Galatian ~ Chapter 6
The closing verses of chapter 5 contrasted the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit, concluding that Christians are to live Spirit-led lives. Now in the concluding chapter of Galatians, chapter 6, it provides two object lessons for the application of the Spirit-led life having AGAPE Love when “Christ is formed in you.”
- Personal Relationships, in 1-5, the object lesson is forgiveness of other’s sins, whether you were effected by them or not.
- The Use of Money, in 6-10, the object lesson is in regard to giving, especially for the support of your Pastor-Teacher.
It may shock you to understand that “spirituality” is not some fanciful and mystical experience but practical application in personal relationships and the use of money. Paul, as does God, measures spirituality by action in these areas.
- Then in 11-18, Paul concludes with remarks regarding the hypocrisy of the Judaizers.
Personal Relationships, in vs. 1-5, the object lesson is forgiveness of other’s sins, whether you were effected by them or not.
Gal 6:1, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
Vs. 1, the first object lesson of the application of AGAPE Love is noted as a person who is “caught in any trespass.”
“Caught” is the Greek verb PROLAMBANO, προλαμβανω that means, “Take before, overtake, anticipate, forecast, or surprise.” It is a compound verb from PRO that means, “before,” and LAMBANO that means “to take.” Thus, it is translated “to take before, to anticipate, to forestall, to surprise, to overtake, to come upon.” It is in the Aorist, Passive, and Subjunctive here.
In the Passive voice it means to receive the action being “before taken” and thus means “caught” in this passage.
The Subjunctive mood is for third class “if” statement, the potential of being caught.
The thing this person is potentially being caught doing is “trespasses,” the Dative Singular noun PARAPTOMA, παραπτωμα. PARAPTOMA means, “a false step, trespass or transgression.” It is synonymous with HARMATIA meaning sin and is in contrast to PERIPATEO of Gal 5:16 and STOICHEO of Gal 5:25.
The emphasis of this word is an erroneous step, or a fall or deviation from the truth or that which is correct. Trench, in “Synonyms of the New Testament,” says that PARAPTOMA is “falling where one should have stood upright.” In classical Greek it was used in regard to deliberately falling or hurling oneself toward an enemy. The Liddell-Scott lexicon also notes its use this way. In the Bible, the same meaning can be found in reference to obstinate and intentional sin that has no excuse.
Therefore, it is 1) an intended violation of what the Word of God says not to do, or 2) the willful act of not doing what the Bible says to do.
In Scripture, because of the guilt it produces, it is often used in connection with forgiveness; cf. Mat 6:14-15; Eph 1:7; Col 2:13.
Now that the issue is established, “a brother who has been caught in a sin,” the mandate for our treatment of that individual is given, “you who are spiritual restore such a one.”
“Spiritual” is PNEUMATIKOS, πνευματικος. It is used to indicate the believer who is operating by means of the filling of God the Holy Spirit. It is used many times in contrast to PSUCHIKOS, “the soulish man” that is used for the person who is unregenerated; an unbeliever, and the SARKIKOS, “fleshly man” who operates by his sin nature, who can be either an unbeliever or a believer.
Paul’s opponents believed that spirituality evidenced itself in the speech or knowledge of a person, but Paul shows that true spirituality first and foremost is demonstrated in AGAPE love and caring for one’s fellow human being.
Therefore, the man who is truly “spiritual” is not only born of the Spirit, his life is also under the control of the Spirit, Gal 5:25. He is filled and guided by the Spirit; therefore, he is able to “judge spiritual matters,” i.e., those things pertaining to the Spirit of God, 1 Cor 2:14-15. And in this case, he has the Fruit of the Spirit because of AGAPE Love in his soul.
With AGAPE Love the “spiritual man” is to “restore such a one.” “Restore” is the Present, Active, Imperative of KATARTIZO, καταρτιζω. It means, “make complete, restore, repair, (fix or mend), complete, perfect, or to put into proper condition.” It is used to mend a net and as a medical term in secular Greek for setting a fractured bone. In the Imperative mood it is a command. Therefore, what is wrong in the life of the carnal believer, is to be set straight. It is not to be neglected or exposed openly. Rather than tearing someone down for the sins they have been caught in, or “airing their dirty laundry,” we are to bring healing and restoration to the situation.
How do we do that? By first leading them to Rebound, the application of 1 John 1:9, then by helping them to overcome that particular sin(s), and finally to help them recover from any consequences that might have occurred due to their sin, which is the context of vs. 2.
Seven principles whereby a believer can help another believer to Rebound.
The fact that believers must be involved in the rebound of other believers is taught in 2 Cor 2:5-11.
- Teach and encourage the use of 1 John 1:9.
- Do not hold the believer’s sins against him or gossip about them, Col 3:13.
- Treat other believers in grace, Mat 18:23ff.
- Be filled with the Spirit so that you can have the mental attitude of grace when you deal with other believers out of fellowship, Gal 6:1.
- Remember that God rewards the believer who enters into the ministry of restoring other believers, James 5:19-20.
- Never get out of fellowship because some other believer rebounds, e.g. the elder brother in the prodigal son, Luke 15.
- Never be bitter or upset because some other believer does not appear to receive the discipline you think he should receive. Remember that discipline is in the hands of the Lord, Heb 12:5-11; Rev 3:19.
We are to do this in a “spirit of gentleness,” PNEUMA PRAUTES or a spirit of humility, as we noted PRAUTES in the list of nine fruits of the Spirit, as being the humble heart. So, in order to forgive others, you must first have a humble heart, recognizing that you too are a sinner, as we are to “look to ourselves,” in recognition that we have been forgiven much in our lives by God. Therefore, we are to forgive others of the sins they commit and help to bring them back into fellowship with God and others. We can only do this when we are led by God the Holy Spirit.
“Lest you be tempted too” also reminds us of 1 Cor 10:12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
It reminds us of the grace we have been given and exhorts that if we do not forgive others of their sins, then we will have sin in our own lives, (the sin of unforgiveness), Mat 6:14-15; 18:35; Mark 11:25-26.
So, Paul reminded the Galatians, as do other passages in Scripture, that the evil one (Satan) keeps on tempting those who are in Christ, seeking to lead them to destruction. In 1 Peter 5:8-9 Peter graphically describes him roaming about as a roaring lion, “seeking someone to devour.” Therefore, as a brother in Christ we need to help them when they have fallen astray due to sin, and to overcome the temptations of the Old Sin Nature, Satan’s cosmic system, and Satan himself; help them to “rebound and recover,” rather than pushing them over the cliff.
Gal 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”
In vs. 2, by “bearing one another’s burdens” we not only forgive them of the sins they have done, which means we do not hold their sins against them in a negative way, but we also help them to rebound and recover and repay any damages they might have caused due to their sinful actions.
When we do, we fulfill the “law of Christ” which is to “love your neighbor as you love yourself” by “laying down your life for your friends,” which speaks to your fellow believers. At the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
The Greek word for “bear” is the Present, Active, Imperative of BASTAZO, βασταζω that is a term which is often used for carrying a heavy burden, (BAROS, βαρος). BAROS is used most often for the “burden or weight” of an emotional, spiritual, or even physical nature. This “bearing” also used in vs. 5, “bear his own load,” but has a different object in that verse, which we will note below.
When thinking about bearing one another’s burdens, we have to remember the three laws of burdens. Just as the nine manifestations of the Fruit of the Spirit had three directions, so do the laws of burdens.
The first law is a self-ward law, the second is a man-ward law, and the third is a God-ward law. The self-ward law is found in vs. 5. The man-ward law is found in vs. 2. The God-ward law is the principle that God carries our burdens in Psa 55:22; 37:4-5; 1 Peter 5:7.
BASTAZO was also used in Gal 5:10, for the Judaizer who will bear his own judgment. In Gal 6:5 each Christian is to bear his own load, and in 6:17, Paul speaks of bearing the marks of Jesus Christ on his body. In this verse the reference is to helping another Christian, sharing his load, whenever temptations oppress him or life depresses him.
So, Paul used it to emphasize the responsibility of those who seek to walk in the Spirit to bear the burden of those who appear to be weak in the faith, cf. Rom 15:1, “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.” His words recall Jesus’ loving invitation in Mat 11:28-30, “Come to Me all who ….” It applies to troubles, afflictions, adversities, frustrations, and testing.
The Pharisees, like the Judaizers, loved to place heavy burdens on their followers, Mat 23:4, but the Spirit-led believer is to help carry other’s burdens. In this you must not condemn them. You must not be critical. You can point out things which may be necessary, but your objective is to help them to see their burdens and their problems from the Divine viewpoint, and not run them down.
Vs. 3 & 4
Gal 6:3-4, “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.”
Then in vs. 3 & 4 we have two reasons why believers do not apply this doctrine. The first reason in vs. 3 is arrogance; the second reason in vs. 4 is inordinate competition.
Vs. 3 gives us the “gentleness / humility” factor of vs. 1, as also noted in Rom 12:3, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
Here we are exhorted to not be arrogant and self-righteous, as the Judaizers were. The arrogant self-righteous person looks down with shame upon others who sin. As the saying goes, “they look down their noses at them.” As vs. 3 tells us, the believer who treats others with self-righteous arrogance, making an issue out of other people’s sins, rather than forgiving them of their sins, is a fool and “deceives himself.”
“Deceives” is PHRENAPATAO, φρεναπαταω, which is a compound verb from PHREN that means, “mind or thought,” and APATAO that means, “to deceive.” It essentially means, “to deceive in the mind or to delude oneself,” or simply “to deceive.” It is used only here in the New Testament, (hapaxlegomena). It speaks of the false estimation which easily results in having no positive understanding and empathy for others in their shortcomings and, as a result, having no humility of mind in order to apply AGAPE love towards them with forgiveness and restoration.
