CALLED TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIAN CONGREGATIONS OF BELIEVERS

SUMMARY OF CHAPTER SIX

When we arrive at the beginning of chapter six, Paul has spent whole chapters hammering away at the false doctrines of the Judaizers and imploring the Galatians to return to the message of the Gospel. It is refreshing, then, to see Paul tackle some practical matters within the Church community as he wraps up his communication.

To begin with, Paul shows that when a brother or sister in the Anointed One gets caught by sin, other Christians should step in instead of looking away. Spiritually mature Christians should help to restore the one caught by sin with gentleness and humility. It is one of the ways those in the Anointed One can help to carry each other’s burdens. When the load one of us is hauling around becomes too heavy, others should step in to help that person get through that season. It does not mean that life in union with the Anointed One is lived alone.

Paul emphasized the need for gentleness and caution in such restoration. Having rejected the First Covenant Law as a means of salvation, he encouraged the Galatians to “fulfill the law of the Anointed One” by carrying one another’s burdens.

Having said that, Paul encourages Christians to take careful stock of the work they do in the Spirit without comparing themselves to each other. We should be honest with ourselves and take full responsibility to do what is ours to do in following the Anointed One. One of those responsibilities is to share the good things God gives to us with those who teach us the Word.

Paul is quick to point out that faith in the Anointed One for salvation doesn’t mean we should avoid doing good things or obeying God’s commandments. The opposite is true – actions that are grounded in sinful tendencies will produce the “works of the flesh,” as described in chapter five, while a life lived in the power of the Spirit will bear an abundance of good fruit.

Next applies the comparison of planting and harvesting to living in the flesh and living in the Spirit. Those who insist on trying to be made righteous before God by the effort of their good moral deeds in following the Law will harvest a failed crop. Only those who plant works of faith by God’s Spirit will yield eternal life (Galatians 6:6–8).

So, Paul encourages those who walk by the Spirit not to give up doing good. Don’t get tired of it, he writes. The harvest is coming! Use up all the planting time to do good to everyone, especially other Christian in this house of faith we live in as brothers and sisters with the same Father.

Paul concludes his letter by, presumably, taking the pen from his scribe – something like a secretary who would write down his words – to write the ending with his hand, and he writes with 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. The Galatians must not allow themselves to be misused in that way.

Paul concluded his letter by again summarizing his major argument: neither circumcision nor obedience to the Law have any chance to connect us with God. Only faith in the death and resurrection can save us.

For his part, Paul will not brag about how many people he led to faith in the Anointed One. He will brag, though, about the cross of the Anointed One. That’s where Paul crucified his passion for the things of the world, and vice versa. Because he has been set free by faith in the Anointed One, the world no longer has anything that interests him.

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, but being a new creation in the Anointed One does. Then he offers his standard closing blessing, to all the saints in Galatians.

About drbob76

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