THE TENDER AND MERCIFUL RESTORATION OF A FALLEN FELLOW-SAINT (Continued) – Gal. 6:1-5
This restoration of a fallen saint is a delicate task indeed! It cannot be performed in a hard and haughty way at all. Only the meekness of Christ can be of help here; it must be the tender gentleness of our merciful high priest, Who can be and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities (James 5:19-20). It must be a hand reaching from heaven, the touch of the risen Savior, Who says, “fear not; I have the keys of hell and of death. I was dead, and, behold, I live for evermore” (Rev. 1:17-19). I live and, therefore, ye shall live. (John 14:19)). The fallen saint needs the rebuke, reproof, and correction in this hour of need, even as a child needs the tender, firm love of a correcting parent! He must find mercy and grace in the visit of the elders or in that of one of the brethren who would save a brother from sin (
Surely, it requires great meekness to be the messenger of Christ, Who Himself is meek and lowly, and Whose yoke is easy and Whose burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30). It must be remembered that he who is a “spiritual” brother, who is Spirit-led, will surely have his sinful flesh to contend with when he goes to seek and find the sheep lost on the mountains. So serious is this business and so fraught with temptation to sin, that Paul underscores this by changing from the third person plural (ye) to the second person singular thou (su in Greek). The temptation is, that, when we speak to the brother, we do not come and speak in the meekness of Christ, that we do not truly represent the Chief Shepherd in all his meekness and love. This is a meekness which leaves all the judgment to God Himself to heal and restore, and to perform the wonders of the glory of His grace. Where meekness is wanting, we exalt ourselves as a holier-than-thou toward the fallen saints, and we do not seek to restore with the restoration of heaven’s love and grace. We fail miserably to walk orderly by the Spirit and fall into judgment! (Matt. 7:1-5)
WATCHFUL SELF-SCRUTINIZATION IN RESTORING THE BROTHER. (Gal. 6:1)
In close connection with, yea, implied is this tender restoration to the perfection of saints (See Eph. 4:11-16) is “the bearing of each others burdens.” The text places the great mutuality of this bearing of each other’s burdens on the foreground. The Greek text when rendered rather literally reads, “of each other’s burdens on the foreground. The Greek text when rendered rather literally reads, “of each other, the burdens keep on bearing” (Gal. 6:2). Such is practical godliness with power to help each other, to sustain each other, upholding each other in the love of Christ (Eph. 4:1-3). Yes, we all have burdens. The Greek text singles these out as a special class of burdens, which one finds in the midst of the household of faith. These are the burdens, which are found there for believers, as they fight the good fight of faith as the militant church. Many are the burdens for the struggling saint, with sins which so easily beset him. Apart from the light burden of Christ we would all succumb. However, in the body of Christ, where “every joint supplieth,” every member is necessary for the other (Eph. 4:16). Christ bears our mutual burdens, through the members of His body, the saints. And to these saints He gave a new commandment in His blood, that we love one another in the midst of this world (John 13:34). Bearing the burdens of the brother, the saints fulfill the law of Christ. The law of Christ is that law which he has given us in the New Testament in His blood. This law we must fill up. The Greek verb is a composite verb. It is “anapleeroo.” This means to make full to the brim so that no more can be added. Paul uses this verb to depict the horrible plight and sin of the Jewish nation in fulfilling their sin always in their rejection of the Gospel and in their persecuting those who believe and teach the Gospel of Christ’s Cross (I Thess. 2:16). Here we see the condemning words of Jesus fulfilled over Jerusalem, who killed all the prophets from Abel to Zacharias, the son of Barachias, who was slain by Joash in the temple (II Chron. 24:20-21; Matt. 23:35).
Yes, sins filled up. The measure of iniquity is heaping full so that the wrath of God comes upon Israel, and they cease to be a nation. But when we fulfill the law of Christ, then too no more can be done. This is done when in love we bear each other’s burdens, help each other upon the wings of faith and love, caring for each other before the throne of grace. Here the children are truly gathered, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings. Here we perform under Christ, what Christ did for us essentially, when He took all our burdens upon Him, and gave us the easy burden yoke and the light burden. When we help our neighbor bear his burdens, we have learned that Jesus is meek and lowly, and we find rest for our souls. Thus we walk on the way as it narrows on the way to heaven (Matt. 7:13-14). All men see in us thus that we are Christ’s disciples. Here the Lord commands His blessing, even life forevermore (John 13:34-35; Ps. 133:3).
Therefore, keep a watchful eye on self. When you go to restore the brother do not be tempted not to lift up his heavy burden under, which he has fallen! Fulfill the law of Christ! It is not written upon tables of stone, but upon the tables of your fleshy hearts by the Spirit of God! Be a letter, read of all men, a letter written by Christ himself (II Cor. 3:3).