You see, the believer who does not forgive others has a mental issue called ARROGANCE, in the form of self-deception. In other words, they think their sins don’t stink, but everyone else’s sins do. And the fact is; all sins stink to high heaven! And we all have sins in our lives. Remember the verse, Rom 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
There are five ways in which the believer can deceive himself:
- To ignore the existence of carnality in the Christian life, 1 John 1:8, 10.
- To reject the principle of grace while helping others, being proud, Gal 6:1-5.
- To depend on the energy of the flesh, 1 Cor 3:18.
- To hear and not apply the Word of God, James 1:22.
- To be religious and legalistic and guilty of sins of the tongue, James 1:26.
So, we see that arrogance is out, and humility is in.
Vs. 4 tells us the second reason we do not apply AGAPE Love is when we compare ourselves to others, playing spiritual “king of the hill.”
Paul uses the Greek verb DOKIMAZO, δοκιμαζω in the Present, Active, Imperative, which too is a command to “test or examine” ourselves. This involves careful, discerning self-examination in the light of how God views the believer. Doing this will keep you from assuming things or even boasting about yourself without honestly recognizing the true condition of your own spiritual state.
When you “examine your own work (ERGON),” you will recognize that all you have done is in reality God’s own work, not yours. As a result, you will have nothing to boast about.
This verse also tells us to never start making lists of the sins of others, which might be numerous, and then compare that list to the sins we have in our own life, which might be few, and as a result determine that we are a better person than they are. That is the slippery slope of arrogance and thinking you are better than someone else, because you have less sins than they do. This is the concept of inordinate ambition and inordinate competition, which the Judaizers where engaged in regarding Paul, as were the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, Luke 18:9-14.
Keep in mind the principle in Rom 5:25 that tell us “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” So, if you are comparing yourself to others who have more sins than you, you also have to tell yourself that they are receiving more grace than you are; which puts you in a lower position than them.
Therefore, the humble spiritually minded believer does not compare himself to others. It is not an issue to him. He is only concerned about his relationship with God, which demands forgiveness and service of others in AGAPE Love.
This verse also tells us that it is ok to take an account of your personal relationship with God and feel good about your Divine Good Production, when you are walking in righteous AGAPE Love consistently, cf. Rom 15:17-19; 2 Cor 10:13-18. The true comparison of our Divine Good Production is against the Word of God. But we should never start to compare ourselves with others and then brag and boast to others about how good we are, especially in comparison to others, because we all have stench in our lives.
Gal 6:5, “For each one will bear his own load.”
Vs. 5, “bear his own load” is a strong Greek word for, “bear” PHORTION, which can mean the cargo of a ship, Acts 27:10.
It tells us two things:
- For the believing habitual sinner, the Lord will judge him in time, which can result in one or more of the three stages of Divine Discipline, unless he judges himself rightly, 1 Cor 4:4; 11:28-32.
1 Cor 4:4, “For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.”
- For all believers, it brings in to view the BEMA seat of Jesus Christ, as we will stand, (and receive rewards for the eternal state), or fall back in shame before our Lord, (and lose out on eternal rewards), when our works are judged by Him, cf. 1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Cor 5:10; 1 John 2:10.
2 Cor 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
1 John 2:28, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
So, Paul stressed that everyone is accountable to God for himself, 1 Cor 4:4. Everyone is responsible to God for what he is and does: that is our burden. The seriousness of this is emphasized in Phil 2:12-13.
Phil 2:12-13, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
“It is easy to talk about the fruit of the Spirit while doing very little about it. Therefore, Christians need to learn that it is in the concrete situations, rather than in emotional highs, that the reality of the Holy Spirit in their lives is demonstrated.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Galatians.)
The Spirit-led believer thinks of others and how he can minister to them in AGAPE Love!
We now turn to the second object lesson for the application of AGAPE Love found in vs. 6-10.
The Use of Money, the object lesson in regard to giving, especially for the support of your Pastor-Teacher.
In vs. 6 we have, “The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.”
In the Greek this verse begins with the verb “Share” in the Present, Active, Imperative of KOINONEO, κοινωνεω that means, “to share, partake in, participate, contribute, give a share, etc.” Classical Greek used it for, “to share in, participate in, or possess together.” It carries the basic idea of commonness, something held jointly by two or more parties, meaning a partnership. So, it means share in terms of “to be a partner in a thing with another person.” In the New Testament, it takes on added importance in the context of sharing within the Christian community, especially with those who are teaching God’s Word, Rom 15:27.
Rom 15:27, “Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.”
The KJV translates this word as “communicate” with the idea of the old English “to take part or participate,” where it means the connection between two people or groups. Because of the old English word, but used with its modern definition, some interpret this word here as “fellowship” with the meaning, “to receive the word that the Pastor is teaching.” But the Greek word KOINONIA is typically used in the N.T. for the word “fellowship,” Acts 2:42; Gal 2:9; Phil 2:1; 3:10; and especially in 1 John 1:2, 6-7. So, if the Holy Spirit meant fellowship here in terms of a relationship or the communication of God’s Word from the Pastor to the student, He would have used KOINONIA and not KOINONEO.
In this verse the context is sharing of material blessings, as we will see below. In fact, the first use of KOINONEO in Scripture is in regard to sharing of material blessings in Rom 12:13. See also Rom 15:27; Phil 4:15.
Rom 12:10-13, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”
So, who is supposed to share with who? The one who is to share is “the one being taught” which is from the verb KATECHEO, κατηχεω that means, “inform, teach, or instruct.” That is, “to teach by word of mouth.”
“Paul used KATECHEO to denote “instruction in the faith,” that is, “Christian beliefs and doctrine.” This newer, rarer term, seldom used in Judaism, is a special designation for Christian instruction in Galatians 6:6 and 1 Corinthians 14:19.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
Here, KATECHEO is in the continuous Present tense, Middle-(Passive) voice, Participle, in the Nominative (subject), Singular. It means, “the one who is continually being taught.” This verb acts as the subject of the sentence, “the student,” while describing the action they participate in, “being taught.”
What are these students being continually taught? HO LOGOS meaning, “The Word” in the Accusative (object) Singular.
Therefore, we are talking about the student of the Word of God, i.e., the ones being continually taught Bible Doctrine. These are the ones that should be sharing.
The next question is. who are the ones being continually taught God’s Word to share with?
The answer is, “the one who teaches,” which is KATECHEO once again, but this time in the Present, Active, Participle in the Dative, Singular for the one who “teaches by word of mouth.” The Present tense is for continuous or ongoing action, “instructing or teaching.” The Participle verb in the Dative case is a Predicate Dative, acting as both a verb, describing the action of teaching, and a noun as the object to which the head verb, KOINONEO, “sharing,” is directed toward.
Therefore, the Pastor-Teacher is the one who the student is mandated to share with. So, we translate this “with the one continually teaching.”
Finally, we have a Dative plural phrase of EN plus the Adjectives PAS and AGATHOS, meaning “in all good things.” In both the NASB and KJV, the English phrase “good things” has two primary meanings, 1) material things of this world, and 2) the gospel of Jesus Christ. In a sense, both are in view but the primary meaning is material blessings that the student possess that are shared with the Pastor-Teacher.
This is Paul’s mandate to the church to support their local Pastor-Teacher and evangelists. In other words, you are to share in common with your Pastor the material blessings that God has blessed you with.
Supporting the Pastor-Teacher is taught in, 1 Cor 9:3-12a, 14; 1 Tim 5:17-18; cf. Luke 10:7.
1 Cor 9:3, “My defense to those who examine me is this: 4Do we not have a right to eat and drink? 5Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? 7Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock? 8I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing (METECHO) the crops. 11If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12If others share the right over you, do we not more? … 14So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.”
1 Tim 5:17-18, “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages”.”
To support the Lord’s servants is not a grim duty, though some congregations seem to treat it as such. Instead, Paul speaks of it as sharing, as a partnership. The principle is, as the teacher shares the good things of the Word of God to the congregation, the congregation is to share material blessings with the Pastor-Teacher.
The aspect of “sharing” in our passage is defined as the presentation of money or other valuable commodities which may be used to sustain the ministry of communication in the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher or Evangelism. As an Imperative construction, it is a command to provide for your Pastor-Teacher under the Doctrine of Giving.
As our passage and many others note, it is important to give generously to the Pastor-Teacher in exchange for the abundant spiritual blessings he gives to the congregation by teaching them God’s Word, first the gospel for salvation, and secondly the mystery doctrines of the Church Age for living the Christian way of life after salvation. Both are considered “good things” in Gal 6:6. In turn, the congregation supports him by giving of their material blessings from God, thus fulfilling the principle of mutual blessing by association, Phil 1:3, 5; 1 Tim 5:17-18.
Phil 1:3, 5, “I am giving thanks to God for every memory of you, …because of your contribution from the first day until now for the purpose of spreading the gospel.”
1 Tim 5:17-18, “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages”.”
- Principles of Giving to the Pastor-Teacher, Phil 4:
In vs. 10, giving reflects the mental attitude of the congregation toward their Pastor-Teacher. Phil 4:10, “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.”
In vs. 14, “giving” establishes a partnership between the pastor and the congregation. The congregation provides the financial contribution as they are spiritually blessed by the Pastor’s teaching. Phil 4:14, “You have done well to share (SUGKONONEO) with me in my affliction.”
Paul, (as does the Pastor or Evangelist), had given up much in the material world to be an Apostle, Phil 3:5-8, and in regard to his physical freedom. By giving to Paul during his imprisonments, the Philippians shared in his suffering by giving up their material things for Paul’s benefit, (as do your offerings to the Pastor), as an appreciation for his ministering to them. Likewise, there is a partnership between the congregation and Pastor to support his needs so that all are blessed.
As is all aspects of the spiritual life, giving is the result of the application of Bible doctrine on the part of the congregation, which must be motivated and performed under the filling of God the Holy Spirit.
In vs. 15-16, giving is a grace production in Christian service. Phil 4:15-16, “You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.”
