5:26-6:5 The Gospel Of Grace Changes Our Relationships
Memory Verse: Galatians 6:2
5:26 Vain Glory: Provoking And Envying
- 5:24-26a Paul just finished exhorting believers who live in the Holy Spirit also to walk in the Holy Spirit. After salvation, we received a new nature, and now two natures reside in us. We have to daily crucify the sinful nature and live out our lives in line with the fruit the Holy Spirit is producing. If we do, then one of the results is edifying the relationships we have, especially those within the church. Paul now moves to show how the true gospel of grace changes our relationships.
- 5:26b Paul tells believers to not be desirous of vain glory—boasting when there is no reason to boast. It seems that this false teaching was also causing harm to the relationships within the church because they were looking to the law for their assurance in salvation instead of looking to Jesus. Paul already warned them if they continued to “bite and devour one another” then they would eventually be “consumed one of another.” As believers, we are saved by grace through faith, so we can only boast in Jesus. They forgot this because that were focused on their accomplishments instead of grace. They became conceited, forgetting grace makes us all equal. The two main ways they were desiring this vain glory was by provoking and envying one another.
Galatians 5:15, 21; Philippians 2:3; Ephesians 2:8-10
- Provoking one another (superior): “Provoke” means to call someone out to a contest or challenge. This person feels that he is superior to others, for whatever reason, and often has to prove it through demonstrating it. They look down on those who are inferior. This person’s focus is on how other people make them look. This person is insecure. This person is desirous of vain glory. As believers, we can overcome this superiority complex and provoking others when we focus on the gospel of grace. You need to remember it doesn’t matter how much you have accomplished because you are undeserving of salvation no matter how hard you tried. Your self-worth and need for acceptance is only found in the grace of the Lord Jesus who has saved you.
- Envying one another (inferior): Paul has already mentioned “envyings” as a work of the flesh and not a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It means to spite, to resent or to be discontent because of the accomplishments of others. This person feels that he is inferior to others, for whatever reason, and often resents those they feel are better than them. This person’s focus is on how other people make them look. This person is insecure. This person is desirous of vain glory. As believers, we can overcome this inferiority complex and envying others when we focus on the gospel of grace. You need to remember it doesn’t matter how much you have failed because God loves you in spite of all your failures. Your self-worth and need for acceptance is only found in the grace of the Lord Jesus who has saved you.
6:1 Restoration: Meekness And Confronting
- 6:1a As believers, we are to live as “brethren.” That means that not only are we part of the same family—the family of God, but it means that we are to care about each other. When we see someone “overtaken in a fault” meaning that it is obvious they are sinning, then we are to help them. Of course this can’t happen if we are provoking and envying one another. The “superior person” would see it as confirmation that they are better than this person who has fallen into sin (fast to criticize). The “inferior person” would feel he is also a sinner and unqualified to help him (scared to confront). As believers, we are to put away both of these forms of conceit and start to “walk in the Holy Spirit”. We are to be “spiritual.” We are humbled and empower by the gospel. We are to restore such a one in the spirit of meekness—never to be done from a proud spirit.
- 6:1b The Restoration Process: (1) Spiritual—you need to be in a situation that you are able to help someone else. Such a restoration attempt needs to be done cautiously so that you are not tempted and fall into sinning with them. (2) Overtaken in a fault—if a person is habitually sinning and has gotten to the point where they can’t overcome it themselves, then you should be willing to help. (This doesn’t mean calling out everybody who we see sinning.) (3) Restore—the goal is not condemnation or judgement of this person but restoration. We want to help the person to correct his errors or repairing what was broken. It means we are trying to make things right again.
6:2-5 Burdens: Caring And Bearing
- 6:2 As believers, when we see other believers with “burdens”—problems, sin, difficulties or anything that they are struggling with, we should “bear” it or help them. Our motivation for even caring is the gospel itself. Paul says that if we bear another’s burden, we fulfill the law of Christ—which means by love we serve one another and to love our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus is the greatest example of this “law of love”. He exemplified it when he lived on earth and ultimately when he bore our sin-burden on the cross in our place.
Galatians 5:13-14; John 13:34; Ephesians 4:32
- 6:3 Before we can ever help anyone else, we first need to examine ourselves and see if we are in a position where we can help others. We can’t bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ if we are just deceiving ourselves. How do we deceive ourselves? We think that we are something when we are really nothing—meaning we think we are too important. Conceit gives us bad judgement and ruins our ability to really help.
- 6:4-5 On the other hand, every person should prove his own work. This means that we aren’t focused on comparing ourselves with others, but should measure ourselves by ourselves. Where were we and how far have we come in our Christian walk? Of course we still have a long way to go, but we are not comparing ourselves with others, but with ourselves. We can rejoice for the work that God has done in us. Every person has “his own burden or load” that he must carry. God has given each of us responsibilities and we are to be faithful to them. As we are faithful, carrying our daily burden, then we are able to help with the heavy burdens of others. A few questions to help examine your life:
- Spiritual Nourishment: Are you being fed spiritually? Are you obeying what you know you should be doing? Is there any unconfessed sin in your life?
- Spiritual Fruit: Do you consider yourself to be spiritual? Why? Are you walking in the Holy Spirit? What evidence of the fruit of the Spirit being produced in your life is there?
- What is vain glory, provoking and envying?
- Do you fall in the trap of feeling superior or inferior? Why?
- How do we overcome conceit?
- Believers are supposed to bear the “what” of others?
- What should believers do before they help others?