Study Notes

Galatians 6:6-18


Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in the region of Galatia to warn them against the teachings of the Judaizers, who were trying to turn them away from the simplicity of the gospel of grace, and put them under the bondage of legalistic religion. Paul called these deceivers false brethren, and showed the Galatians in several ways how religion is a dead end, and how it is about our relationship with God through the work of the cross of Christ that truly makes us righteous. We have been shown in no uncertain terms what true freedom is.

As we began chapter six last time, Paul was instructing us regarding the application of grace and love in our lives. His first example was in restoring a fallen Christian. Now, as he continues, he shows us how to show grace and love to our teachers.

6:6 Share With Him Who Teaches

When we are taught the Word of God, we are called to share all good things with the one who teaches us. I am indebted to the men who discipled me by teaching me the Word. Every year that I see Pastor Chuck, I make an effort to encourage him by thanking him for leading me to Christ and teaching me the Word, and let him know the abundant fruit that has been produced in Cheyenne because he was faithful to teach the Word.

I have blessed other men that were instrumental in my instruction in the Word by developing friendships with them, and giving to others financially. I can't tell you how grateful I am that the Lord used these men to instruct me.

Paul says that we are to share all good things with those who teach us the Word. What are some examples of "good things" in the Scripture? Good food (Luke 1:53; Rom 14:16), good words (Luke 6:45), all the rich comforts in life (Luke 16:25), good deeds (John 5:29); good reports (Rom 10:15), good service (Eph 6:8), and good gifts (James 1:17).

Paul told this to the Thessalonians as well.

1Ths. 5:12-13 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work...

And in 1Timothy we read,

1Tim. 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

It would seem that if it were up to Paul, October would not be "Pastor Appreciation Month." Instead, every day would be designated as a continual sharing of all good things with those who teach us the Word.

6:7-8 Reaping And Sowing

There is a physical principle in this universe: when you plant corn, you never get carrots. When you plant watermelons, you never get tomatoes. Jesus said,

Matt. 7:16 "...Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?"

So you always reap what you sow. If you plant good seeds, you'll get good things. If you plant bad seeds, you'll get bad things.

What kind of planting are you doing in your life? Spiritual, or fleshly? Sinful, or righteous? If you're sowing to the flesh, you're hardening your heart towards unbelief. The more you live in the flesh, the harder your heart is, and the harder it is to believe.

6:9 Don't Lose Heart

Maybe you've given up on planting good things, because you didn't see any results. One of the projects I most remember from elementary school was planting seeds in styrofoam cups full of dirt. I remember the frustration I had when each day, I'd go to my cup and see nothing. I'd think that it didn't work, that I must have gotten a bad seed. But eventually, that little green stem would rise up from the ground, and leaves would begin to form.

You've got to plant and water and be patient. James said,

James 5:7-8 ...Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts...

Do you see the spiritually mature person and just know that you'll never be as godly as her, you'll never be as joyful as him? They didn't get that way overnight. It was years in prayer and fellowship, in the Word and in Bible studies, in church service, in retreats and conferences, in trials and difficulties.

The fact is, you're only going to reap if you sow. Everyone in my neighborhood has a better lawn than mine. It's readily apparent to anyone who passes by. And sometimes it gets to the point of death, and I begin to water it for two or three days. It resurrects from the dead, and I don't think about it for another couple of weeks until the cycle starts again. But my neighbors, they're watering every day. They fertilize, they manicure, they put the iron and nitrogen and all the other things that I have neither the knowledge, the money, nor the patience to do. Of course their lawns look better!

When you go to the gym, the ones in the best shape are the ones who've been working out the longest and most faithfully. When you see musicians, the good ones are the ones who've put in the practice.

For years, I've wanted to learn to speak Spanish, to be able to minister to more people. But I've never gotten any better at it because I haven't put any effort into it. But now, I'm actively working on it. I'm learning songs in Spanish, and trying to read and study more of it. And I will do exactly as well as the amount of effort I put into it.

The question is, do you want to be spiritually mature? Do you want to be fluent in Scripture? Do you want to be trained in righteousness? Keep going, don't get weary. You will reap in direct proportion to what you sow. Paul said,

2Cor. 9:6 ...he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.