In vs. 17, The Pastor must never make an issue out of money. The Pastor must make an issue out of two things as a recipient of support from believers: 1) the gospel, and 2) what is the Christian way of life after salvation. Both are considered “good things.” If he is making an issue out of the gospel and Bible doctrine, he will not make an issue out of money. When the congregation does give graciously to the Pastor, they are storing up blessings for the eternal state for themselves. But that should not be your motivation. Love expressed through grace-oriented giving should be the motivation, if it is going to be Divine Good Production. Phil 4:17, “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit, (KARPOS – fruit, Divine good production). which increases to your account, (for reward at the BEMA seat).”
In vs. 18, giving to your right Pastor is maximum blessing to the Pastor and pleasing to God. Phil 4:18, “But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent (money), a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.”
The responsibility for support of the pastor is the responsibility of the local church. The number one priority is support of the Pastor, not the building or any other projects.
Remember what Prov 11:24 25 told us, “There is one who scatters (gives generously), and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due (stingy), and yet it results only in want (impoverishment). 25The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.”
This is the reap what you sow principle of Gal 6:7. Those who hang on to their money impoverish themselves. Yet giving never impoverishes. In the spiritual life, no matter what you give, you never lose.
- Giving is Part of the Faith-Rest Life, 1 Cor 16:2.
1 Cor 16:2 tell us, “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.”
“As he may prosper,” just as God provided for Israel in the year before the Sabbatical year so that they would have enough for the Sabbath year, Lev 25:1-7, so too will God provide for you what you need now, plus enough to support your Pastor-Teacher. This is also part of entering into God’s rest, which Israel did not do, in Heb 4:1-3.
Heb 4:1, “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3For we who have believed enter that rest.”
Therefore, in the faith-rest, we are to trust in the Lord to provide without fear and worry of what tomorrow will bring, or being selfishly stingy, and give with a free and loving heart to support the Lord’s messengers. But as Prov 11 tells us, if you are “stingy,” and withhold for yourself, then God will not provide for you.
Back in 1 Cor 16:2, “That no collections be made,” indicates that the Pastor should not have to continually tell the congregation what the needs are for the church, although many do this as a ploy to get greater offerings. There should be enough generous grace giving in faith that the needs are abundantly met without coercion. But if there is not generous grace giving in faith, there will always be needs in the church to that congregation’s shame.
- The Motivation in Giving, 2 Cor 9.
In vs. 6 we see once again the reap what you sow principle of Gal 6:7. 2 Cor 9:6, “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
In vs. 7 we see that motivation is the main issue in giving. The one motivated by the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine in their soul rejoices at the chance to express their AGAPE Love by freely giving generously to the Pastor-Teacher. This is why churches should never have a tithe or pledge program for their offerings. It should be motivated by grace orientation and done with free will in appreciation for the blessings they receive from the Pastor-Teacher. In addition, we understand that we never give based on our emotions or impulsively. We must determine for ourselves what we want to, and can, give, and then follow through with the leading of the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor 9:7, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
In vs. 8, we see that God graciously provides extra finances for grace givers to give. The only legitimate system of giving is a grace giver giving to a grace cause. Therefore, giving is a mental attitude based upon the Problem Solving Device called Grace-Orientation. Grace-Orientation is the basis for all grace giving. 2 Cor 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”
In vs. 9, we see that God gives money to certain people both rich and poor. His righteousness in grace provides for our giving, which meets us at the point of our grace giving to the Pastor-Teacher. Therefore, we are in fellowship with Him, i.e., in lock step (STOICHEO) with the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor 9:9, “As it is written, (Psa 112:9), “HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.”
In vs. 10, God supplies and gives the necessary extra money to grace givers, just as He did for the Israelites prior to the Sabbatical year. As a result, there is an increase in the harvest of your Christian service. 2 Cor 9:10, “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
In vs. 11-12, once again we see that God will graciously supply all of your needs with super abundance in order to give generously. As a result of your giving, those who are recipients, “Pastor-Teachers” will give thanks to God for the blessings He has poured on them through you! With the Pastor’s needs being abundantly supplied, he will be able to concentrate on studying and teaching God’s Word to the entire congregation, which in turn causes them to be blessed through his teaching, resulting in their thanksgiving to God. 2 Cor 9:11-12, “You will be enriched in everything for all liberality (so that you can be generous on every occasion), which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.”
Now turning to Gal 6:7-10, we have the famous “reap what you sow principle.” But before that comes, we have the subject of self-deception, as we also had in vs. 3.
In vs. 3, the Greek word was PHRENAPATAO that means “to deceive the mind”, or “to be self-deceived in the mentality of your soul.” That self-deception was in regard to the arrogance complex of sins within our soul, where our sin nature tells us we are better than everyone else. It tells us that we do not sin like everyone else does, and therefore we are better, more righteous than they are. We call that self-righteous arrogance, which we are to avoid like the plague.
Gal 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”
Here in vs. 7, the Greek word is the Present, Passive, Imperative of PLANAO, πλαναω that means, “led astray, misled, deceived, seduced; go astray, be deluded, err, deceive oneself, and sin.”
“In classical Greek PLANAO was first used in a simple geographical sense: to lead someone on a journey astray so he does not arrive at his goal. It also refers to a sheep that goes astray and is separated from its flock and shepherd. PLANAO later developed a figurative sense of being led astray in matters of truth or wandering off the path of correct moral conduct… It is used of Christians who are carelessly inattentive to sound doctrine and so let themselves be deceived, 1 Cor 6:9; 15:33; Gal 6:7. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary.)
So, it means to step outside of God’s will and plan for your life. It is similar to “trespass” PARAPATOMA of vs. 1 that spoke of a misstep in the spiritual life. One of the great dangers in the Christian life is that we often deceive ourselves. Self-deception is based upon ignorance of Bible doctrine. In the context of vs. 6, (the financial support for your Pastor-Teacher), the misstep here is to neglect the doctrinal mandate to graciously provide for your Pastor-Teacher financially.
This Verb is in the Customary Present tense for habitual ongoing action with the Passive voice for what you receive. Being linked with the Greek negative ME, and having the Imperative mood, it is a command to, “stop being deceived” or stop wandering astray from God’s Plan of supporting your Pastor-Teacher. The Galatians were already being deceived by the Judaizers in many ways; therefore, Paul tells them to stop being deceived and get back to the truth of God’s Word. In the Passive voice, you receive this deception and wandering astray when you enter into reversionism and self-indulgent arrogance by withholding material blessings from your Pastor-Teacher that is necessary for his financial support.
Then we have the phrase, “God is not mocked,” THEOS OUK MUKTERIZO. MUKTERIZO is only used here in the N.T., (hapaxlegomena), and literally means, “to turn up your nose, treat with contempt, or sneer at,” and comes to mean, “to mock, ridicule, or deride.” It means you are trying to make someone or something look stupid, in this case that would be God. How does a Christian turn up his nose at God? He does it by entering into legalism, operating in the energy of the flesh. This verb is in the Present, Passive, Indicative, stating that God does not receive mocking from others.
So far we have, “do not take a wrong step thinking you are doing something right, because you cannot make God look stupid.” The wrong step and making God look stupid is in regard to His Word and mandates, in this object lesson, to share your material blessings with your Pastor-Teacher to fully support him financially.
Then we have the “reap what you sow” principle in regard to self-deception and mocking God. It is actually a third class “if” statement; if and maybe you will, and maybe you will not. The “if” statement goes with the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive of SPEIRO, σπειρω that means to, “sow or scatter.” It speaks of Divine good production in the form of giving. The “if” says maybe you will, and maybe you will not produce Divine good.
Then we have “reap” is the Future, Active, Indicative of the verb THERIZO, θεριζω that means, “reap, harvest, or gather.” The context continues to be in giving, especially the support of you Pastor-Teacher financially. So, the sowing here is to share with him of the material blessings God has given to you. The “reaping” then is further spiritual blessing back to you. We have noted other passages that reflect this principle, including: John 4:36-38; 1 Cor 9:11; 2 Cor 9:6-7.
Gal 6:8, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
The lesson continues in vs. 8, stating that “the one who sows to his own flesh, we will reap corruption,” and “The one who sows to the Spirit we will reap eternal life.”
The “flesh,” SARX, has to do with the Old Sin Nature. To sow to the flesh means the believer is operating in the sphere of the Old Sin Nature by ignoring the mandates of God, and in this case not supporting your Pastor financially, and instead indulging yourself which leads to the sins listed in Gal 5:19-21. Sowing to the flesh is what you do when you are out of fellowship. Therefore, you can expect to reap or harvest corruption.
The word “corruption” PHTHORA, φθορα means, “destruction, ruin, deterioration, corruption, or loss.” It is a destruction or corruption that reduces something to an inferior condition. It simply means that which rots away, that which is not permanent, and there is no reward from your production when you are out of fellowship. It is the “wood, hay and straw” of 1 Cor 3:10-15.
Then we have “sow to the Spirit” which refers back to Gal 5:16 and its expression of walking in the Spirit by obeying the mandates of God to give graciously, with the result of producing the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Gal 5:22-25. It means to be filled with the Spirit so that you can produce Divine good.
Then it says, “will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” It means that what you sow in this life when you are filled with the Spirit will last forever, i.e., reap eternal life. It is the “gold, silver and precious gems” of 1 Cor 3:10-15.
The Principle is: each “sower” decides what his harvest will be. If you sow to please your sinful nature, that is, if you spend your money to indulge the flesh, (i.e., yourself), then you will reap a harvest that will fade into oblivion. On the other hand, if you use your funds to support the Lord’s work, or sow being led by the Filling of the Holy Spirit that promotes your own spiritual growth, you will reap a harvest that will last forever. That is reaping eternal life, AIONIOS ZOE. This does not mean that if you give, you will be saved. It is speaking about the greater experience you can have in the eternal life because of the blessing you receive at the BEMA seat of Jesus Christ for producing Divine good in time.
Gal 6:9, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
Vs. 9, is an exhortation to walk in the righteousness of God by being filled with the Holy Spirit to produce Divine good. The Greek reads, “But those doing well should not lose heart; for in time we ourselves shall reap if we do not faint.”
