Bearing One Another’s Burdens (Galatians 6)

Galatians 6:1-2: Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

 

  • Paul was writing this to the brothers and sisters in Christ in the church in Galatia: “Brethren”
  • “caught in any trespass”
    • (prolambano) Greek word sometimes was used to describe an animal being caught in a trap.
    • You can’t get out of the trap based on your own strength. You need the strength of Christ through the Holy Spirit to get you out.
    • Christ’s tools are Spiritual and not according to the flesh: (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. we are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”
  • Notice that it isn’t all of the “brethren” who are to restore the entrapped brother or sister – it is those brothers and sisters who are “spiritual”.
    • And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? – 1 Cor 3:1-4
    • All who are in the Body of Christ are born of the Spirit and are of one spirit with Him. We are all complete In Him, and we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Him. We all are spiritual In Christ.
    • Even though we are born of the Spirit, it doesn’t mean that we are walking by the Spirit. In the New Testament, walking is used to describe the predominant way we are living our life. A single step or an occasional stumble is different than a long, consistent walk.
      • If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. – Galatians 5:25
      • for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light – Ephesians 5:8
      • Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, – Colossians 2:6
      • If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. – 1 John 1:6-8
    • Those who are “spiritual” are those who tend to abide in Christ and walk in the reality of the true life in Christ more often than they walk in the flesh. As we are sanctified, we become in time what we already are in eternity. The image of Christ becomes more and more seen in us as we mature, as it is His life coming through us more than our old man.
    • Those who are spiritual will tend to be the ones both inclined to and looked to get involved with helping restore a brother or sister caught in a trespass or sin.
    • In addition, depending on the type of the trespass/sin/burden, certain members of the body may have proven in their life to be spiritual, or yielding to Christ and not their flesh, in that certain area.
    • Also notice that it is a responsibility of those who are spiritual to help restore, regardless of if they were personally offended or a victim of the sin or trespass. Sometimes we take Matthew 18 too literally and read into it that the brother or sister on the outside of the sin offense cannot intervene to help with the restoration.
  • “restore” is the Greek word katartizo which was used to describe mending a broken bone by physicians. Restoring the brother and sister to who they really are In Christ. Broken bones always heal stronger at the break if properly restored.
  • The restoration should be done in the “spirit of gentleness”. Restoration is the goal, not condemnation. Using the sword of the Spirit (the word of God) in love.
  • “Bear one another’s burdens”
    • burden here is the Greek word “baros” which means a heaviness, weight, burden, trouble. It is crushing.
    • Note that this is different from the burden/load used in verse 5: “For each one will bear his own load.” This greek word is “phortion” and is used to designate the pack carried by a marching soldier. Phortion, not baros, is used by Christ in describing his burden in Matthew 11:30, and it is light: “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
    • One of the biggest problems in the church at large today is that many live hidden, independent lives and do not view fellowship as a shared life. You can’t help bear my burden if you don’t know I have it. We need to be vulnerable and trust one another with our burdens, yet we also need to prove ourselves to be trustworthy and respond with the Spirit and not just fix-it words from our flesh.
      “If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7)
  • Each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” –
    • sometimes we like being called on to play doctor and we approach an issue with a hint of pride, either that we were called on to help or we don’t have the same problem that they do.
    • If we truly look to ourselves we will realize, like Paul, “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” (Romans 7:18)
    • If my brother or sister can be entrapped in the flesh, so can I if I am not walking by the Spirit. Therefore I need to examine my own heart, especially in relation to this issue to ensure that the Holy Spirit can teach me in the process as well.
    • In examining ourselves, we may be able to humbly relate to the issue and speak to how Christ has freed us from that in the past. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10)
  • “And thereby fulfill the law of Christ”
    • Christ in us can fulfill this law if we allow him to do it. Bearing one another’s burdens is one of many examples of the Law of Christ being fulfilled through us.
    • What is his law? Walking and being led by the Spirit and loving God and one another as Christ loved us.
      • (John 13:34-35) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
      • (John 13:34-35) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
      • (Romans 13:10) Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
      • (Galatians 5:13-14) For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
      • (Galatians 5:18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
      • (James 1:25) But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
      • (James 2:12) So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
  • What are some examples of burdens?
    • Sin burdens (sin, trespasses, strongholds, addictions, bitter roots, etc.)
    • Emotional burdens (depression, anger, fear, unforgiveness, etc.)
    • Physical burdens (health issues, physical needs for food and shelter, etc.)
  • The Greek implies that the burden should be continually borne as long as it is a burden. It is not just a pep talk – it is a carrying of one another in prayer and ministering the life of Christ to one another. This requires true ongoing fellowship.
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