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Bible Commentaries

Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament
Galatians 6

 

 


Verses 1-10

Some good advice

Galatians 6:1-10

In this section the apostle deals with several areas that are most important to those who know and love the Saviour.

1. Our attitude toward those who stumble and fall.

2. Our love for one another and our identification with those in trial.

3. Our humility and genuine modesty.

4. Our generosity and willingness to share what we have.

Galatians 6:1. We are redeemed, children of God, indwelt by his Spirit of holiness and grace; but we are still human, still flesh. The motions of sin, the desires of the flesh and the potential to fall are in every believer. Therefore, if a brother falls into sin of spirit, attitude, or flesh, we are to make every attempt to recover, restore and resettle him to his place of fellowship. The attitude of strong, mature, restrained believers toward the fallen is not to be critical, 'holier than thou' and condemning. It is to be a spirit of humility and meekness, for we know that the potential to commit any sin is in us, and we only stand by the grace of God! (2 Timothy 2:24-25.)

Galatians 6:2. 'Bear one another's frailties, infirmities and weaknesses' (and we all have them). 'Don't desert, withdraw fellowship and condemn.' 'Love beareth all things.' Bear these burdens by comforting the brother while gently reproving him. Sympathize with and forgive him in genuine mercy. In doing so we will fulfill the royal law of Christ (John 13:34).

Galatians 6:3. 'Man at his best state is altogether vanity.' 'In my flesh dwelleth no good thing.' I owe my being, my knowledge, my mercies, my preservation and my gifts to God alone (1 Corinthians 4:7). In myself and left to myself I am nothing and know nothing. Now if in pride and self-esteem I think myself to be something, I am deceived. Pride of face, race, place, or grace is an abomination to God (Proverbs 6:16-18).

Galatians 6:4-5. These two verses must be considered in the context! It is so easy to compare ourselves with weaker Christians, less gifted believers, or even fallen brothers, and to begin to think that we are something special, we are strong, or we are better than others. We are not to prove ourselves by other men's sins or actions, but in the light of God's glory and holiness. If we can find some measure of genuine spiritual growth and some evidence of the fruit of the Spirit, we can rejoice in what God has truly been pleased to do for and in us, rather than being buoyed up in vain hope simply because we are not as other men. Every man is judged according to his own works, not in a comparative view of others.

Galatians 6:6. This verse has to do with the support of those who preach and teach the word of God. They that preach the gospel as pastors, evangelists and missionaries are to be supported and cared for by those whom they teach. The doctor who ministers to you, the policeman who protects you, the carpenter who builds for you are all compensated according to their service. Even so, the man who studies, prays for and teaches you the word of God (the most important service) is to share in your material substance.

Galatians 6:7. Do not be deceived by a covetous heart or by false teachers! Our God is not to be mocked; and withholding those things which are needed from his true ministers because of covetousness, ingratitude, or indifference is to mock God. He has, from the early days, ordained that those who minister in things of the temple shall partake of those things. 'What a man sows he reaps.' This is a proverbial expression that applies to all actions, good and bad. If a man sows wheat, he reaps wheat. If a man sows nothing, he reaps nothing (2 Corinthians 9:5-8).

Galatians 6:8. If a man is only concerned for his physical and material welfare, if he devotes all his possessions to pamper, please and provide for his body, he will reap the dividends of the flesh corruption! It will all decay, rot and be food for worms. But if a man uses his time, strength and substance for the glory of God and for the good of his soul and the souls of others, he will reap everlasting happiness (Matthew 6:19-21).

Galatians 6:9. If what we do and give is according to the will of God, out of a principle of love to him, for the glory of God and in the name of the Lord Jesus, we need not grow weary nor discouraged. In God's own time, either in this world or in the world to come, we shall see the fruit of our labors of love. Let us not be impatient but wait on the Lord.

Galatians 6:10. As we have the opportunity and the ability, and as the occasion requires, let us do good to all men (strangers, neighbors, believers and unbelievers), but especially let us care for, encourage and assist those who are believers with us in Christ Jesus.