“Doing good,” POIEO KALOS means Divine good production, because you are walking filled with the Holy Spirit and applying God’s mandates, Bible Doctrine, to your life. “Well or good” here is KALOS, καλος that means, “noble or beautiful,” and always emphasizes the outer being, whereas AGATHOS always emphasizes the inner. So, when the Greeks said someone was KALOS, they meant that they had beautiful features or a beautiful body, or they were graceful. But when they used the word AGATHOS, they were referring to the inner characteristics: stability, inner peace, etc. So here the “good” is the outward expression of your inner beauty as you produce Divine good by your words and deeds.
“Not lose heart” is ME EGKAKEO in the Present, Active, and Subjunctive. The Textus Receptus uses a variant EKKAKEO. The root word is KAKOS that means, “bad or evil,” and the prefix EN which means, “in or by” and sometimes “after.” EK means “out from.” This word has come to mean “to faint, become tired, to lose heart, or to despair.” It means to become mentally discouraged or to faint in the mind.
Preceded by the Greek negative ME it means, “DO NOT become mentally discouraged, faint, tired, lose heart, or despair.” With the root word being KAKOS, “bad or evil”, it means to not enter into evil, (i.e., sin and human good). Instead we are to walk in righteousness, performing Divine good filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Subjunctive Mood is a “hortatory or volitive” subjunctive that is used to exhort or command this action. Dan Wallace in, “Greek Grammar, Beyond the Basics,” notes “it is used to urge someone to unite with the speaker in a course of action upon which he has already decided.”
So we say, “let us not become mentally discouraged in performing Divine good.” Therefore, Paul is urging the Galatians to continue to fight the good fight of faith with him, 1 Tim 6:12. The Subjunctive mood is also used for the potential of taking a misstep and walking in evil by not graciously supporting your Pastor financially.
Then in the second half of this verse we have, “for in time we ourselves shall reap” where “reap” is the Future, Active, Indicative of THERIZO, which speaks to the future blessings in time and eternity that God will give to us for glorifying Him in the present by abiding in His mandates; in this case, supporting your Pastor financially.
It ends with a conditional clause that goes with the previous Subjunctive mood of EGKAKOS, that reads, “if we do not faint,” which is the Greek negative ME with the Present, Passive, Participle of EKLUO, εκλυω that means, “faint, weaken, or become despondent.” The root for EKLUO is LUO that means, “to loose, to release, or to dissolve.” EK meaning, “from or out from” says, from losing, releasing, or dissolving. It means to NOT have your spiritual strength drained from you, be enfeebled through exhaustion, grow weak or weary, or tired out. Emphasizing the root of LUO, it means to not be loosed or released from your walk in the Holy Spirit, not making a misstep in the spiritual life, that is, “to not be weary in doing “good” and producing the fruit of the Spirit.”
This is one of the great lessons of the Christian life: Avoid becoming weary; avoid becoming mentally despondent or mentally discouraged, or even mental apathy toward the Christian life.
We avoid becoming weary by NOT letting go of the filling of the Holy Spirit by saying no to sin temptations. Therefore, we do not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit, Eph 4:30; 1 Thes 5:19, and we continually abide in God’s Word. When we do, we will reap blessings in time and eternity. Paul reminds us that to keep on walking in the Spirit is an ongoing process. To slow down, or even to stop, is never in order for a Christian. This temptation was and is a common one. That is why Paul stressed in his other letters this ongoing need, 1 Cor 15:58; 16:13; Phil 1:27-30; 2:14-15; 4:1, 4-9; 1 Thes 3:12-13; 2 Thes 3:13.
1 Cor 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
Paul’s recipe for success in the spiritual life is to persevere in hardship and have endurance in performing Divine good works, 2 Tim 2:12; cf. James 1:12; Mat 10:22; 24:13.
Gal 6:10, “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
In vs. 10, “while we have opportunity,” in the Greek is, “while we have time.” “Time” is the Greek Noun KAIROS, καιρος meaning, “time, a fixed time, season, or opportunity.” It has the connotation of a time that occurs only once, before it is lost forever. It has the meaning of the time to sow seed that has its appointed season. If not done in the appointed season, you will not reap a harvest. Therefore, it is speaking of our time here on planet earth. This is the unique time we have been allotted to glorify God by producing Divine Good, (i.e., in this unique nature of sin we live in, and the unique environment of Satan’s Cosmic system). In the eternal state, in heaven, all will be good all the time. So now is our time to produce Divine Good!
That is noted in the phrase, “let us do good” where “good” is AGATHOS, which means, Divine Good Production stemming from the mentality of your soul, and “do” is not POIEO but ERGAZOMAI, εργαζομαι from ERGON, “work,” that also means to, “work, be active, do accomplish, carry out, or perform.” It means to exert one’s power and ability in an operation. It is in the Present, Middle/Passive Deponent, and Subjunctive Mood. The Deponent acts like an Active voice, in that we are the ones to perform the action, but the Middle/Passive says that we receive the action. Combined this phrase means; “to produce outward Divine good works from the inner mentality of your soul.” In other words, by means of the power of the filling of God the Holy Spirit, we produce Divine good works.
The Subjunctive Mood is once again a “hortatory or volitive” subjunctive to exhort or command this action. Therefore, Paul is asking the Galatians to join him in Divine Good production, i.e., “let us perform Divine good together.” The Subjunctive is also used here for the potential of producing Divine Good, noting our volitional responsibility to heed the command.
“To all men,” is simply PROS PAS, “toward all,” that indicates the recipients of our Divine Good Production, both believers and unbelievers.
And finally, we have, “and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
“Household” is the Adjective OIKEIOS οικειος from OIKOS that means, “house.” So, it means, “of the house or family.” It was an important legal and social term at that time, meaning all who were part of a given household, (family, servants, and slaves), were part of this inclusive unit. In the New Testament, it indicates the Royal Family of God as noted in Eph 2:19 and Heb 3:1-6.
This household is one “of the faith,” which is the Possessive Genitive of Relationship of the Noun PISTIS, πιστις meaning, all who believe in Jesus Christ, all born again believers. The “household of the faith” is the company of those reconciled to God through faith in Christ. We call this the Royal Family of God.
These are the ones we are “especially or most of all,” MALISTA, to perform Divine good towards. This was an emphasis to the Galatians to help support the poor group of believers in Jerusalem, as we noted in Gal 2:10 and 1 Cor 16:1-2, as well as a general maxim to direct your Divine good production towards your fellow believers first, especially in the form of giving financial support, and then to other unbelievers as you may have opportunity.
“Christianity is not just a religion of creeds and ideas; it also involves genuine concern for people. Accordingly, Paul linked a number of statements that called the Galatians to rescue those that had fallen victim to sin and to assist those who were burdened by the concerns of their lives. In exhorting them to do good, he repeatedly warned them about their own weaknesses, temptations, and inability to evaluate themselves adequately. He charged them to remember God’s continual watchfulness—they would reap according to the way that they had sown. He challenged them to live in the Spirit rather than pursue a fruitless, sinful life. He encouraged them not to give up when doing good and helping others, especially members of the community of faith. As a matter of community integrity, he added that they should not forget to support authentic teachers of the word…. Words without life are hollow. Christian witness without Christian concern is a pseudo-gospel. We see here that Paul was not only concerned about the initial faith of Christians but about their entire way of life.” (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary.)
Avoid Hypocrisy: vs. 11-18.
In the third and final section of Galatians chapter 6, Paul concludes with remarks regarding the hypocrisy of the Judaizers that must be avoided by the Christian.
Gal 6:11, “See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.”
This section begins in vs. 11, where Paul emphasizes that he was writing in “large letters,” PELIKO GRAMMA. This goes along with all the imperative and hortatory subjunctive moods he used in the preceding section to indicate the intensity of his desire to convey these doctrines and for the Galatians to receive them by applying them. Here he is emphasizing the hypocrisy of the Judaizers that must be avoided by the Galatians.
Gal 6:12, “Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.”
In vs. 12, Paul identifies the hypocrisy of the religious crowd and their motivation.
“To make a good showing” is EUPROSOPEO, ευπροσωπεω that means, “make a good showing, or make a fair appearance.” In other words, they wanted and desired to look good in front of other people. They are not doing it to please God, or to fulfill His will, but because of their lust of approbation.
This good showing is “in the flesh,” SARX, which means, it is motivated by their Old Sin Natures.
Then we see what the Judaizers wanted to show off in front of others. It begins with “they compel you,” which is ANAGKAZO, αναγκαζω that means, “to necessitate, compel, drive to, or constrain by force or threats.” Its root word AGKALE means, “a bent arm.” From that we get the idiom we use today for compelling someone to do something by force or threat which is, “to strong arm them.” It means to bully them into doing something they otherwise would not do. And that is what the legalistic Judaizers were doing to the Galatians; they were bullying them to change from the Doctrines of Grace.
This compelling was manifested in the Judaizers trying to get the Galatians to be “circumcised,” PERITEMNO, περιτεμνω.
Interestingly, in one of Joseph Thayer’s definitions of the use of PERITEMNO in the N.T. he says, “Since, (under the law) by the rite of circumcision a man was separated from the unclean world and dedicated to God, the word is transferred to denote the extinguishing of lusts and the removal of sins.” (Italic mine)
Therefore, we understand the human works in view here. The Judaizers, as do all legalistic religious types, believe that by performing some kind of ritualistic act, they are purified and made clean before God. But God’s Word tells us that the only way to be made clean in God’s eyes is to receive His grace. For the unbeliever, it is to believe on Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, resulting in salvation and Positional Sanctification. For the believer, it is to utilize the grace of God in 1 John 1:9, the confession of your known sins to God the Father, for Experiential Sanctification, as you are “forgiven of your sins and cleansed of all unrighteousness.”
But the legalist never relies on the Grace of God, and instead relies on their own human good works and efforts, which God says in 1 Cor 3:10-15 are “wood, hay and straw,” burnt up, with no lasting reward.
