Introduction to Galatians 6
INTRODUCTION TO GALATIANS 6
In this chapter the apostle exhorts to the exercise of various things, which greatly become professors of religion, such as meekness towards backsliders, love to the saints, modesty in themselves, and beneficence to others; exposes the hypocrisy and ambition of the false teachers, in order that the Galatians might beware of them, and not be ensnared by them; and gives an account of his own disposition, conduct, and sufferings, as a rule and example to them, and by which they might judge of the difference between him and the false apostles; and concludes the epistle with his apostolical salutation and benediction. Having mentioned the fruits of the spirit in the preceding chapter, he singles out some of them, and a little enlarges upon them; and begins with meekness, as that should be used by spiritual men to fallen believers, which he persuades to, not only because they are brethren, and but men, and have been overtaken in sin unawares; but because, though they themselves are spiritual, yet should consider they are liable to be tempted, Ga 6:1. And next he advises to show their love to one another, by bearing each other's burdens, which he enforces by this argument, it being a fulfilling the law of Christ, Ga 6:2. And whereas pride and haughtiness lie in the way of such a deportment, he dissuades from a vain opinion of a man's self, that being no other than self-deception, Ga 6:3, and observes, that a man will have the best view of himself and see what occasion he has for glorying, when he considers himself simply and nakedly, and not in comparison with others, Ga 6:4, and there is good reason why he should do so, seeing every man must give an account of his own actions, be judged according to them, and receive his reward or punishment, Ga 6:5. Hence the apostle passes to liberality and beneficence, and first to teachers of the word, to whom such as are taught by them should communicate, and that in good things, and in all good things, Ga 6:6. The arguments used to enforce this exhortation are, that to do otherwise is a deception of themselves, and is a mocking of God; and besides, they shall be treated according to their actions, the use or abuse of what God has given them, signified by a proverbial expression, what a man sows, that shall he reap, Ga 6:7, which is enlarged upon and illustrated, by observing, that he that spends his substance merely on himself, and on carnal pleasures, and to indulge the flesh, the issue of things to him will be ruin, temporal and eternal; but he that lays out his substance on spiritual things, and for spiritual purposes, the issue will be life everlasting, Ga 6:8. Wherefore the apostle renews the exhortation to be bountiful without weariness, seeing there is a reaping time coming, Ga 6:9, and then points out the persons in general to whom good is to be done as opportunity offers, even all men, but especially such as are believers in Christ, are of his family, and particularly stewards there, as ministers of the Gospel are, Ga 6:10. And thus the apostle, having finished what he chiefly intended in this epistle, observes to the Galatians the great regard he had to them, shown in writing to them so long a letter, and that with his own hand, Ga 6:11. And as his chief view was to detect the false apostles, he cannot conclude without taking some further notice of them, which he does by exposing their hypocrisy and ambition; they only made a show of religion outwardly, and obliged others to do that, which they did not choose themselves, namely, to be circumcised; and their ends in all this were, that they might be free from persecution, and have matter of glorying in the proselytes they made, Ga 6:12,13, but the apostle was of a quite different temper and disposition; so far was he from glorying in his own flesh, or others, that his determination was to glory only in Christ, and in his cross, and that for this reason, because the world thereby was crucified to him, and he unto the world, Ga 6:14, as also, because circumcision, which the false teachers obliged to, and gloried in, and likewise uncircumcision, were of no avail in religious, spiritual, and eternal affairs, but a new creature, Ga 6:15, and this is what everyone ought to attend unto as the rule of his walk and conduct, since upon such shall be mercy and peace, as upon the Israel of God, Ga 6:16. And whereas the false apostles boasted of the flesh, and circumcision in it, the apostle opposes thereunto the marks of his sufferings for Christ, which he bore in his body; and therefore with great gravity and authority charges, that no man should give him any further trouble about what had been the subject matter of this epistle, Ga 6:17, and closes it with his usual salutation, expressing his affection for the Galatians, as his brethren, wishing the best of blessings for them, the grace of Christ, and that this might be in their hearts, and with their spirits, Ga 6:18.