SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- In the first two verses, Paul explains that we are responsible for one another. When someone is struggling with a sin, it is our job to help them find a way out.
- Paul then goes on to explain that, instead of judging other people's sins, we should help them, and judge our own sins. He reminds us of yesterday's chapter that if we reap sin we will find destruction, but if we reap the Spirit we will find eternal life (verse 8). And knowing that we have such a great reward waiting for us should spur us on to continue to do good.
- Paul closes the chapter by reiterating his points on circumcision from chapter 5. He reminds them that circumcision is just an outward impression, and ultimately, it means nothing. The only thing that has true meaning is Jesus and his sacrifice.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- This chapter makes it clear that we are to watch and care for each other, not in an effort to judge, but to help. If we know a friend is struggling with temptation, it is good for us to walk alongside them and help them fight their battle.
- Paul teaches the reader a general principle in verse 7: “a man reaps what he sows.” This is a cardinal rule for our spiritual life but it is difficult to measure. For instance, someone who always loves God and others can still experience many troubles outside of their control, whereas, a crook might live a posh life in a big house eating caviar for dinner every night. The good mans troubles do not mean that he deserves it. Neither does the evil man deserve a life of luxury. However, the Bible does not promise that if we live by the Spirit we will never have trouble. But, Paul is teaching us that when we live to please God, ultimately, we will be blessed at the proper time.
- Paul ends the letter by reminding his readers of what matters most: new life in Jesus, in God's new Kingdom. He also says that he only boasts in the cross of Christ. To "boast in the cross" means to express Jesus and his sacrifice as most important and worthy of honor. Those who follow Jesus boast in the cross, which has brought them freedom.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- It is easy to get wrapped up in our own little worlds. But Paul reminds us that we are to be there for one another. Do you have a friend struggling through a sin they just can't quit? It can be easy to look the other way and assume it's between them and God. Although this is true, God also calls us to come alongside and encourage them to move forward out of the darkness. Who is God asking you to help and encourage this week?
- Do the troubles you experience in this life sometimes cause you to grow weary of doing good? How could knowing there is a reward coming from God help you to continue to devote yourself to loving others? What could you do this week to help you look past the troubles of this life and to the reward in the life to come?