The Complete Biblical Library notes, “They (the Judaizers) differed from their fellow Jews only in that they had accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah, but failed to understand His true mission and its saving significance.” Therefore, they continued to trust in their own works and deeds rather than in the saving and sanctifying work of Jesus Christ.
Then we have, “simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.” This phrase indicates that the Judaizers were afraid of being persecuted by the Pharisees and Sadducees for abandoning the Law. They desired to keep in good standing with them. It was bad enough that they believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and to also abandon the Law would cause them even further problems with the “main-line” Jewish community.
In addition, as the Complete Biblical Library notes, “For them to be able to boast that they had persuaded Jewish and Gentile Christians to return to the way of the Law would give them a favorable reputation in Jerusalem. Then they would not face the disfavor and wrath of the Jewish opposition.”
Therefore, they were trying to appease their countrymen by compromising with the Law and leading other non-Jews to do the same.
So, by persuading the Galatians to keep the Law and be circumcised, they would hopefully remain in good standing with their countrymen and not be harassed, ostracized, or persecuted by them. Unfortunately, that is the motivation for most people. Because they are more concerned with their earthly relationships, rather than with their heavenly one, they compromise the truth of God’s Word and go along with the crowd, being motivation by the approbation lust to be accepted. But to their detriment, they are missing out on God’s grace and blessings for their lives and eternity.
Therefore, we need to stand firm through Spiritual Self-Esteem and God’s Word, and take comfort in our relationship with Him regardless of our relationship with others here on earth. We should never place ourselves in a compromising position that affects our daily walk in the Holy Spirit and our Occupation with the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gal 6:13, “For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.”
In vs. 13, we have the principle of hypocrisy, saying one thing and doing another. As Paul notes, “For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves.”
This goes back to the principle of Doctrine in Gal 5:3, “And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.”
Therefore, if you are going to keep one aspect of the Law for your salvation or spirituality, you must keep the entire Law. We cannot “cherry pick” what we will and will not keep from the Law. It is all or nothing. And the “nothing” is the command for the Church Age believer.
It is not by means of the Law that we are saved or gain spirituality, but the Cross of Jesus Christ which gives us both Positional and Experiential Sanctification, via John 3:16 and 1 John 1:9, as well as Ultimate Sanctification in our resurrection bodies.
Therefore, to believe in Christ and to also believe you must keep the Law for salvation or spirituality is hypocritical. The former is based on grace, the latter on human good works, which are incompatible.
The second half of this verse reveals their true motivation, “but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.”
They desire to “boast,” KAUCHAOMAI, καυχαομαι, “in your flesh,” SARX. In other words, they desire to brag about your human good works that are motivated by the sin nature. They desire, THELO, or lust for approbation.
“In your flesh” is an interesting play on words, as circumcision removes the outer flesh of the penis, which under the Law represented the Old Sin Nature. Therefore, by removing that flesh, it represented the separation of the OSN from man and thus his salvation. But the Judaizers thought that the literal act of circumcision would give them salvation and make them spiritual. It was not enough to just believe in Jesus Christ. But in reality, the flesh representing the OSN is only removed by the Cross of Jesus Christ and your non-meritorious faith in Him. So, they missed the whole message.
The “boasting” here represents the Judaizers true heart. They were not really concerned about the salvation of the Galatians. Instead, they desired to persuade the Galatian Christians to be circumcised so they could boast to Jerusalem about their zeal for the Law. In other words, the Judaizers were not concerned about the spiritual welfare of the Galatians, but rather about their own standing in the Jewish community.
The value of a believer’s actions are not measured by how much he does or does not do, as much as by his reason for doing it. What is his motivation? Why does he do what he does, and how does he do it, is what matters with God. That is what counts in God’s eyes.
As you know, God looks at the heart of a man, Psa 44:21; Acts 15:8; which means what motivates him. Is he motivated by God and His Word, or by his arrogance and what others may or may not think of him?
Therefore, it is a heart thing, not an action thing, which God looks for and cares about.
That leads us to the:
Doctrine of Hypocrites:
The Greek words for hypocrite and hypocrisy, HUPOKRITES, ‘υποκριτης, and HUPOKRISIS, ‘υποκρισις, respectfully, come from the same root word HUPOKRINOMAI, ‘υποκρινομαι, that means, “to answer, reply, to answer on a stage, to pretend.” None of them are used in this passage, but the principles apply.
The Word HUPOKRITES means, “one who answers, an actor, one who plays a part, one who pretends to be other than what he is, a hypocrite.”
The word HUPOKRISIS primarily means, “an answer, or response, playacting, or hypocrisy.” Generally, in classical Greek, it means stage playing, acting, the histrionic art; hence, it came to mean acting a part in life, etc. So, the meaning is acting a part. Later it was used for that which is “false, deceptive, and deceived”, and then it was used for “formally and outwardly religious and good, but inwardly insincere and unrighteous.”
This definition seems to imply that hypocrites are people who deliberately pretend to be virtuous or good, whereas in fact they are something else, and that the pretense is carried out in the interests of some evil plan. It follows then, that for the hypocrite, the means to the end is itself evil. As such, the hypocrite may come to deceive himself, as well as others.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines hypocrisy as, “simulation of virtue or goodness; dissimulation (i.e., hide your real thoughts, feelings, or intentions); pretense; and hypocrite, (a person guilty of hypocrisy; dissembler, (the one who hides his real thoughts, feelings or intentions); or pretender.)”
The Louw and Nida Greek-English Lexicon, says, “The key words “hypocrisy and pretense” convey the meaning to give an impression of having certain purposes or motivations, while in reality having quite different ones, i.e., “to pretend, to act hypocritically, pretense, or hypocrisy.” Thus, the sense is to pretend to be one thing while actually being (or doing) another. In a number of languages ‘υποκρινομαι and ‘υποκρισις, are expressed in idiomatic ways, for example, “to have two faces, to have two tongues, to be two people, have a double standard, or to have two hearts.” Psa 12:2 says, they have a “double heart.” And Psa 119:113; James 1:8; 48 says, they are “double-minded.” That is the hypocrite.
In regard to the actor playing a role, R.B. Thieme Jr. notes, “In the fifth century BC they had large audiences for their dramas. They usually had three, sometimes four, actors. They had very powerful voices and strong bodies. They put on a very large wax masks designed for the particular drama. Each actor had maybe half a dozen wax masks — for when he was supposed to be happy, to be sad, etc. So, an actor was someone who spoke from behind a mask, and that is the Greek word here. It means to speak from behind a false face or to speak from behind a false front or to be a hypocrite. In other words, a hypocrite is someone who has two faces, his own and the one he puts on.”
Using the term in this way thus came to express the idea of a person acting in a role that was not his or her own. Later the term was used more generally to refer to a person who pretended to be what he or she was not and to convey the idea of hypocrisy or dissimulation, (i.e., to hide your real thoughts, feelings, or intentions). Thus, hypocrisy is a lie that gives a false impression regarding oneself. This usage involves a pretense that is evil because it serves an evil purpose.
Therefore, the contrast between the true self and the role of the actor led to the idea of HUPOKRISIS as pretense and deception. But it also seems to have led to the simple contrast between what a person really is, and their behavior that is inconsistent with that, or between behaviors that seem to represent one motive, but in reality, represents another.
Psa 12:2, “They speak falsehood to one another; with flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.”
Prov 7:21, “With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him.”
Rom 16:18, “For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”
I. Howard Marshall notes, “HUPOKRISIS is usually concerned with inconsistency between actions, or between (hidden or partially hidden) motives and (overt) actions. Generally speaking, the inconsistency is between something that can be regarded as good and something else that can be regarded as evil. Several times the aim of the outward actions seems to be simply to gain applause, but in a significant number of cases it is fair to conclude that there is an element of deceit, in that a person pretends to be doing something when he is really doing something else, or is doing something that is apparently good but that springs from false motives, such as the desire to gain human applause rather than Divine approval, or to take advantage of other people by acquiring a false reputation for trustworthiness.” (I. Howard Marshall, Honorary Research Professor of New Testament, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, “Who is a Hypocrite”)
Therefore, HUPOKRISIS generally characterizes a form of behavior that shows a clash either:
- Between a person’s professed desire to please God and behavior that is inconsistent with it, or
- Between a person’s hidden evil intentions and his or her appearance of holiness or virtue,
Both may in fact intend to secure a wrong or evil end, which may include gaining human approbation rather than giving glory to God. And in some but not all cases, the wrong end may be achieved by a pretense or deception.
Hypocrisy then can be inconsistency that is deliberate, or it may be a matter of blindness and self-deception, or even a willful refusal to obey God in specific ways while professing to obey Him. The Pharisees were criticized because they did virtuous acts but with the motive of gaining human approval. They were people who sought to please God, and their desire for human approbation was inconsistent with this.
In addition, hypocrisy can be due to deception which occurs when believers are deceived by plausible, false teachers, or more seriously, live inconsistent Christian lives. And finally, hypocrisy occurs when believers act for the sake of gaining human approval for their apparent godliness.
1 Thes 2:3, “For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.”
Old Testament usage:
There is no distinct Hebrew word for hypocrite or hypocrisy in the Old Testament, the concept does appear though, primarily in terms of insincere worship.
- We see its appearance when the Lord rejects sacrificial offerings and temple attendance, Jer 7:4-11, when worshipers have no intimate knowledge of Him or genuine love, Hosea 6:4-6; Amos 4:4-5; 5:21-24.
- Hypocrisy manifests itself in an inconsistency between external religious activity and religious profession, Isa 1:10-17.
- The root idea in the Old Testament is that the hypocrite has a godless heart, Job 36:13, (where the LXX translation uses hypocrites for the Hebrew CHANEP – “godless or profane”), that rebels against God’s laws, Jer 7:21-24; Hosea 7:13-16; 8:1-2; cf. Jer 6:19-20, and generates wrongful acts, including injustice and oppression, Isa 58:2-7; 59:2-4, 13-15.
