Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
The community of believers in Galatia, like many churches today, had fallen far short of God’s purpose. Behind the insistence that male Gentile converts submit to circumcision was a critical and judging mentality that was destroying the spiritual life of the church.
Paul says that church should be a place where those who struggle to live the Christian life should find encouragement, hope, love, and restoration when they fall (v. 1). We are all sinners completely dependent on Christ’s forgiveness and grace (v. 3). How can we not, therefore, offer to others what Christ has given to us (cf. Gal 5:2; Rom 3:23-26; Matt 18:23-35)? Can you imagine the kind of place the church could be today if this were the reality—a place where we did “good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (v. 10)?
Paul concludes his letter with a final appeal to the Galatians to stand firm for the gospel. What matters most, he says, is the transforming power of the Risen Christ that changes the hearts and lives of people. (v. 15). In this hope, Paul’s last word to the Galatians is the same word of blessing that began his letter—grace (v. 18). May we experience and share that same grace with all those who cross our path today!
Carl P. Cosaert
Walla Walla University