How much are you investing in your spiritual life?

6:10 Do Good To All

One of the best ways to sow good, spiritual seed is to do good to others, especially those in the body of Christ. Consider how you might do good to one another. I'm talking about active good, not passive. More than offering a smile and a handshake. Offering to help with a project, actively meeting a need. Find out where people are at and where they need help. Then meet them there, meet their needs, help them out. Minister the love of Christ to people that need to be reminded of it, to experience it afresh.

While You Have The Opportunity

There is no time like the present to do good to others. Realistically, if you're single now, you won't have the time or resources you will when you get married. If you're married, you won't have the youth and energy as you grow older. If you're older, you won't have the mental ability you do now. Sieze the opportunity you have now to do good to others, because it's not going to get any easier as time progresses.

6:11 With My Own Hand

Paul normally used what is called an amanuensis - someone who wrote his letters while he dictated. It is thought that at this point, he began to write the final eight verses himself, but with very large letters, most likely because of his failing eyesight.

6:12 A Show In The Flesh For No Persecution

As he closes this letter, he reminds them one more time about what a bad influence the Judaizers were to them. Part of the reason that the Judaizers wanted the Galatian Christians to follow the Law of Moses was that they didn't want to be persecuted by the Christ-hating Jews.

I'm sure you can relate to this. After all, aren't we all guilty of hiding our faith in Christ, or candy-coating our Christianity, just to avoid difficulty with others?

Trying to water down our faith to avoid persecution and difficulty enters the dangerous realm of Jesus' warning,

Mark 8:38 "...whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

Instead, we should display our faith and our Christianity in the open.

As a matter of fact, you may find that it ends up having the opposite effect you expected. After all, Jesus said,

Matt. 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do {men} light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

Many Christians' friends and family members have been saved because they refused to be ashamed and hide their light.

6:13 They May Boast In Your Flesh

Another reason for the Judaizers' oppression of the Galatian Christians into the Law was to have reason to boast - "Look at all of my disciples, look at all of the people who are under my control!"

I am very wary about making and counting "notches" in my spiritual "belt." I don't keep track of how many people I have baptized, I don't keep count of how many people have received Christ at Calvary Chapel. It so easily becomes a source of boasting and pride.

6:14 Boast In The Cross

When we've got something to boast about, we work it into conversation, don't we? We are so sneaky, so effectively dropping those statements that let people know that we got the raise, that we won the prize, that we were so spiritual, that we did so well. We can work anything into any conversation, no matter how much of a stretch it is.

But instead, we should be doing that with the cross of Jesus! Instead of boasting about our accomplishments, we should be boasting about what Jesus has accomplished.

6:15-16 A New Creation

The Law means nothing to the saved man - he is a new person, walking righteously, fulfilling the Law without following it. 2Corinthians says,

2Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, {he is} a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

The person that has been born again is a new creation - a person that didn't exist before. The old me died, and it's the new me that's living now.

6:17 The Brand-marks Of Jesus

As Paul finishes up the letter, he writes his desire that no one will undermine the gospel that he preached there. He had been through so much for his faith in Christ - having been physically tortured and tormented for the gospel that he preached - you can almost hear him saying, "Come on guys - I've been through so much to keep the truth pure and proclaimed. Please don't let anyone ruin the foundation I've laid, don't believe anyone that comes in saying, 'No, Paul has it all wrong!'"

6:18 The Grace Of Our Lord Jesus

Finally, just as we began the book of Galatians with grace, so we finish it with grace. And what a great reminder for us who have been saved - we know that we were saved by grace, that it was God's work, not ours, that forgave our sins. But how about now? You started by standing in grace, but are you finishing that way? Are you being caught up in the thinking that "God forgave all my sins before, but now I'm walking in condemnation?" Be reminded that you stand today in the same grace that saved you.

Romans 5 talks about

Rom. 5:2 ...this grace in which we stand...

And Peter emphatically said,

1Pet. 5:12 ...I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!

Stand firm in grace this morning.

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