For an introduction to this series, click here.
Paul finishes this book with some very interesting instructions. They kind of run the gamut, but they are all good.
"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load." (6:1-5)
This is an important warning. The first section kind of outlines one of the main purposes of the church: that those who are spiritual leaders should help those who are struggling with overcoming sin and living a fruitful Christian life. The second part tells us the danger involved in this. It is easy to become lifted up with pride when we look at what we are doing for God, especially compared to others. Most of us tend to overestimate what we are doing and underestimate others. But we are responsible to God for our own selves and should not fall into the trap of thinking we are doing great because we are doing more than others. That's what bearing our own load means.
"One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 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. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." (6:6-10)
This is something I have never seen before. These are very familiar verses, but I had never really sat down and put them together like this to see that the entire context is about giving. If you have been reading this blog very consistently, you know that is something the Lord has been dealing with me about, and here we are again. It starts out by saying the one who is taught, meaning the congregation, must share with those who are teaching, namely the church leadership. The rest of the passage flows from that context. The sowing and reaping principle is true at all times and in all situations, but I had never noticed that in context it is talking about giving. That is quite interesting.
Lastly we have Paul's final warning about the Judaizers:
"It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God." (6:12-16, ESV)