Verses 11-18

And in conclusion...

Galatians 6:11-18

Galatians 6:11. The apostle had great affection for the believers at Galatia. The errors to which they had been exposed and into which many had fallen caused him great grief; so he says, ‘Take notice of the length of this epistle and the fact that it is written in my own hand.’ There were longer epistles, but most of them had been dictated by Paul and written by someone else (Romans 16:22). Oh, for a heart that cares for others and that is broken when their peace is threatened by error or sin!

Galatians 6:12. Paul's chief purpose in this epistle was to expose the false teachers and their errors; so he cannot conclude without taking some further notice of them, which he does by exposing their hypocrisy and ambition.

1. They do what they do to be seen of men. Their religion is an outward show (Matthew 6:1-5) and only exists in the observance of days, circumcision, and laws respecting meats and drinks. They congratulate one another on their spirituality and devotion to religious practices.

2. They want you to adopt their ceremonies and legalistic rules lest they suffer persecution from the religious Jews who were offended at the preaching of the total sufficiency of Christ. Christ crucified is our atonement, and Christ's obedience is our righteousness without any part of the Levitical Law to be added. To be saved, a man has only to look by faith to Christ, not to be baptized, circumcised, observe a day, join a church, or keep a law. ‘We are complete in him!’

Galatians 6:13. These religious teachers who preach the law, teach the law, and boast of their regard for the law do not keep the whole law. This the flesh cannot do, and to bring in one part of the law for righteousness or justification before God requires us to keep the whole law perfectly. But they require you Gentiles to submit to circumcision so that they can boast before the other Jews of the number of proselytes or converts they have won to their brand of religion or system of salvation. Every religionist glories or rejoices in something. These false teachers glory in the flesh, in the outward form, in the noise they make, in the work they do, and in the souls they have won.

Galatians 6:14. Paul says, ‘I glory in the cross of Christ.’ My chief glory, rejoicing, and delight is in the Person and work of Christ, not in myself, my works, nor even in whatever God is pleased to do through me, but in Christ alone! He gloried not in the wood of the cross but in the person who suffered on that tree and the effects of his obedience and sacrifice. Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

‘The world is crucified unto me.’ I do not fear men nor what they can do anymore than I would fear one nailed to a tree. The ceremonial law is nailed to his cross. The world, its riches, honors, applause, pleasures, and profits are also nailed to that cross. I am no more drawn to them than I would be to a convicted felon nailed to a cross.

‘I am crucified to the world.’ The world had no affection for him, and he had none for the world. ‘You can count me out of your plans; 1 am dead to your whole philosophy and system.’ The ceremonial law was dead to Paul, and Paul was dead to it. He would have nothing to do with these beggarly elements.

Galatians 6:15. Circumcision and obedience to any of the rituals and ceremonies can profit you nothing before God for justification and righteousness. Abstinence from these rituals and ceremonies can profit you nothing. That which is profitable and of eternal value is ‘a new creature.’ The new creature consists of a new spiritual man in Christ Jesus, a new glory of Christ motivated by a real love for him.

Galatians 6:16. This is the rule of our walk and conduct: to renounce all trust in and dependence upon any outward thing, to believe alone in Christ for righteousness, to walk in love, holiness, and newness of life under the influence of his Spirit and grace! (2 Corinthians 5:14-15.)

Galatians 6:17. The false apostles boast of their circumcision made by their own hands; but Paul holds up the real scars in his body, made by stonings, beatings, imprisonment, and the sufferings which he endured for preaching the gospel of Christ. Like a soldier who holds up the stub of an arm lost in battle to show his devotion and bravery, Paul says, ‘Don't bother me anymore with your false claims of will-worship and righteousness by the law.’ Preach Christ crucified and sufferings will follow.

Galatians 6:18. Paul closes with his usual benediction, expressing his love for them as brethren and wishing for them the best blessing of God, the grace of Christ, that this might be in their hearts and spirits!

 


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Bibliography Information
Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on Galatians 6:4". Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hms/galatians-6.html. 2013.

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Sunday, November 29th, 2020
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