- The hypocrite is also an ungodly rebel who flatters and deceives with his or her tongue, Psa 5:9-10; 12:2-4; 78:36-37; Dan 11:21, 27; cf. Psa 55:20-21, to promote godlessness, Dan 11:32, 34, (hypocrisy is CHALAQLAQQOTH the reduplication of CHALAQ meaning, “smooth or smoothness.”
Prov 26:28, “A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”
- In contrast, the true worshiper must come before the Lord with a pure heart, Psa 15:2-5; 24:4-5.
Psa 15:2-5, “He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. 3 He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; he swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 He does not put out his money at interest, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.”
Psa 24:4-5, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. 5He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
New Testament usage:
The New Testament seems to combine the Old Testament concept of the godless rebel and the Attic Greek HUPOKRISIS, “stage-playing or acting.”
- The Greek idea of “play-acting”, the HUPOKRITES, seems paramount where Jesus warns against religious performance to impress men. As such the hypocrite makes an outward show of their religion and beliefs, whether in giving offerings, praying, or fasting, Mat 6:1-2, 5, 16, 18.
- The concept of hypocrisy as failing to practice what one preaches is found in Mat 23:3-4.
- The hypocrite is self-deluded by his or her own pretension, which does not fool anyone else, and leads him to wrongfully judge others, Mat 7:5; Luke 6:42.
Mat 7:5, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
- Hypocrisy involves a failure to discern spiritual truth, Luke 12:54-56; 13:15; cf. Mat 12:7; 16:3; 23:13-29; Luke 11:39-44, or even a willful blindness to spiritual matters.
Mat 23:25, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.”
On the other hand, we are to function in truth and righteousness.
1 Peter 2:1, “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”
- The hypocrite pretends goodness, but beneath a religious veneer is a malicious or deceitful heart scheming to entrap the righteous, Mat 22:15-18; Mark 12:15f; Luke 20:20f; Luke 12:1, cf. 1 Peter 2:1.
- Though hypocrites justify their religious activity, their hearts are not true to God, Mat 15:7-9, 18-19; Mark 7:6; cf. Isa 29:13-14.
- The hypocrite who lies to the Lord is in serious danger of the Lord’s discipline coming into his life, Acts 5:1-11.
- The hypocrite has a discrepancy between his outward conformity to God’s Word and the true state of his heart, Mat 23:25-30; contrast 5:8. Thus, the term “hypocrite” can sometimes be used as a synonym for an unbeliever, Mat 24:50-51.
Mat 24:50-51, “The master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, 51and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
- Such hypocrites hinder others from coming to Christ and even make converts to their godless lifestyle, Mat 23:13, 15; cf. Dan 11:32, 34.
Mat 23:13, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”
- Or they deceive others into doctrinal error, 1 Tim 4:1-2. In 1 Tim. 4:2 the term conveys the sense of an evildoer or apostate.
1 Tim 4:1-2, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.”
- Many times hypocrisy causes a herd mentality, where they all run off the cliff together in apostasy, Gal 2:13. When Peter changed his practice on the arrival of envoys from Jerusalem, he was not just trying to deceive the envoys, nor act in contradiction with himself; but he was falling away from the truth of the gospel, which, with the doctrine of justification by faith, implies equality of Jew and Gentile.
- Thus hypocrisy is implied as one of the evidences of earthly or demonic wisdom, James 3:13-16.
- The absence of hypocrisy, (i.e., genuine faith and sincere love from a pure heart), is a mark of godly character, 1 Tim 1:5; 2:5, 7; cf. Psa 15:2-5; 24:3-5; 2 Cor 6:6-7.
1) As believers who truly apply AGAPE Love toward others, we are to operate “without hypocrisy,” ANAUPOKRITOS, Rom 12:9-13.
Rom 12:9, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good…..”
2) Sincere love is from the heart; it rests on your new birth and the word of God, 1 Peter 1:22-23.
3) Opposed to the demonic wisdom of false teachers, the pure wisdom of the truth of God’s Word is marked by sincerity that leads to Divine Good Production, James 3:17-18, cf. 1 Thes 2:5-8. In contrast, heresy is immoral; it is “hypocrisy.”
James 3:17-18, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
1 Thes 2:5-8. “For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness— 6nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. 7But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 8Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.”
Vs. 14-18, A final emphasis on the Grace of God as opposed to keeping the Law.
Gal 6:14, “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world
In vs. 14, Paul points out that he is not a hypocrite because it was not about Him, but about the Lord Jesus Christ, cf. 1 Cor 2:2.
1 Cor 2:2, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
If he is going to brag, KAUCHAOMAI, καυχαομαι that means, “to boast, to give glory to, to take pride in something, pride oneself, or brag,” he will brag about the Cross, STAUROS, σταυρος, of our Lord Jesus Christ, KURIOUS IESOUS CHRISTOS, which represents God’s grace, rather than boasting in the flesh, SARX, human good works, as the Judaizers did.
The hypocrite brags about that which is produced from the sin nature, (i.e. sin, human good, and evil), whereas the righteous believer brags about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and the grace of God.
Then we have “through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
“Crucified” STAUROO, is in the Perfect tense and Passive voice meaning, it has been crucified in the past with the result that it keeps on being crucified. Paul received this crucifixion of the world by faith in the Cross of Jesus Christ. Cf. Rom 6:2, 6; Gal 2:19ff.; 5:24.
As you know the Greek word for “world” is KOSMOS, which is the ungodly order of things arrayed against God under the domination and the influence of Satan. We call this Satan’s cosmic system of sin, human good, and evil. In other words, this verse says, “the way of Satan’s cosmic system and all that it has to offer to fallen man, has been killed off to me,” or in slang, “is dead to me”, and “my old self has died to sin and Satan’s cosmic system.”
This is what Paul later expounded on in Romans 7, where he states that we have died to our Old Self, our old sin nature.
In both cases, we see the doctrine of separation, especially in the phrase, “to me” which is the Dative of Separation. This is the separation of our spiritual lives from our sin nature and Satan’s cosmic system. Paul is saying that the world (sin and Satan’s cosmic system) has been separated from him, and he from the world. It means that he does not have human viewpoint, he is separated from human viewpoint by walking in Divine viewpoint. Therefore, Paul has severed all connection with human viewpoint, (sin, human good, and evil). This separation or death to sin and Satan’s cosmic system is the result of the Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ and our non-meritorious faith in Him, cf. Gal 2:20; Col 2:20.
Col 2:20, “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees…”
Then in vs. 15, the emphasis in our spiritual lives must be on positional truth, which too is part of the grace plan of God. Positional truth tells us what the Holy Spirit has done for us and that should be our emphasis, not what I can do for myself or God.
Gal 6:15, “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”
“Circumcision” is PERITOME once again, that means the removal of the foreskin flesh of the male penis, which the Jews did according to the Law, as well as proselyte Gentiles.
“Uncircumcision” is another Greek word, AKROBUSTIA, ακροβυστια that was nonexistent in classical Greek, but is used in Scripture to denote, “foreskin,” that is, to have the foreskin on the male penis. In Judaism, to be uncircumcised meant to be a Gentile, pagan, or an unbeliever, which is how it is also used in the NT. Here it stands for the Gentiles.
In Paul’s past, circumcision made an effective distinction between Jew and Gentile. Only the circumcised could be true sons of Abraham, and therefore true members of God’s covenant people. This will come into play again in vs. 16 with the phrase, “the Israel of God.”
But now, through the Cross of Jesus Christ, this physical distinction was no longer valid. Whether you are circumcised or not, makes no difference at all, cf. Gal 5:6; Rom 2:26, 28; 1 Cor 7:19
1 Cor 7:19, “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.”
Yet, through the Cross of Jesus Christ, all who are led by the Spirit to believe in Christ have become a “new creation”, KAINOS KTISIS, καινος κτισις. Cf. 2 Cor 5:17; Titus 3:4-7. This tells us that we are no longer under the curse of the Law, but we have the great privilege and joy of living under grace with the certain hope of eternal life.
There are two different Greek words for “new” in the NT. The first one is KAINOS and the second is NEOS. KAINOS, used here means, new in quality or freshness, while NEOS means, new in point of time. It connotes the idea of recent, which is not the idea here.
Therefore, circumcision or uncircumcision is not the issue, it is not important, but what is important is that we are a “new in quality creature.” It emphasizes what God has done for us. We are new in quality because of what God has done for us in grace. He has given us eternal life. He has imputed His righteousness to our souls. He has made us His heirs and joint heirs with the Son of God. He has made both Jew and Gentile believers Sons of Abraham and Sons of God, etc.
Therefore, Paul pronounced the act of circumcision devoid of any redemptive or saving significance, and he also declared adamantly that neither condition affords any spiritual advantage, cf. Col 3:11, Just as the dietary regulations of the Law have no effect on salvation or spirituality in the Church Age, 1 Cor 8:8.
For the new in quality creation, see: 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 2:10-15; 4:24; Col 3:10; Phil 3:3.
Principles of the New Creation:
God has created all species: Angelic and Human. Within the human species there are two main species, Gentile and Jew, as a result of Abraham’s and Sarah’s regenerated sexual function through circumcision. Circumcision in the ritual plan of God was the sign of the new racial species of Israel.
But Paul says here, “For neither is circumcision anything (Jewish race), nor uncircumcision (Gentile race); but a New Spiritual Species.”
In the Church Age, another species has been created. This one is called the New Spiritual Species.
2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone (Church Age believer) is in Christ Jesus, and they are, he is a new spiritual species. The old things, (our position in Adam, spiritual death), have lost their power; behold, new things have come, (a new spiritual life and the unique factors of the Church Age).”
The New Spiritual Species is provided for and offered to all members of the Human Race both Jew and Gentile.
