realised, what cause of weariness might it not be set against? Consider, our Master has other servants, and it should not be absolutely foreign to our consideration (as an argument not to be weary) that the noblest and best of all His creatures are never tired or even remiss. Imagine the stupendous activity, the bright multitudinous agency, every moment, in so many scenes and employments, and from before the beginning of time. And would we have the sovereign Master to look down through all this immensity and grandeur of action to see us throwing His business aside in disgust?

II. Against being weary, let it be considered what is the fittest introduction and discipline for the other world. On what terms would a thoughtful spirit desire to go into it? Surely so that there should be the greatest delight and fitness. Well, then, if it be considered as a rest, labour up to the time, or an active scene, bring highly exerted powers. Is it a scene for the triumph of victory? But then the good fight must be maintained up to the very gate. View it as an access to the noblest society, but then the new-comer must have belonged to the best society where he came from. In all reason, we must wish to bring as near as possible together, in likeness as well as time, the habits and spirit of the state we aspire to and those in the state we quit, that it may not be a vast and abrupt change.

III. We shall reap. The persevering faithful will reap the Divine approbation and acceptance, the great Master's final applause. The emphasis of the "Well done!" will not be proportioned to the measure of success, but to the devotedness, diligence, fidelity, perseverance.

J. Foster, Lectures, vol. ii., p. 386.

References: Galatians 6:9 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxiii., No. 1383; T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. iii., p. 234; C. C. Bartholomew, Sermons chiefly Practical, p. 207; D. Rhys Jenkins, The Eternal Life, p. 70; W. M. Punshon, Sermons, p. 33.Galatians 6:9 , Galatians 6:10 . H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 88. Galatians 6:10 . A. Blomfield, Sermons in Town and Country, p. 205; R. H. Hadden, Church of England Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 4.Galatians 6:11 . Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 108. Galatians 6:13 . J. C. Gallaway, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 228.

Verse 14

Galatians 6:14

I. There is a use of the word "cosmos" in Scripture to which the test of its crucifixion by the Cross perfectly answers. This is the cosmos not of nature and not of man as God created either; not the beautiful universe in which philosophers and poets, and simple loving souls which are neither, delight to revel and expatiate; not the race made in God's image, partaking of His intelligence, and His forethought, and His sympathy, and His love, and even in its ruins prognosticating reconstruction; but that aspect, that element, of each which sin has defiled: matter as the foe of spirit and man as the bond-slave of the devil. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, this is the world. To have these things in the heart is to be worldly. This is the disease, the threefold disease, which Christ came to heal when He undertook the cure of worldliness.

II. In the crucifixion by the Cross there are two stages. (1) There is, first, a testimony. The Cross is a witness. It gives evidence against the world. The Cross is evidence against the vanity of worldliness; bids the man who would be a man do battle for the thing that is and look for his reward to a world not of shadows and to a life not of time. (2) The Cross is a power too. That ugly, that repulsive, that horrible, object, that frightful, that revolting, execution, that gibbet accursed of God and man, has become the magnet of humanity. Christ foretold it, and it is true. Wheresoever the Gospel of the Cross and the Crucified is preached there are found practical evidences "infallible proofs" St. Luke would call them of the power of the Cross to crucify men to the world. Not by trickery or magic, not by accident or machinery, but by the Spirit of the living God, is this influence upon hearts and lives wrought. Christ crucified becomes in His turn the mutual Crucifier of man and the world.

C. J. Vaughan, Simple Sermons, p. 113.

References: Galatians 6:14 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxi., No. 1859; Bishop M. Simpson, Sermons, p. 241; Homilist, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 95; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 94; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 397; Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 106; vol. iv., p. 164.Galatians 6:14 , Galatians 6:15 . S. Pearson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iv., pp. 181, 364.Galatians 6:15 . F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iii., p. 49; G. E. L. Cotton, Sermons and Addresses in Maryborough College, p. 449; E. Cooper, Practical Sermons, vol. i., p. 80; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. vii., p. 93.Galatians 6:15 , Galatians 6:16 . H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xix., p. 26.

Verse 17

Galatians 6:17

I. Note the conception of the slave of Christ. What lies in that metaphor? Well, it is the most uncompromising assertion of the most absolute authority on the one hand and claim of unconditional subjection and obedience on the other. The Christian slavery, with its abject submission, with its utter surrender and suppression of mine own will, with its complete yielding up of self to the control of Jesus, who died for me, because it is based upon His surrender of Himself to me, and in its inmost essence it is the operation of love, is therefore co-existent with the noblest freedom.

II. Note the marks of ownership. The Apostle evidently means thereby distinctly the bodily weaknesses and possibly diseases which were the direct consequence of his own apostolic faithfulness and zeal. Every Christian man and woman ought to bear in his or her body, in a plain, literal sense, the tokens that he or she belongs to Jesus Christ. The old law of self-denial, or subduing the animal nature, its passions, appetites, desires, is as true and as needful today as it ever was; and for us all it is essential to the purity and loftiness of our Christian life that our animal nature and our fleshly constitution should be well kept down under heel and subdued.

III. Note the glorying in the slavery and its signs. In a triumph that is legitimate, the Apostle solemnly and proudly bears before men the marks of the Lord Jesus. He was proud of being dragged at the Conqueror's chariot-wheels, chained to them by the cords of love, and so he was proud of being the slave of Christ.

IV. Mark the immunity from any disturbance which men can bring which these marks and the servitude they express secure: "From henceforth let no man trouble me." Paul claims that his apostolic authority, having been established by the fact of his sufferings for Christ, should give him a sacredness in their eyes; that henceforth there should be no rebellion against his teaching and his word. In proportion as we belong to Christ and bear the marks of His possession of us, in that measure we are free from the disturbance of earthly influences and of human voices and from all the other sources of care and trouble, of perturbation and annoyance, which harass and vex other men's spirits.

A. Maclaren, Christian Commonwealth, Jan. 21st, 1886.

The Marks of the Lord Jesus.

These words are the magnificent outburst of a heart filled to the overflow with the spirit of impassioned consecration. The words are the language of a man who has made up his mind so firmly that he is conscious that there is not the faintest possible chance of his ever changing his determination. The "marks" are only so many seals upon a resolution deliberately taken, and so awfully intense in its nature that you may as well argue with a rock and expect to move it by force of your logic, as anticipate effecting the slightest alteration of my determined purpose.

I. This is the language of a devoted servant. The word employed is "stigmata," and the original, the primary, meaning of that word is the brand which the slave bore on his person, with either the initials, the mark, or the name of his owner. You will see how this illustrates our subject. Let us remember (1) at what a price our Master bought us, for if we remember that we shall glory in bearing the stigmata. (2) Bear in mind how well He has treated us since He did buy us. (3) Remember that we do bear His marks, and that we cannot get rid of them. Play the traitor, if you will, but everybody shall know it. You have received a brand that cannot be effaced.

II. The words are the language of a true-hearted veteran. Although the first and the chief meaning of "stigmata" is the brand the slave bore to show that he was the property of another, yet the word also meant any scar; and the Apostle had this in his mind also. "Do you think I am going to give the Lord up now? Look at what I have endured for Him." He looked upon his scars as so many badges of honour.

A. G. Brown, Penny Pulpit, No. 1015.

References: Galatians 6:17 . Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 95; vol. xxvii., p. 229; Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 145; F. E. Paget, Sermons for Special Occasions, p. 127.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Galatians 6". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/galatians-6.html.