Lessons from
The Book of Galatians
James J. Barker

Lesson 16

Text: GALATIANS 6:1-5


  1. We saw in Galatians 5 a contrast between walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh (5:16-26).
  2. This theme continues into chapter 6.  They that are spiritual are instructed to restore a fallen brother (6:1).
  3. Spiritual Christians are to bear "one another's burdens" (6:2).
  4. Spiritual Christians are to be humble (6:3).
  5. These are the marks of genuine godliness and holiness.
  6. Galatians 6:1 refers to this as "the spirit of meekness" (cf. 5:23).
  7. Most of the sixth chapter of Galatians is composed of exhortation.  Lord willing we will consider the first five verses tonight because next week I would like to spend much time on verses 6 and following.



  1. Galatians 6:1 says, "Ye which are spiritual" are to restore those who have fallen into sin.
  2. The theme of the epistle to the Galatians is salvation by God's grace, apart from the law.
  3. The law could seem stern and harsh, but grace is never stern and harsh.
  4. In John 8 we read of the woman caught in adultery.  The scribes and Pharisees brought her to Jesus and said, "Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?" (John 8:5).
  5. Under the Mosaic Law, the death penalty was not only enforced for crimes such as adultery and murder, but for many other crimes as well -- witchcraft, homosexuality, rebelling against parents, doing work on the sabbath, etc.
  6. The emphasis in the law is judgment and punishment. The emphasis under grace is forgiveness and restoration.
  7. Galatians 6:1 refers to a man being "overtaken in a fault."  The word "overtaken" means he was not looking for sin but was "overtaken" unexpectedly.  This suggests he was defeated in a moment of weakness, the result of carelessness and prayerlessness.
  8. This restoration must be done "in the spirit of meekness" (6:1).  "Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" reminds us of  I Corinthians 10:12.
  9. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
  10. God has provided a "way to escape" temptation and sin (I Cor. 10:13), but oftentimes we are careless.  Therefore we must be eager to restore a fallen brother "in the spirit of meekness" (6:1).
  11. The word "restore" (6:1) literally means to "mend."  The same Greek word translated "restore" here in Galatians 6:1 is translated "mending" in Matthew 4:21, where we read that our Lord saw James and his brother John, in a ship with Zebedee their father, "mending their nets."
  12. Strong's Concordance says the word means, "to put in order, arrange, adjust, prepare, to strengthen, perfect, complete, make one what he ought to be."
  13. It means to restore just like a doctor restores a broken bone.  The sinning brother is like a broken bone in the body of Christ.  He needs to be restored carefully.
  14. Dr. MR DeHaan had a young couple come before his church because they fell into sin.  One deacon was very harsh with them.  Later on Dr. DeHaan found out the deacon himself was "chasing his pet sin with all his vigor."
  15. This is why the apostle Paul says, "ye which are spiritual" (6:1).  Not all Christians are spiritual.   Unfortunately, even some church leaders are not spiritual, but are carnal.
  16. Albert Barnes says, "The apostle does not say in what manner this is to be done; but it is usually to be done, doubtless, by affectionate admonition, by faithful instruction, and by prayer. Discipline or punishment should not be resorted to until the other methods are tried in vain (Matthew 18:15-17)."



  1. We are to bear one another's burdens, "and so fulfil the law of Christ" (6:2).
  2. As New Testament Christians, we are governed by "the law of Christ" (6:2).   The law of Christ is different from the law of Moses (cf. 5:14).
  3. Our Lord said in John 13:34, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."
  4. James calls this "the royal law," and says in James 2:8, "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well."
  5. James 1:25 refers to "the perfect law of liberty."
  6. Romans 8:2 says, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
  7. The law of Christ would include all His commandments.   For example, our Lord said in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
  8. The law of Christ is the law of love (cf. Gal. 5:14), and love seeks to help others in their distress and share the load with them (Gal. 6:2).
  9. Unfortunately, some Christians are selfish (carnal -- cf. 5:16), and they never seek ways to help others.
  10. Unfortunately, some Christians are proud and have a self-righteous attitude (Gal. 6:3).
  11. Rather than looking at the failures and shortcomings of others, we should look at our "own work" (6:4).



  1. Verse 4 says, "But let every man prove..." This means to try or to examine in a proper manner. Barnes says, "Let him form a proper estimate of what is due to himself, according to his real character. Let him compare himself with the word of God, and the infallible rule which he has given, and by which we are to be judged in the last great day."
  2. Strong's Concordance says the word "prove" means "to scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals."
  3. Romans 12:3 says, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
  4. The Christian should form a fair and impartial estimate of "his own work" (Gal. 6:4).  "And then shall he have rejoicing." That is, he will be appropriately rewarded, in this life, and at the judgment seat of Christ.
  5. On the other hand, the man who forms an improper estimate of his own character will surely be disappointed.
  6. Verse 5 says, "For every man shall bear his own burden."  In the context, this means that every man shall have his proper reward. Verses 4 and 5 refer to the judgment seat of Christ, the time when believers will be rewarded.
  7. Revelation 22:12 says, "And, behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
  8. Romans 14:10 says, "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
  9. Second Corinthians 5:10 says, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (cf.  I Corinthians 3:12-15).
  10. Many believers will lose their reward at the judgment seat of Christ (cf. I John 2:28; II John 8).
  11. There is coming this judgment, this day of testing.  That is why Galatians 6:5 says, "For every man shall bear his own burden."
  12. The two words for burden (Gal. 6:2, 5) are different. The burden of verse 2 means a heavy weight; and the word in verse 5 means a light burden.
  13. For example, the same word was used by our Lord in Matthew 11:30 when He said, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
  14. Therefore there is no contradiction between Galatian 6 verses 2 and 5.   These are two different kinds of burdens.  Verse 2 speaks of our responsibility down here to help one another.
  15. Verse 5 speaks of heaven, when we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.



Referring to our text, Barnes says, "The design of this passage is to prevent men from forming an improper estimate of themselves, and of the opinions of others. Let a man feel that he is soon to stand at the judgment-seat, and it will do much to keep him from an improper estimate of his own importance; let him feel that he must give an account to God, and that his great interests are to be determined by the estimate which God will affix to his character, and it will teach him that the opinion of the world is of little value. This will restrain his vanity and ambition. This will show him that the great business of life is to secure the favour of God, and to be prepared to give up his account; and there is no way so effectual of checking ambition, and subduing vanity and the love of applause, as to feel that we are soon to stand at the awful bar of God."

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