GRACE: NOT BY MAN
Legalism, Love and Liberty – Galations 6:1-5
Verse 1 – In the Bible Exposition Commentary Warren Wiersbe has written, “The legalist is not interested in bearing burdens. Instead, he adds to the burdens of others (Acts 15:10)” See also Matthew 23:4.
Note that Paul is speaking to “brethren”, and to those who are led of the Spirit, are walking in the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit is seen. Note, too, that there is no judgmentalism involved – “Judgmentalism” meaning condemnation, but rather a heart to “restore”.
“Overtaken in a fault” The word “overtaken” implies a surprise; without deliberation. It could also, very well be speaking of a brother or sister caught up in the legalism of the Judaizers. It would also include any other “fault” we might experience.
The arrogant legalists would most likely have the attitude, “I am better than that; that could never happen to me.” His heart toward a sinner would be, “He/She could not possibly be saved.”
“Spirit of meekness” in the spirit of gentleness and humility; rather than an abusive, arrogant, holy joe attitude.
Verse 2 – “Bear” is to ‘lift’ or ‘carry’ even the ‘removal’ of anothers burdens. “Burdens” being weights, abundance; downward.
“Fulfill” to complete, occupy, accomplish; to fill up. The “law of Christ” is the law of love in Him. There is no greater evidence of a believer than when we can bear the burdens of others, in love, without calling attention to our “love”. See John 13:34; 1 John 2:9-10.
Verse 3 – “If a man think of himself” or if anyone thinks themself to be of great reputation; when they are not, they are arrogant and self deceived.
Think of one who thinks that by their own good labors, works, apart from the blood of Christ can attain the favor of God. When one is not loving, fulfilling the law of Christ, they are higher in their own eyes than they are in the eyes of Jesus; thus nothing, but worthy of the same judgment with which they are judging.
Verses 4 – 5 – “But let every man [everyone] prove his own work…” Paul says in another place, “But let a man examine himself…” (1 Corinthians 11:28). The word in both verses are “dokimazō dok-im-ad’-zo” and means “to test, prove, examine”. It is best that we be sure of our own hearts, consider ourselves (v. 1), and examine ourselves before we begin judging another.
Jesus’s words “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37; John 7:24) should have a big part with our thinking.
Let us carry our own burden in this way; and be willing to help the brethren with theirs too; without condemnation.
-Tim A. Blankenship