Paul writes a very severe warning that we see to it that we, indeed, fulfill the law of Christ to the brother and sister, who fell into sin. The warning finger is that we do not walk in self-delusion. We must be a spiritual somebody, who knows how to lift the burdens of the brother to be a true fellow-saint. Writes Paul, “If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” We should notice here that Paul uses a conditional sentence. It assumes to be true that a certain man, you or I, thinks that he is something, a real somebody in the church, with real loving intentions and ability to restore an erring brother. But while he is thus thinking great thoughts about himself, he is all the while a “nothing”! The text says “Being nothing.” The thinking of this man, you or I, is pure presumption; it is arrogancy! Such a conceited person claims much for himself and concedes little to others. A presumptuous persons claims place and privilege above all others. When such is the case, such a spiritual non-entity, does not very often deceive others; he only deceives himself. Paul gives us a very beautiful and telling description of such a spiritual nothing in I Cor. 3:7). Well may we take to heart the word of God in Psalm 73:6; .. Writes he, “If I have the gift of all prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing. ” Yes, there you have it, clearly and unmistakably stated. Yes, in comparison to God, the best preacher too is a mere “nothing.” The preacher cannot make the preaching, efficacious (
The word translated “deceiveth oneself” is very expressive in the Greek text. It is phrenapataoo heauton, It is not found in the Classics; Paul is coining a word here. The phren is the mind, the heart, the soul, including the intellect, dispositions and feelings. See I Cor. 14:20. The term apataoo joined with phreneemphasizes the subjective fancies of such a man who thinks to be something, while all the time he is a mere nothing. It is a ludicrous picture of a spiritual fool. Such we must not be! The Bible speaks of being deceived by others (Eph. 5:6), of Adam and Eve being deceived by Satan in paradise (I Tim. 2:14). James comes very near to what Paul teaches here when he says that men “deceive their own heart,” when they do not have the pure and undefiled religion, which visits widows and orphans in their affliction, and keeps self undefiled by the world (James 1:26). Now a man, who deceives his own mind, has spiritual hallucinations and whimsical fancies concerning himself. The man who is overtaken in a fault knows very well that this loveless visitor only walks in his spiritual dream-world (Eph. 5:6; I Tim. 2:14; Rom. 7:11; I Cor. 3:18; Titus 2:14). All this proud preening is an abomination to the Lord because it does not even begin to fulfill the law of Christ, the royal law of the kingdom. It is not walking in the liberty in Christ Jesus, being impelled by the Spirit of Christ.
EVERY MAN SHALL BEAR HIS OWN BURDEN(Galatians 6:4-5)
The term “own burden” is the very personal (idion) burden of assigned duties of the Lord. For this burden the christian is responsible, answerable to God in Christ. We shall all need to be manifested in our works in the day of Christ (II Cor. 5:10). Paul refers to this in Gal. 5:10 where he says “each shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.” The term for burden is phorton, that is, a burden of Christ. The term is employed five times in the New Testament: Matt. 11:30; Matt. 23:4; Acts 15:28; Rev. 2:12. These are not the heavy burdens of the law and the curse, such as were bound upon the necks of men by the teaching of the Pharisees (Matt. 23:4), but they are the light burdens, the easy yoke of Christ (Matt. 11:30). John says: “And his commandments are not grievous” (I John 4:3-4). These are love duties, which Christ places upon our shoulders giving us His Spirit so that we are very ready in the day of His power. Well may we walk in this love-duty, that we may give account in that day. It is such a love-duty to restore that brother who is overcome by a trespass.
In view of such giving account, each must “prove his own work.” The Greek makes this very emphatic, “The work of himself let each approve.” This “work” refers to the sum total of all one’s work as steward of God. It is the rule in judgment: every man shall be judged by his own work, whether he was a good or an evil tree (Matt. 25:31-46). We are to walk as those who are watchful for Jesus’ return in glory to judge the living and the death (Ps. 62:12; ; Matt. 16:27; ; ). The actual proving of the work is to ascertainthe genuineness of the works, whether they proceed from faith which works by love, as pure manifestations of the love for the brother and for God Himself. Gold is tried in the fire to remove the dross; here the proving is a judging with a pure conscience our own work in the light of God’s holiness and perfect law. It must be able to stand in the day of Christ so that we are not ashamed (I John 2:28). Remember too that God knows our works in their deepest motives ( ). Our works must be perfect before God in Christ ( ). Thus we walk at liberty.
Yes, we must have solid ground for boasting in our works. Not that these works are meritorious. But they must be genuine, good works, approved of God in Christ, as the fruits of grace. They must be God’s love perfected in us (I John 4:17). We must have boldness in the day of judgment, and not boast by comparing our work with that of others.