CALLED TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

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NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIAN CHURCHES

INTRODUCTION TO CHAPTER SIX

Chapter six may be the end of Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, but it is not an addendum or afterthought. Paul expands on his teaching about living in God’s Spirit, which he gave at the end of Galatians chapter five. It describes how Christians who live in God’s Spirit should use His power to treat each other. Now it’s time for the Galatians to put everything into action. What Paul says in chapter six is what he has wanted to say since he started his letter.

To begin with, Paul shows that when a spiritually weak brother or sister gets caught sinning, other, more mature, believers should immediately step-in instead of looking the other way. Spiritually healthy believers should help restore the ones snared, sometimes unawares, by temptation’s trap with gentleness and humility. It is one of the ways those in union with the Anointed One can help others with their burdens. When the burden a person is hauling around becomes too heavy, others should step in to help that person get over that hill. In other words, God did not design our life to be lived by our power but by the power of God’s Spirit through the Anointed One (Galatians 6:1–2).

Having said that, Paul now encourages us, believers, to account for the work we do in the Spirit without comparing ourselves to each other. We should be honest with ourselves and take full responsibility to do what is ours in following the Anointed One. That responsibility includes sharing the good things God gave to us with those who are learning His Word (Galatians 6:3–5).

Next, Paul applies the comparison of planting and harvesting with existing in the flesh and living in the Spirit. Those who insist on trying to be made righteous before God by their good works in following the Law will harvest a crop that has no seeds for further planting. Similarly, those who plant only the seeds of their sinful tendencies will harvest poison grain. Only individuals who plant seeds of faith in the Anointed One with the help of God’s Spirit will harvest grain that feeds themselves and others. (Galatians 6:6–8).

Paul then encourages those who walk in union with the Spirit not to give up doing good for God. Don’t get tired of it, he writes. The harvest is coming! Use up all the planting time you have to do good to everyone, especially other Christians in the body of the Anointed One, where we live as brothers and sisters with the same heavenly Father. We are a family! (Galatians 6:9–10).

Paul concludes his letter by taking the pen from his scribe to add a note and his signature. This Paul does in big letters! He immediately goes back to the issue of circumcision, revealing once more that the false teachers pressuring the Galatians to get circumcised are only interested in promoting themselves. Sadly, the Galatians allowed themselves to be exploited in such a manner (Galatians 6:11–13).

For his part, Paul will not brag about how many people he led to faith in the Anointed One. He will boast, though, about the cross. That’s where Paul’s sinful tendencies for worldly things were crucified, and the world became a dead thing to him. Because he has been set free by faith in the Anointed One, the world no longer has anything to offer him (Galatians 6:14–16).

Paul closes his letter with a plea and two blessings. Paul tells everyone to stop causing him trouble since he belongs to Jesus. He blesses all who follow the rule that circumcision doesn’t matter. What counts is being a new creation in the Anointed One. He then offers his standard closing blessing, referring to the Galatians as his family (Galatians 6:17–18).

Let’s think of Galatians chapters one through four as training to be a doctor. Then in chapter five, we become an intern. Now, in chapter six, we enter our residency program, hoping to become a “fellow.” From there, we can go on to become an attending physician. Only in this case, a Physician’s Assistant to the Great Physician Himself. We cannot skip over any step in the process; they all fall in line to prove completion of the degree. Just like in medicine, there are specialties.[1]  So Paul tells us to stick with the program and graduate on God’s terms with His blessing. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] See Ephesians 4:11-13

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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