As he closes the letter, Paul explains how the fact that we all believe the same gospel translates into our lives as a community. First, he urges us to stop competing with our teammates. Then Paul explains how to respond when someone stumbles on this metaphorical race to glory.
Chapter 1: Paul introduced two of his three key themes: 1) his apostolic authority and 2) the gospel of justification by faith alone. Paul claimed you can recognize the true gospel by its substance (grace based on the cross of Jesus Christ); its source (divine revelation).
Chapter 2: Paul argued he learned the gospel through revelation from Jesus Christ. He reviewed his biography to prove that he had no chance to learn the gospel from the other human beings. Yet the other apostles confirmed he preached the same gospel.
Chapter 3-4: Paul gives five persuasive arguments for justification by faith alone.
Chapter 5: Paul encouraged them to stand firm in the gospel and then gave a series of exhortations.
In this final section from 5:13 to the end, Paul gives a series of exhortations, closing with his final thoughts in 6:11-18.
- Galatians 5:13-24—Paul exhorts them not to use freedom as an excuse to indulge in sin.
- Galatians 5:25-6:5—Paul exhorts them to humility and loving others.
- Galatians 6:6-8—Paul exhorts them to invest in the truth.
- Galatians 6:9-10—Paul exhorts them to pursue doing what is good.
25If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. 6:1Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5For each will have to bear his own load. – Galatians 5:25-6:5
- We easily fall into competition over who keeps the Law best. But if we know we’ll find life because of the sanctifying work of the Spirit, we’re free to treat each other as fellow-heirs.
- Paul uses a verb refers to an army marching together in unison. As a community, we should see ourselves as on the same team rather than competing for the Father’s favor.
- Since we embrace the same gospel, as a community we should walk in agreement, having the same values and goals because we all listen to the same Spirit.
- If someone is out of step or caught in transgression, we approach them from a position of unassuming humility.
- In this metaphorical race, it doesn’t matter who crosses the finish line first. God will ensure we all cross the finish line. If someone else stumbles, it’s not a chance for us to get ahead.
- Sin creates a metaphorical burden or “backpack” that we have to carry. If someone else stumbles, we carry their metaphorical backpack by forgiving, speaking truth and exercising patience.
- In doing that, we fulfill the instruction Jesus gave us that we love God and love one another.
- If we think we’ve got this problem with sin under control, or that we’d never fall the way our brother or sister fell, we’re fooling ourselves. We are nothing in the sense that we have the same problem with sin that everyone else has.
- Before you approach your sinful brother, take a good long look at yourself. The temptation of the human heart is to glory in someone else’s failure. If you want to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to Christ. Boast in what he has done for you.
Each of us must bear our own burden and run our own race. Each of us must decide to repent and follow Christ. No one else can do that for us.