The New Spiritual Species is based on our Baptism by the Holy Spirit at the moment of our salvation. Therefore, the new racial species of Israel had to be perpetuated through procreation, while in the Church Age the New Spiritual Species of the Royal Family of God is perpetuated through the Baptism of the Spirit at the point of salvation.
At salvation the believer still has the Old Sin Nature, but it cannot function or control his life apart from his own consent and negative volition. The old things have not passed away, but they have lost their power.
The Greek words KAINE KTISIS are the two most startling words in the New Testament. It does not mean simply that you have been renovated. It means you have been created a new creature.
Then in vs. 16, we have, “And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”
“Walk” here is STOICHEO once again, just as in Gal 5:25 for “walk by the Spirit.” It means to march in a row or line, in order, following the command of the leader. Therefore, we are to walk in march-step with the Doctrine of the New Creation and the mystery doctrines for the Church Age, where Jew or Gentile, circumcision or uncircumcision makes no difference. The thing that makes a difference is the New Creation.
“Rule” is an interesting word. It is KANON, κανων that means, “Rule, standard, limit, or measuring rod.”
Thayer notes: “a rod or straight piece of rounded wood to which anything is fastened to keep it straight. It was used for various purposes: a measuring rod or ruler, a carpenter’s line or measuring tape, and the measure of a leap, as in the Olympic Games. It also is used for a definitely bounded or fixed space within the limits of which one’s power of influence is confined; the province assigned one or one’s sphere of activity. And finaly, metaphorically, any rule or standard, a principle or law of investigating, judging, living, or acting.”
BDAG also notes its use in Gal 6:16 as, “a means to determine the quality of something; rule or standard.” So just as we noted in vs. 15 where KAINOS (new) represented a new quality, we see here that the standard in which we live by in faith is one of high quality, which represents the standard of the grace of God, in comparison to the low quality of living by the Law and our human good works, cf. Phil 3:16.
Later, KANON was used to represent the Scriptures in totality with the formation of the Old and New Testament combined in one book, (i.e., the complete KANON of Scripture).
Therefore, the Greek word KANON translated “rule” has the meaning in classical Greek of the straight edge of a ruler used by masons and carpenters. It was used here metaphorically in the sense of that which sets a standard or principle. It is in keeping with this meaning that Paul used a verb which means “walking in a straight line” according to a rule, i.e., the mystery doctrines for the Church Age and the New Spiritual Species. As such the Galatians understood this illustration from the use of a ruler in daily life and Paul thereby sought to impress on them that circumcision promoted by the Judaizers as necessary for salvation is meaningless to all who understand who they are through Christ. In addition, he impressed upon them, and us, that to be led by the Spirit in our faith and life is imperative, as opposed to human good works under the Law.
“Peace and mercy be upon them,” is EIRENE and ELEOS indicating that the dividing wall of SIN between God and Man was destroyed at the Cross of Jesus Christ, and anyone who receives the New Creation is at peace with God through salvation. Likewise, the mercy of God has come into their lives by sparing them of the condemnation of sin, and restoring them to fellowship with God as a new creature as part of the new spiritual species.
On the flip side, this phrase tells us that those who DO NOT live by this rule of the New Creation, given to us by the grace of God, and instead believe their salvation and/or spirituality is made possible by keeping the Law, will NOT have peace with God and will NOT receive His mercy of the redeeming of their sins for salvation.
The “them” in this context, the Plural of AUTOS, is the believing uncircumcised, the believing Gentiles.
Then we have “and upon the Israel of God,” Ισραηλ Θεος, that refers to the believing circumcised or Jewish believers. It refers to Jewish believers only, as Paul was one himself.
The “Israel of God” is the remnant according to the election of God’s grace among Jews. It is the remnant of Jewish believers in the Church age noted in Rom 11:5-6.
Rom 11:5, “In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.”
Therefore, “the Israel of God” refers to all Jews who are led by the Spirit to live by grace for their salvation and spiritual life, cf. Gal 3:7, 29; Rom 9:6ff.
Rom 9:6 & 8, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel… 8That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.”
Believers in general are never called Israel in the New Testament. Yet, Jewish believers, noted as “true Israel,” are part of the Church. Therefore, the Israel of God refers to those who are Jews by nationality and are born again. In this context, we have a reference to the true Jew of this Age, (i.e. the Jew who has trusted in Christ as his Savior). This does not refer to Gentile believers. Paul is simply continuing the distinction between Jewish and Gentile believers based on what he said previously in vs. 15, differentiating between uncircumcised and circumcised, cf. Gal 3:28; Rom 1:16; 10:12; Col 3:11.
In vs. 17 we have, “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.”
There are two parts to this sentence; first the command and then the object lesson. We begin with the command.
“Cause trouble for me”, where “cause” is the Present, Active, Imperative of the Verb PARECHO, παρεχω that means, “hand over, offer, present, supply, show, cause, or bring about.” BDAG notes its use here means, “to cause to happen or be brought about, cause, or make happen.”
With this is the noun KOPOS, κοπος which is used for “trouble” that literally means, “laborious toil.” Its root KOPTO means, to beat or strike, and therefore KOPOS means a cut, where by analogy it means toil as reducing the strength, literally or figuratively, and by implication pains. Labor plus trouble equals weariness. So it comes to mean, weariness and fatigue, or labor that tires a person. The root KOP also has association with the idea of grief, and KOPOS can imply misery and psychological pain.
So we see that the Judaizers, by influencing the Galatians away from the truth of God’s Word, were causing Paul all kinds of mental anguish.
In the Imperative Mood, Paul commands in essence, “do not let these people cause more mental anguish for me.” In other words he says, “after writing this, do not let anyone ever give me a hard time regarding the subject of legalism again.”
Next we have the object lesson.
“For I carry on my body the brand marks of Jesus.”
“Brand-marks” is the Noun STIGMATA, στιγματα the Accusative, Neuter, Plural of STIGMA, στιγμα. It is only used here in the New Testament. A STIGMA is a mark pricked in or branded with a hot iron upon the body. Therefore, it is a brand-mark, tattoo, or scar. It was used for slaves as a brand-mark indicating ownership and who their owner was, and for military men to indicate which general they served under. For the Roman soldier it was simply the identification card or serial number of the recruit in the Roman army after he had been accepted as a soldier. It was his graduation certificate from basic training.
R.B. Thieme Jr. notes, “From “The Military Institutions Of The Romans”, pages 17-18 — “The recruit should not the military mark as soon as he is enlisted. This mark was imprinted on the hands of the soldiers either with a hot iron or in some manner to make it indelible, (impossible to receive remove). He must first be tried if fit for service, whether he has sufficient activity and strength, he has the capacity to learn his duty, and whether he has the proper degree of military courage. For many, although promising enough in appearance, are found unfit after trial. These are to be rejected and replaced by better men, for it is not the numbers but the bravery which carries the day. After their examination, the recruits should then receive the mark and be taught the use of their own arms by constant and daily exercise.” (Parenthesis mine.)
Now for Paul, he carried (BASTAZO, βασταζω) upon his body (SOMA, σωμα) the slave ownership, and tried and tested soldier markings of the Lord Jesus (IESOUS, Ιησους) Christ Himself.
Rom 1:1, “Paul, a bond-servant (DOULOS – slave / servant) of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” Cf. Gal 1:10; Col 4:7; 2 Tim 2:24; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Rev 1:1.
This was no ordinary slave ownership or enlistment, as Paul voluntarily entered himself into this servanthood of the Lord, as well as being a tested and victorious soldier on the battlefields of the Angelic Conflict.
As a result, Paul’s body was literally scarred all over because of his relationship with the Lord, Acts 14:19; 2 Cor 11:23-27. Paul does not say when each of these things occur, many probably later than the writing of Galatians, but apparently some had already occurred.
Therefore, being in the Plural, these are the traces left by the perils, hardships, imprisonments, and scourges endured by Paul for the cause of Christ, which marked him as Christ’s faithful and approved servant and soldier.
He mentions these scars suffered from persecutions, because they spoke more eloquently about the Person of Jesus Christ than the markings or mutilations of circumcision, cf. Gal 5:12, that the Judaizers sought to impose on the Galatian believers.
So in regard to those Judaizers who were causing trouble for Paul, he states, if you want to see some evidence of the Christian faith, you do not need to circumcise yourself, or keep the Law, just look at the scars on my mutilated body which are a witness for Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:17-18, “For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 18For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”
2 Tim 2:10, “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.”
Therefore, Paul suffered under the three stages of undeserved suffering or suffering for blessing as He advanced in the Spiritual life, becoming a witness for Christ in the appeal trial of the Angelic Conflict, including: Providential Preventative Suffering; Momentum Testing and Evidence Testing.
Eph 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
John 15:20-21, “If they persecuted Me (and they have), they will also persecute you all. 21But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.”
F.F. Bruce noted, “The Lord who was personally persecuted on earth continued to be persecuted, even in His exaltation, in the person of His persecuted followers. Their being persecuted for His sake was a sign that they belonged to Him, as it was a token of coming judgment on their persecutors” (Bruce, p.313).
1 Cor 4:12-13, “… when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.”
2 Cor 4:7-10, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”
Mat 5:10-12, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The sufferings you and your fellow Christians endure bring you closer to one another and to Christ. You are a living example and dying testimony; a constant witness to the truth. As a result of your suffering, even many of the followers of Satan will leave their service to him and begin enlisting under the banner of Christ.
And finally, in vs. 18 we have the closing salutation and exhortation, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.”
“Grace” CHARIS, χαρις is emphasized because it is the basis for our salvation and our spiritual walk. Grace means that God has done everything necessary for mankind to be saved, and especially for the believer to live the unique spiritual life. It is the basis of everything that Paul has stated in this book.
Eph 2:8 tells us, “by grace you have been saved.” It is the reason we are a new creation. Then in vs. 10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Grace then is the basis for our daily walk in Christ and Divine Good Production, when we are filled with and led by the Holy Spirit.
So, in Gal 6:18 we have, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit”, which references the regenerate human spirit that constitutes our new creation, being made a new spiritual species. The human spirit is the only basis of absorbing spiritual phenomena (i.e., The Word of God), which Paul has just taught.
