IF SOMEONE IS CAUGHT IN A SIN, YOU WHO ARE SPIRITUAL SHOULD
RESTORE HIM GENTLY: "It has been said that the Christian army is the only
army in the world that shoots its wounded. By this comment, it is implied that
Christians attack and spiritually slay those who are already in a death struggle
with sin. All too often this is true.
"It is a tricky thing to uphold the standards that God has set
up for His people. On the one hand, we want to be kind, loving and forgiving. On
the other hand, we have very specific examples of behavior which are not to be
tolerated within the body of Christ.
"Too many times, it is a matter of approach. We see our
brethren engaged in some act of sin. We jump on our white horses and gallop in
to tell them that what they are doing is wrong. The problem is that most of them
already know what they are doing is wrong; they simply lack the faith to stop
doing it. It is like telling someone they are sick without telling them how to
get well or better yet helping them get well. James comments on this attitude
when he says '...one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and
well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?' It may
feel like we are providing some valuable service in pointing out their malady
and then riding off into the sunset, but we are in fact providing little value
at all. If they don't get better, we get out the guns of withdrawal to put them
out of OUR misery. In an ideal scenario, we need to roll up our spiritual
shirtsleeves and build up their faith enough so that they can conquer their sin.
"There are three general kinds of sins which fall into the
category of withdrawal in Scripture (examples are found in but not limited to
1Co 5, Gal 5 and Tit 3). They are unrepentant immorality, teaching false
doctrine and creating a schism in the ecclesia. Another mistake we make in this
area is widening or narrowing the categories. These areas have been clearly
delineated for a reason. They are not for us to change or apply in a flippant
"There are certain principles in the Bible which necessarily
need to be balanced. Some virtues, like love, have no need of balance. You
cannot love too much. You cannot have too much balance. Other virtues, such as
justice, need a proper balance. Justice is properly balanced by mercy. Both
justice and mercy are virtues. However, both justice and mercy not tempered by
each other can be faults. Justice left to itself is unmerciful and harsh. Mercy
left to itself is anarchistic and permissive. Balanced and blended together with
God's word as our guidepost, justice and mercy are kind, fair and righteous.
"How can we judge whether we are balancing both justice and
mercy? You can certainly get closer to the answer by asking yourself the
following questions: How would Jesus handle this situation? Am I doing
everything I can to help this individual overcome his problem (and not just
pointing it out)? Am I looking out solely for the best interests of the ecclesia
and the individual, or are other considerations playing into this? Are the
Scriptures clear on this matter so that the sin is indisputable, or is this a
matter of conscience? Does the individual acknowledge or deny his problem? Is
there any clear Scriptural precedent on how to resolve this problem? Am I being
hypocritical by involving myself with something equally abhorrent that may not
be known to others? Is my approach helpful and humble?
"In the end, we want Christ to be glorified by whatever we do.
We need to remember that without qualification the greatest way to glorify
Christ is to restore our erring brethren in the spirit of meekness and truth.
'Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore
him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted' " (KT).
GENTLY: See Lesson, Gentleness.
Cp Rom 15:1-3.
CARRY EACH OTHER'S BURDENS: Fruit-bearers abiding IN
Christ (Joh 15:5); witness-bearers speaking FOR Christ (Act 1:8); cross-bearers
following AFTER Christ (Luk 14:27); burden-bearers being LIKE Christ (Gal 6:2).
The mind lingers on a picture, perhaps well-known to many. One
boy with a younger one on his back: "He ain't heavy, he's my brother!" Strain is
obviously there, but he bears his burden gladly. All things are relative, aren't
they? Yes, in more ways than one! We are willing to do for our families what
seems intolerable if done for others. Do we sit in the meeting on Sunday
morning, and feel that those with whom we break bread are really our family? We
write salutations like "Dear Sir" to faceless clerks in far away cities. For all
we know, we could be addressing a computer as "dear"! Are our expressions of
"Brother Smith" and "Sister Jones" the same sort of formal, stylized address, or
do they express a reality? If a reality, then let us live that family
relationship with our brethren. Let us rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep
with them that weep. "Let us bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law
BURDENS: This word is "baros", referring to the very
heavy burden that a porter might carry. Such a burden cannot easily be laid down
until the porter reaches his destination. So when he becomes very weary, he may
ask a wayfarer to stoop down under his load for just a few moments, to give him
a short rest. The other side of the coin is seen in v 5: "For every man shall
bear his own burden." This word is "phortion", a light burden, easily carried in
one hand. Paul's lesson is simple: Help your brother with his heavy burdens, but
carry your own light ones cheerfully!
THE LAW OF CHRIST: "I cannot understand this as meaning
that the 613 commands of Moses have been replaced by a set of laws given by
Jesus. For the antithesis between law and grace which the New Testament
constantly draws our attention to would then be meaningless. The law of Christ
surely means the law which is Christ; to be and speak and think and do as He
would do is our law, a principle far more comprehensive and intrusive into our
lives than mere legalism" (DH).
"Get your mind off yourself: off your 'troubles' and desires
and fears, and everything that everyone does or doesn't do to you or for you.
Get your mind on wholesome and constructive things. Be a plus and not a minus.
Get your mind on God, and eternity, and God's Word and the needs of others. Grow
up. Think big. Learn the joys of love and service. Don't wait to be asked: God
has done so already. There is no restriction: any number can play (but so few
do!). Be a part of Life: real living -- and not of Death. 'All things are
possible to him that believeth' " (GVG).
LOAD: In ct v 2, "phortion" = a light burden, easily
carried in one hand. "There is no contradiction here. A difference in the word
translated 'burden' [by the KJV] shows the meaning of Paul. The burden of v 2 is
a burden too great for one to bear without overstrain -- an overload. The second
word means the load properly apportioned to every soldier -- his own burden.
