Bear one another’s burdens
Galatians 6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
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. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 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. 5 For each one will bear his own load.
6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 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. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 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.
11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 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. 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. 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. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
In Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus says: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 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.” If we want the world to see the truth that we as believers know, we need to live in the righteousness and holiness of Christ. Otherwise they will see our sinfulness and we will be hypocrites in their eyes. An example of this is that in John 13:34-35 Jesus says: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” When the world sees the lack of love and division that is in the church today, they don’t know who the disciples of Jesus are, much less want to listen to what they say.
In today’s text it says: 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. There are similarities and differences in these two portions of scripture. What Jesus says, can be applied to our actions with everyone, both believers and unbelievers. We are not to judge others so that we ourselves are not judged by the same standard. Our purpose should not be to judge others, but having made sure that we are seeing clearly, we are to help them also see the truth. Paul wrote to believers, to the church. The instruction in today’s text speaks of restoring other believers who have sinned. A person who has not believed cannot be restored to faith, but hopefully they can be made to see clearly and believe. One who has believed needs not to be shown the truth, but rather to be restored to faith. Still we must not judge others, whether believers or unbelievers. We may not be tempted by the same things that cause them to sin, but we all are tempted to sin. James 1:14-15 says: Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Only Jesus was without sin. Hebrews 4:15-16 says: We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. It is in grace, to the throne of grace that we should take others to Christ. If we bring them before Him in judgment, then we ourselves will be judged. For the unbeliever then, we desire that they would know the redemption of the cross by grace, and for the believer our desire should be that they be restored by grace.
Today’s text says: Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 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. For each one will bear his own load. At first glance this seems as though it may be a contradiction. We are to bear one another’s burdens, but each one must bear their own load. To better understand and apply what it says, we need to differentiate between burdens and load. The burdens we bear with and for others are the difficulties and daily struggles that we all endure. We are to help people in and through the difficult times. Each person’s load is actually their mission and purpose, who and what they are created and called to be and do, in spite of what the difficulties they face. We cannot fulfill their purpose for them. Perhaps the greatest example of burdens and loads is described in Mark 15:20-24, when Jesus was crucified. It says: They led Him out to crucify Him. They pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross. Then they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it. And they crucified Him. In Luke 23:34 Jesus says: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Having been weakened from the beating and abuse, Jesus could not bear the weight of the cross, so Simon carried the cross that day. Jesus alone though, the Messiah, the one without sin, could carry the load, the purpose and the mission of the cross; that the sins of the world would be forgiven. We too, when we bear the burdens of others, should carry them to Calvary, there we should lay them down, at the cross, at the throne of grace, where there is help for every need.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.