Grab your Bible, and let’s go deeper into Galatians 6.
Read: Galatians 6:1-5
Right out the door, we see Paul is speaking to Christians who are or have been falling into sin (verse 1), working through suffering and troubles (verse 2) and struggling with jealousy and comparisons (verses 3-5). What Paul is doing here is building on chapter five’s teaching on “those who walk in the Spirit will have the fruit of the spirit.” He is now saying to those Spirit filled Christians, “Here are some practical responses of how the Spirit through you cares for people who are struggling in these matters.”
Let’s break it down: Who is Paul saying we should help?
Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression …
We should help a brother or sister in Christ! As a general rule, Christians are not to confront non-Christians about sinful behavior, because what they need to change is not accountability. They need the power to change, which only comes in Christ. They need Jesus—not reprimand.
Accountability and exhortation are for the redeemed family of God. Non-believers cannot understand the ways of godly living because they are spiritually dead. Their entire spiritual solar system is out of whack. To become a Christian is to gain a completely new center to your solar system. It is only through Christ that godly living is understandable and doable.
Accountability is for a brother or sister in Christ who is caught in any transgression or “caught in sin.” This is sin that is repeated, being practiced unrepentantly, or sin that is clearly evident. “Caught” means the person is in a state of blindness or denial, as they somehow persist in believing they are not out of step with the gospel. They need to be woken from their drunken stupor of sin. Side note: If a person brings up their own sin, they are not caught; they are seeking repentance and help, and this is different. The person you catch in sin must be woken up. This typically means a more direct and serious consequence.
First of all, who should do this restoring? “… you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” You who are spiritual.
This is not saying the spiritually elite, the robe wearers, those who have “tenure” in their faith. This is not left only to the leaders and overseers of our organization. No, “you who are spiritual” is anyone who is walking in Holy Spirit. Anyone who is walking in the Holy Spirit can and should do this. Why? Because the Spirit will lead and not your pride! It is someone who is "led by the Spirit" (Gal 5:18), "walking by the Spirit" (Gal 5:16, 25), "bearing the fruit of the Spirit" (Gal 5:22, 23).
He is saying, “If you are walking by the Spirit and as a result the fruit of the Spirit is coming out of you, there is work to be done. An assignment has been given to you: brothers and sisters in Christ who need your humble, kind, patient service to come alongside them.” This is how God has set the table for us to be able to thrive in the midst of a bloody and hard battle.
What is Paul saying we, “who are Spiritual,” should do? Answer: The Ministry of Truth and the Ministry of Tears. As the fruit of the Spirit moves through us, it is beneficial to our bothers and sisters in Christ and propels us into two ministries or responses to sin or struggle in the family. One is when we are direct in love with truth, and the other is when we are empathetic in love with tears.
The Ministry of Truth
In John 11, Mary and Martha are found mourning Lazarus’s death. Upon Jesus’ arrival, Martha says to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus says, “He will live.” She says, “Yes, on resurrection day.” Jesus looks at her and says, “I am the Resurrection!” He sets her straight. This is the Ministry of TRUTH. Sometimes we just need the truth, plain and simple. Because God is Truth! The Church is called to admonish each other in the TRUTH of God. This is the foundation of what we, the body of Christ, are to do.
Colossians 1:28 (NASB) We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.
The Ministry of Truth is this: you who are spiritual should “restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” Restore, in Greek (ka-tart-izo), translates as “to return to former condition; to set a dislocated bone back into place.” Now we don’t run up to each other every time we see what looks like a sin or struggle and look to set them straight in God’s truth. Only when another believer is caught or the sin is evident do we seek this approach. 1 Corinthians 13:7 teaches us that love gives the benefit of the doubt..” Many of us need to work on this.
Warning: As we approach our brothers and sisters in Christ to correct and admonish and restore, our flesh can wrongfully motivate us to do this pridefully. Paul warms of this in Galatians 6:3-5: “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.” This is not a warning against correcting and admonishing and restoring a person; it is a warning against doing it arrogantly. He says, "Since we all struggle with pride, make every effort to humble yourself when you point out someone else's sin." The way to avoid pride as you confront a brother about his sin is to act only in the power of the Spirit. Remember you are a basket case of sin apart from God's gracious Spirit.
On Monday, we read in Galatians 2 about Paul admonishing Peter for being out of step with the gospel. Paul was loving Peter enough to set the bone straight and return him to truth. This is the Ministry of Truth. But some of you are thinking, “That is just not me. I just am not comfortable telling someone else they are out of place or out of line.” This is very common! And this brings up the question:
Why should we admonish one another?
