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Fulfill the Law of Christ

24 Feb
from Google Images

from Google Images

Christ tells us that we have responsibilities toward one another (1John 3:16). We are not on our own; Christ is with us (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). Neither are we alone with respect to one another, for we are called to come to one another’s aid (Luke 22:31-32). No man lives to himself (Romans 14:7); he has responsibilities to others, others have responsibilities toward him. In the world we are made to feel success and failure are personal matters, and each of us bears that responsibility individually or alone. This is not so in Christ.

If a brother or sister is overcome in sin (Galatians 6:1), he needs to be restored. In fact, this is exactly what Paul was doing when he wrote his letter to the Galatians. They were overcome in the sin of legalism, thinking this was the way to serve the Lord. The word restore (G2675) in Galatians 6:1 is often used in Greek literature as a medical term for ‘mending’ or ‘setting’ a broken bone etc. It is used in Mark 1:19 of James and John mending their nets. We can find a similar situation in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37 where the man who fell among thieves in Luke answers to the folks in Galatia in Paul’s letter.

In Jesus’ parable the man was overcome, stripped naked, wounded and left for dead—exhausted. The thieves could be of the sort that were crucified with Jesus. The Temple soldiers came for Jesus in the Garden as though they came for a thief/robber/murder. Jesus used this term for folks who climbed the wall to steal the sheep in John 10:1, 8. The sense, with respect to Paul’s letter, is that the legalists came in to the Galatian churches stripped the brethren, exposing their sins (nakedness) through accusation of not obeying the Law (the Law exposes sin). They were wounded and the legalists left them exhausted (half dead) in their labor to be clean of their sinfulness, hence, their need for mending (Galatians 6:1).

Notice that the priest and the Levite in Jesus’ parable avoid the man who was overcome and in great need. They did so, because he was unclean (open wound, blood etc.), and they wouldn’t be able to perform their duties in the Temple, if they helped him. In the parable Jesus (the Good Samaritan) helped the man. In Galatians 6:1 Paul calls upon the spiritually minded brethren in Galatia to help those who had been overtaken – surprised – by the condition in which they found themselves.

Such a thing needs to be done in the spirit of meekness or gentleness, which is a demonstration of love (Galatians 5:22-23). If care is not taken the spiritually minded folks can end up in the same condition as the one overtaken in a fault. The sin, itself, is a temptation for the spiritually minded person to judge his brother, and so must be done in the Spirit of humility fixing our eyes upon Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2).

The Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2) is fulfilled in sharing the burden of those who have been overcome. The sense is that we do as Christ says he does in calling all those who are heavily burdened to himself for comfort (Matthew 11:28-30). The Judaizers came and stripped the Galatians naked (cf. Luke 10:30). They probably did this by exposing their sins, saying they needed to clean themselves up before they could be accepted by God. Trying to obey the Law not only increases one’s awareness of his sinfulness, but serving the Law is too heavy a burden to bear (Acts 15:10). Legalism kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Paul tells us to fulfill the Law of Christ through one’s example of loving encouragement toward one’s brother (cf. Matthew 11:28-30 and John 15:12). Let the heavily burdened brother see in those among us who are spiritual how to walk, yield to and live in the Spirit of Christ (Galatians 5:16, 18, 25). One fulfills the Law of Christ by obeying the commandment to love his brethren (John 13:34-35; Galatians 5:6, 14). If one loves God, that one  will keep Christ’s commandment to love the brethren (Luke 10:27; cf. 1John 4:20-21).

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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Galatians

 

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