So, Paul reminds them that their new human spirit absorbs this spiritual phenomenon of grace for salvation and the spiritual walk, which in Eph 2:9 states, “is not by works lest any man should boast.”
As we have studied, the big problem with the Galatians was that they had been duped by the legalistic Judaizers, because they did not know their doctrine well enough yet. Consequently, Paul is now saying “with your spirit,” absorb the Grace of God, where he is emphasizing the importance of these Galatians getting information, that is, Bible Doctrine into their souls, because such information can only come to them, and us, through the human spirit by the Grace of God.
Summary of the Book of Galatians:
As we noted at the beginning of our study of this book, Romans is known as the “Big Book on Justification” and Galatians is the “Little Romans.”
In chapter one we noted Paul’s opening salutation, vs. 1-5, which emphasized his apostolic authority and the fact that God sent him to the Galatians and not man. That was in contrast to the Judaizers who were sent by their religious hierarchy to influence the Galatians away from Paul’s teachings of Grace and back to the works of the Law. He also reminds them that their salvation, founded on the grace of God that brought them peace with God, was made available through the person and work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross.
Then in vs. 6 -10, Paul stated his reason for writing this letter, “their desertion, (changing their minds), from the grace gospel of Jesus Christ and retreating to the works of the Law.” This did not happen on its own, but was the result of the Judaizers teaching them false doctrine, which was a perversion of the true gospel. That is why Paul states in vs. 7, “It is not another gospel.” They took the truth found in the Old Testament Scriptures that pointed to the person of Christ as the Messiah, and twisted it into a works for salvation gospel. Paul then condemns those individuals, and anyone who does the same in the future.
Then in vs. 11-24, Paul told them that he was commissioned by God and not man, and gave them a brief history of what led him to where he is now.
In vs. 1-10, Paul continued the history lesson and told of the time Barnabas, Titus, and he went to Jerusalem to meet with Peter, James, John, and the other elders of the Church. They went to Jerusalem because some men were coming up from Jerusalem bringing the false doctrine of salvation by works through the Law, in opposition to the gospel of grace. Paul and company reached an accord with the Jerusalem church leaders in regard to the doctrines of grace, and the church leaders recognized the God given ministry of Paul to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles; the “uncircumcised.”
Then in vs. 11-21, we were given the account of when Peter went to Galatia and was negatively influenced by the Judaizers, which led Paul to harshly reprimand him in public for being a hypocrite.
Vs. 16, 21, is the great declaration of the gospel of grace for salvation, and the denunciation of salvation by works.
Vs. 20, is the great anthem of the believer, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Chapter 3 began with Paul’s reprimand of the Galatian believers for believing the lie of the Judaizers, vs. 1-5, and falling away from the truth they once had.
In vs. 6-9, Paul presented the objection lesson of Abraham as being saved by grace in faith. Likewise he noted that everyone who believes, (Jew or Gentile), as he did, would too receive salvation and the fulfillment God’s promise to Abraham by making them sons of Abraham.
Then in vs. 10-29, Paul expounded on the object lesson of Abraham and the grace gift of righteousness from God, in faith, and reminded us that Abraham lived and was saved 439 years before the Law was given to Moses and Israel. Therefore, the promise given to Abraham trumps, (is greater than), the Law.
In vs. 14, he also noted the key difference between Old Testament believers and believers of the Church Age; that we receive not only salvation, but the Holy Spirit of God.
In vs. 19-20, we saw the importance of Christ’s Mediatorship to reconcile man to God.
In vs. 21-29, we were told of the weakness of the Law to save and also its reason for being given to man; to prove we cannot be absolutely perfect and righteous on our own. The Law was a tutor that led us to Christ who could make us perfect and righteous.
Vs. 27, spoke of our baptism by the Holy Spirit at the moment of our salvation, which places us in union with Jesus Christ, i.e., “clothed with Christ.”
Vs. 28, spoke of the equality of all believers of the Church Age.
Vs. 29, told of our heirship to the promise of Abraham.
Chapter 4 gave us three object lessons of God’s Grace Plan of Salvation:
The first is found in vs. 1-11, that being the function of Roman adoption in comparison to the Church Age believer’s status in the family of God, in contrast to that of Israel’s.
Israel was the natural born son who was a minor that needed nurturing, care taking, and training. That is why God gave them the Law. It was their “tutor.” But the Church Age believer, because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, is given the status of adoption as “adult sons,” with power and authority to make decisions for Christ.
Included there is vs. 7-11, where Paul reprimanded them, once again, for going back to the slavery and bondage of religion, called “worthless and elemental things.” Prior to Paul’s preaching, they were slaves to pagan false religions, then after Paul’s preaching, they accepted the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Now, due to the influence of the Judaizers, they had gone back to another form of false religion called “keeping the Law.”
In vs. 12-20, Paul used the object lesson of the personal grace they previously showed towards him, as a lesson for what God has also done for them.
In vs. 19, we also saw that Paul’s and God’s objective for the Church Age believer is to have “Christ Formed in You,” which will be expounded upon in Chapter 5.
Then in vs. 21-31, we had the allegory of the two sons of Abraham by two women; Ishmael from the slave Hagar, versus Isaac from the free woman, Sarah. The bondwoman Hagar represented Israel under the Law, as being in bondage, while the free woman, Sarah, represented the Church Age believer in Christ who is not under the Law but under the promise of inheritance as adult sons to God.
Chapters 5 then expounded on our freedom as adult sons of promise, where we were exhorted to stand in our freedom, and not go back to the bondage of the Law. In this chapter we also noted that our freedom exhorts us to take on the “Christ-like nature,” by having “Christ formed in you,” in which there are 7 characteristics noted in this chapter, including:
In vs. 1, the first characteristic of “Christ formed in you” is “freedom,” living in the freedom Jesus won for you at the Cross. It means freedom from the bondage of the law and sin to serve God and man, which includes our Positional and Experiential Sanctification. We are positionally sanctified at salvation and are to “stand firm” in that sanctification for our daily walk – i.e. our experiential sanctification.
In vs. 2-4, the second characteristic is operating under the two power options of God. Here we are told that if we go back to the Law, or any form of legalistic / self-righteous worship, Christ will be of no benefit to us. That is, the power of His Word, Bible Doctrine, in your soul will be nullified or rendered powerless. It also means that we lose the filling of God the Holy Spirit, who Christ sent to be our helper, John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7. Therefore, we will lose the two-power options God has given to us in grace: His Word in our soul and the filling of His Spirit, which the Cross of Jesus Christ has made available for us. So the second characteristic of “Christ formed in you,” is having the two power options, His Word, and the Filling of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18, functioning within your soul.
III. In vs. 5, the third characteristic of “Christ formed in you” is faith that eagerly waits, or as we would say, having “faith-rest” and living the faith-rest life, i.e., believing in and trusting God in all areas of your life. This means having confident expectation in the promises of God to live daily unto Him, being especially confident in your translation to eternal glory at the resurrection, (Rapture), of the Church; the Body of Christ.
In vs. 7-9, the fourth characteristic of “Christ formed in you” is what the Galatians were doing well at first, but had gotten sidetracked from by the Judaizers, that is, to “keep running the spiritual race and finish the course,” 1 Cor 9:24; 2 Tim 4:7; Heb 12:1. Do not let the things and issues of this world sidetrack you from your daily walk with God. Keep going forward in His Plan, consistently growing in spiritual maturity by the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 3:18.
In vs. 10, the fifth characteristic of “Christ formed in you” is to “reject false doctrines” when they are presented, 2 John 1:10-11. If you accept the false doctrines of false teachers, (wolves in sheep’s clothing), you will be led astray and potentially wiped out in the spiritual life. We have an obligation to God to protect our souls from the false doctrines of this world, i.e., Satan’s cosmic system. We protect our souls by learning more and more of God’s Word and saying no to those doctrines that are counter to or not found in the Bible.
In vs. 11-12, we have the sixth characteristic of “Christ formed in you,” which is the “persecution factor.” A sign of spiritual maturity is being persecuted by others for your faith. That means that you are a bona fide witness for the prosecution, God, during the appeal trial of the Angelic Conflict. As a result, you bring maximum glorification to God and will receive rewards and blessings for both time and eternity.
John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”
VII. The 7th Characteristic of “Christ formed in you” is the “application of AGAPE – Love”, which is having Impersonal and Unconditional love towards God and man, as introduced in vs. 13-14 and explained in vs. 15, 17-26.
Having AGAPE Love means, 1) avoiding sin in our lives, vs. 15, 17-21, and 2) producing the “Fruit of the Spirit,” i.e., Divine Good Production, vs. 22-26. This is only possible when we advance spiritually in lock-step with the Holy Spirit as we are filled by Him, vs. 16, 25.
Chapter 6 had three main topics: the first two were object lessons of AGAPE Love and the third derided hypocrisy.
In vs. 1-5, we have the object lesson of AGAPE Love demonstrated through the forgiveness of sins or trespasses against you, accompanied by restoration of the offender.
In vs. 6-10, the object lesson of AGAPE Love is demonstrated through giving graciously; first to your Pastor-Teacher, then to your fellow believers, and then to all mankind.
Then in vs. 11-17, Paul warned against the hypocrisy of the Judaizers and any false teachers. In doing so, he states that the grace of God demonstrated by making us a “new creation”, a new spiritual species, from the moment of our salvation is a good object lesson to dissuade you from being duped by the false doctrines of works for salvation by false teachers.
In vs. 17, Paul noted that his “brand-marks” as a servant-soldier for Christ speak more eloquently of salvation by grace through Christ Jesus, than the mutilation of circumcision as proposed by the Judaizers.
And finally, in vs. 18, Paul closed with a salutation blessing regarding the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our ability, as new in quality spiritual creatures, to comprehend the spiritual phenomenon that is the Word of God to empower and enable us to uniquely glorify God in time.