Because we are command to.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom …
Luke 17:3 “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
Whether it’s a formal process in response to some egregious error or misstep or the informal, everyday exhortations that are to happen in the life of Christian community, all biblical correction aims at repentance of sin and restoration unto God-honoring righteousness! Let me give a big example of each:
An example of formal admonishment, rebuke, and reproof can be found in Matthew 18:15-17.
An example of daily admonishment, rebuke, and reproof can be found in Hebrews 3:12-13.
Because It is loving and kind to do so! Any righteous rebuke is a kindness. Psalm 141:5 says, “Let a righteous man strike me — it is a kindness; let him rebuke me — it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it …” The psalmist is saying it is kindness to be admonished. Why? Because it is not loving to leave people in their mess. One of the most loving things you can do for someone is tell them when they’re wrong.
Now, back to Galatians, and let’s look at the other ministry we are to practice.
The Ministry of Tears
Mary also comes up to Jesus at Lazarus’s death and says, “If you had only been here.” Jesus’ response to Mary is different than His response to Martha. What does he say? Nothing! He weeps with her. John 11:35 says, “Jesus Wept.” With this, we see the Ministry of Tears. Sometimes what our brother or sister needs is for us to help them carry the burden they are feeling by empathetically understanding their pain and struggle.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens …
First of all, burdens are different than the transgressions we find in verse 1. Burdens are not sin; they are the basic hardships that come with life. "Bear one another's burdens" means if a Christian brother or sister is weighed down or menaced by some burden or threat, we must be alert to quickly do something to help. Don't let them be crushed. Don't let them be destroyed. Don't be like the Scribes and Pharisees to them. Jesus warned us of their ways when he said in Matthew 23:4, "They bind heavy burdens hard to bear and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger."
To help bear the burden means you help carry it; you join them in the struggle. Examples of this could be helping paying a bill, sitting at the hospital, helping with projects, loaning a car or bike, taking someone into your home, giving someone something you have that they need more, praying with them, and more.
Wouldn't it be great to belong to a family of believers who loved each other so much that they simply could not look the other way while a brother or sister hardens into a habit of sin or is overwhelmed by life? Let's be that family! If we are not, we will not fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Now, a critical question is how can we do this for each other without it overwhelming us? The reason we can bear each other’s burdens is because of Jesus. Jesus was crushed for our iniquities, our transgressions. Psalm 34:18-19 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Jesus was crushed for our iniquities—our transgressions—so we could fulfill the law of Christ, which is to practice other-centered love.
What exactly is the LAW of Christ? The law of Christ is the principle of LOVE! Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” So, in Christ, we fulfill the law of Christ, which is sacrificial love! It is this love that causes us to practice the Ministry of Truth and the Ministry of Tears.
Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Christ was crushed for our iniquities and transgressions so that we could bear each other’s burdens in His power and not our own, with Him getting the credit and not ourselves, with His glory in mind and not our own. It is Christ’s victory in us. It is His work that restores us so that we can, in His power, help restore others!
There is no other gospel! There is no other GOOD NEWS! There is no other lasting JOY. There is no other way to gain transformation from addiction and slavery and death. There is no other way to truly change from the inside out and grow the fruit of the Spirit. There is nothing you can add to Jesus to make this life better. It’s Jesus. And Jesus alone! AMEN?
This is who we boast in. I have done nothing! You have done nothing to earn ANY of it. We have nothing to boast in but Jesus!
Galatians 6:14 (NASB) … may it never be that I would boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ …
This means no boasting, no exulting, no rejoicing, no thanksgiving in anything except in the cross. Why? Because every dream dreamed for our future and every plan formed, and every disciple raised up and every soul saved by God is blood-bought mercy for us redeemed sinners, because apart from the cross all we deserve is condemnation. Therefore, every exultation, every thanksgiving, every boast, every joy is in Jesus!
Boasting in the cross happens when you have taken up your cross.
Galatians 6:14 (NASB) But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
In other words, the world is dead to me, and I am dead to the world. Why?
The best verse in all of Galatians:
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Paul was ravished by the love of Christ. He was utterly mastered—held captive--by one great scene in history: a cross on Golgotha, and on it the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us.
May it be this way for us also! May we live out a Ministry of Truth and Tears.
I conclude with what Paul concludes with in Galatians:
Galatians 6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.