Lesson 299:

Galatians 6:1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently

The Bible contains many examples of God’s people doing ungodly things. Noah got drunk (Genesis 9:1), Abraham lied (Genesis 12:19), Jacob cheated (Genesis 27), Moses murdered (Exodus 12:2), David committed adultery (2 Samuel 11), and Peter denied Christ (Matthew 26:74). 

Good people are not always strong, and the people of God don’t always act like godly people. We all stumble in many ways (James 3:2), wrote James. The best we can hope for is to stumble in the right direction. If we get back up every time we fall, we will arrive in heaven along with all the other sinners who have been saved by God’s grace. When someone you know is caught in a sin, restore that person gently. Try to handle the situation the way you would like, if the roles were reversed.

Galatians 6:1b But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

Satan is called the tempter (1 Thessalonians 3:5), and is always looking for an opportunity. He is good at what he does, and never gives up. The important thing is to know your weakness, and to keep a safe distance.

The family dog saw a duck paddling near the shore, and chased it further out. The duck could have swam away, but stayed close enough to keep the dog’s attention. Several minutes later the dog was exhausted, and finally turned back.

The dog’s head got lower and lower in the water, until all you could see were two little nostrils. It barely made it back to shore, where it passed out for several minutes. But the moment it awoke, there was that stupid duck. Sin is a pleasure that many chase, but not everyone survives.

Galatians 6:5 [E]ach one should carry their own load

The early church in Jerusalem established a daily distribution of food to care for its widows (Acts 6:1). This was an important program because Jesus taught that whatever we do for the least, we do for him (Matthew 25:40). Every church should be a loving community that cares for the needs of its own. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), wrote Paul.

But there are always some who take advantage of those who are generous, even when they can care for themselves. A man was holding a sign that said, Will work for food. But when he was offered a job he declined, and said he really wanted a handout. Those who are truly needy should be willing to receive—without shame—but with a view to giving back when they are able. This is how we can carry each other’s burdens, and our own load too.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up

Worshipping God, serving others, and obeying Christ can be exhausting. But like the farmer who plows, plants and weeds, we too will reap a harvest if we do not give up. And the harvest will be so abundant that it will make a lifetime of effort seem like nothing by comparison. When following Christ seems wearisome, look ahead to the harvest.

Galatians 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world

Paul identified with Jesus Christ so thoroughly that he thought of himself as crucified to the world. This delivered Paul from the sin of worldliness (1 John 2:15), because it is hard to love the world, after you have been crucified. 

Likewise, we do not need the world’s acceptance, since we are accepted by Christ (Romans 15:7). And we do not look to the world for joy, but to the world to come for joy. And we do not long for worldly pleasure, but for eternal pleasures at [God’s] right hand (Psalm 16:11). The best way to combat the sin of worldliness is through the cross of Christ. 

Galatians 6:17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus

Slaves and animals were often branded to prove who their owners were; and Paul’s body was covered with scars because of the persecution he endured. Instead of being resentful, Paul viewed his scars with pride, because they proved who his owner was. 

Most believers have not been scarred for Jesus physically, but many have been scarred for him emotionally. When friends and family reject us, because of our faith, we can be scarred for life. But wounds to the soul should not be despised, since they are visible to Christ, and mark us as his own. Suffering is never pleasant, but whenever we suffer for our faith, we have reason to rejoice (Matthew 5:11-12).

Galatians 6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. 

Since the Christian life is based on God’s undeserved favor from beginning to end, Paul concluded this letter with a word of God’s grace. We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), kept by grace (1 Corinthians 1:8), and need grace every day.

A boy was caught in a sin, and his father sternly warned him that if he ever did it again, he would receive a punishment that he would never forget. To the boy’s alarm, his father caught him again. Then the father marched his son into a field, so far that no one would be able to hear. The further they went, the more the boy feared for his life. 

Then his father plucked a grain of wheat, and gently stroked the boy’s face with it. That is a punishment you will never forget, he said. This helped the boy to hate his sin, and love his father even more. When we compare the way we have treated God, with the way he has treated us, we will be amazed by his grace, and love him more as well.

Reflection and Review
How can we restore Christians who are sinning?
Why is it hard to be good all the time?
How does God treat us when we sin?