Thursday in the Last Week of Ordinary Time

Galatians 5:25-6:5

Bearing with One Another—and Ourselves

As usual Paul ends this letter with some general exhortations to godly living.  The end of chapter five reminds us that those who claim to live in (have) the Spirit must walk in such a manner that their claim is apparent.  He cautions the Galatians not to become conceited, provoking one another and envying one another.  Instead they are to do the very opposite by bearing one another’s burdens.

And herein lies some wonderful teaching for the church, which if a church were to practice, would find the sweetest fellowship this side of heaven.  We must bear one another’s burdens.  We often think of this as having to do with sorrows such as death or serious health issues.  And certainly this is included; after all, we are commanded to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).  But I am intrigued that here Paul has in mind temptations.  In the first place, those “who are spiritual” (and I am thinking here of pastors and elders and some holy women in the church) must hold the individual members of the flock accountable.  This is not an option for any Bible-believing church.  It is the God-given task of those leaders in the local church who have been set aside for such service to…well, fulfill that service, and that service includes admonition.  In the second place, those chosen for this task much do so in utter humility.  This does not mean apologetically; we are never to apologize for what God’s word commands us to do.  But when admonishing one another, we approach one another with the utmost tenderness and with the goal of reconciliation through Scripture and prayer.  And why do we approach one another in such a way?  Because we too are sinners, tempted just like the one we seek to admonish. 

And in such a way, we bear one another’s burdens and our own—by carrying one another.  Hear Martin Luther: “Nothing so demonstrates the spiritual man as his treatment of someone else’s sin, when he plans how to set him free rather than how to deride him, and how to help him rather than how to revile him” (“Lectures on Galatians, 1519,” LW 27:388).  And this: This is what you must do: the virgin must place her wreath upon a prostitute, a virtuous wife must give her veil to an adulteress, and we must let everything we have become a covering for the sinners (Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther [1966], 310n73). This might be more sacramental than most evangelicals would allow, but not me.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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