In Part 7 of our study, we focused on what it meant to walk by the Spirit. We learned of the battle between the flesh and the Spirit and how they aim for control in the human heart. Paul describes this dynamic well in Romans 8. 5-6,
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Galatians 6. 1-18
In this last chapter, Paul gives a few final commands for the Galatians believers as well as some guidance in their Christian walk. In verses 1-10, Paul instructs the Galatians on how to live out their walk in the day to day.
Verses 1-5 describe ways for the believers to be considerate of each other. The examples given highlight an aspect of community. They are instructed to restore each other and to bare one another’s burdens. The overarching characteristic in all these actions is humility. They are to restore each other in a spirit of gentleness (one of the fruit of the Spirit). In verses 3-5, there is no place for pride. Overall, there seems to be call for an attitude of selfless humility.
Verses 6-10 utilize the imagery of farming to describe how to live the Christian life. “For whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6.7). In this set of verses, Paul points back to what he states previously in Galatians 5.16-18. He is again talking about the battle between the flesh and the Spirit. We have the choice between which one we will sow our seed, in the flesh or in the Spirit. Will we choose to set our mind on the flesh and seek the things of the flesh and therefore sow our seed to our own flesh? Or will we choose to set our mind on the Spirit and seek the things of God and therefore sow our seed in the Spirit? (See Romans 8.5-6) Paul clearly states what will result if we sow our seed in the flesh or if we sow our seed in the Spirit. “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” (Galatians 6.8).
There are times where sowing in the Spirit can be draining. We might not see the results as quickly. Paul encourages us and the Galatian believers to not give up. We are to keep sowing in the Spirit because we will soon see the full harvest, which is eternal life. Paul ends his letter with an encouraging command urging the Galatian believers to continue on in their Christian walk by sowing in the Spirit and therefore walk by the Spirit until they reap the harvest of eternal life.
Paul concludes his letter to the Galatians by summarizing his main point. Let’s review for a moment… Paul’s reason for writing the letter is to address this false teaching which involved the use of circumcision to make one right before God. Paul counters this teaching by demonstrating that God’s grace and approval is given to those who believe in His Son. Paul’s hope is for the Galatian believers to live in light of God’s grace by seeking to live according to the Spirit. In the Spirit, there is life, peace, and freedom from meeting the standard of God’s law. This standard doesn’t have to be met by the use of circumcision; it has been met by Jesus: His life, death and resurrection. Therefore, in Galatians 6.11-18, Paul concludes his letter by reminding the Galatians that circumcision doesn’t earn God’s approval. We can have God’s approval through His offer of grace given through Jesus Christ. Will you accept God’s gift of grace?
Photo Credit: Annie Spratt