["Every man must 'shoulder his own pack": JBP.] To share this would be to burden
another unduly and unjustly; there must be a wholesome self-reliance as well as
a spirit of help. But should a soldier on the march weaken, and his burden
become too great for his strength, a comrade, being stronger, might take some of
his load in the spirit of helpfulness and comradeship. Each must bear his own
burden, but the strong must help the weak according to the law of Christ under
which his soldiers serve: 'By love serve one another', not by constraint but
willingly" (GbS 69).
SHARE: "Koinoneo": impl support: cp 1Co 9:11; 2Co 11:7;
Phi 4:10; 1Th 2:6,9; 1Ti 5:17,18.
DO NOT BE DECEIVED: 2Th 2:1-3: "Do not be deceived...
my own letter" -- cp here with the v 11.
A MAN REAPS WHAT HE SOWS: '"Whatever we put in, we get
out. Every moment wasted is an eternal loss. If enough moments are wasted, all
is lost. Nothing is by chance. Everything has a cause. Every action has a
result: good or ill. Every moment of life is with eternal possibilities" (GVG).
"The human mind and body are incredibly marvelous creations of
wisdom and capability. We do not use one hundredth of our potential. It is
probably safe to say we do not use one thousandth of our potential. What the
body can be trained to do in the lines of acrobatics and balance would be
incredible if it were not proved by the accomplishments of some, as multiple
somersaults in the air from a narrow bar, landing in perfect balance on the bar
again. And as to the mind, some have memorized the whole Bible. Men spend a
lifetime of effort and practice, and accomplish unbelievable marvels -- all for
a corruptible crown. These people are nothing special in themselves. It's all a
matter of effort and determination: of total love and zeal for some one thing in
life: of working and thinking while others are playing and being amused like
babies (which most people are). It's all a matter of setting a course and
sticking with it singlemindedly, day in and day out. What would we be able to
accomplish, if we really had a total, all-consuming love for God!
"What effort are we making to obtain an incorruptible crown?
Do we imagine the riches of the universe will be just handed to us on a platter?
Why us, and no one else? What is so special about us? And yet we profess to be
in the 'race' for life -- 'striving' toward the mark -- earnestly preparing
ourselves to the best of our ability for eternity with God. But we tend to just
drift through life in ease and comfort, and unprogrammed, day-to-day meandering
self-pleasing -- absurdly assuming that because we happen to be fortunate enough
to have 'learned the Truth' in its bare essentials, and have gone through the
motions of baptism, and show up at some of the meetings, we thereby are
guaranteed eternity, while the 'heathen' world perishes. What do we think we are
given seventy years preparation time for? -- just to play and accumulate and
please ourselves? What unutterable, tragic folly! As we sow, so shall we reap:
God is not mocked" (GVG).
What in the world is happening with our kids today? Let's
see... I think it started when Madalyn Murray O'Hair complained that she didn't
want any prayer in our schools, and we said okay.
Then someone said you had better not read the Bible in school
-- the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your
neighbor as yourself. And we said okay.
Remember Dr Benjamin Spock, who said we shouldn't spank our
children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped
and we might damage their self-esteem? And we said, okay, we won't spank them.
Then someone said that teachers and principals better not
discipline our children when they misbehave. And our administrators said... hold
on, no one in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we
don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued.
Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if
they want, and we won't even have to tell their parents. And we said, that's a
Then someone else said, let's give our sons all the condoms
they want, so they can have all the "fun" they desire, and we won't have to tell
their parents. And we said, that's another great idea.
And then some of our top officials said that it doesn't matter
what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And we said, as long as I have
a job and the economy is good, it doesn't matter to me what anyone does in
So now we're asking ourselves why our children have no
conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can
figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with reaping what we sow!
Many people sow their wild oats and then pray for a crop
DO GOOD TO ALL PEOPLE: "We must thankfully enjoy the
marvelous divine privilege of doing good, and serving the eternal cause of good
-- not for fleshly gratification, but for spiritual gratification. There is no
law against pleasure and happiness and enjoyment: they are what God intends for
man. But they must not be groveling and fleshly and death-tending for man. They
must be on the plane of, and in harmony with, eternity. Our pleasures must be
pleasures of the Spirit. It is hard to grow up to this, and to leave all the
bright baby toys behind us; just as all growing up and leaving behind is hard.
But only they who tread this hard path can reach the infinitely greater
pleasures of eternal maturity. It means setting out in faith up the sometimes
dark and rocky road from perishing pleasures to eternal pleasures: but the light
at the summit is always shining brightly to lead us on. The world prefers to
live and die with its childish toys" (GVG).
"Each of us is specially designed to fulfill a role in the
body of Christ. We all have gifts to share and to bless the world around us. Let
us joyfully do our part -- however small or insignificant it may seem. The
blessings of our Father are made manifest in our doing good to others. The
health of the body improves when each part functions well" (CPv).
LARGE LETTERS: Were these last vv written larger than
usual, and by Paul himself (cp 2Th 3:17; Col 4:18; 1Co 16:21) -- in order to
emphasize their importance as a summary of the letter's teaching? (CGal
Taking the second phrase first, (b) The "world" OUTSIDE
crucifies us. And (a) we crucify the "world" INSIDE us (cp Gal 5:24).
What is a mere cutting in the flesh when compared to the scene
of Christ's crucifixion?
LET NO ONE CAUSE ME TROUBLE: Cp 1Co 14:38. Paul has now
said everything worth saying.
THE MARKS OF JESUS: Paul was crucified unto the world
(v 14). The marks of persecution upon Paul, comparable to the branding, or
"stigmata", of slaves.