Sow to the Spirit

Bible Study Notes for Galatians 6:6-18

Be Generous and Do Good

6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.

This is not saying that you should pay your pastors and teachers well.  The “good” is not physical things but in spiritual things. In that sense, the teacher already has the good things.  The encouragement here is to receive those good things, learn from the teacher. The teacher is not to keep the good things to himself.  The one being taught should not think he has all good things already. So, whereas the people are to bear the burdens of the weak (Gal 6:1-5), they are also, at the same time, to receive good things from the teacher, who is Paul and not the Judaizers.

The word “share” is a form of koinonia or a fellowship in the the common good things.  It is a fellowship in the Word. Paul speaks of his fellowship with the church in Galatia in the good Word of God.  The Judaizers want a common fellowship with the Galatians but the object of fellowship is in the circumcision.

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

The emphasis is that what one sows he will later get the same thing but more of it.  Plant a kernel of corn and you will get a couple ears of corn. You will never get something different that what you started with.

8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

The final harvest of the flesh-sower (5:19) is corruption (not the kingdom of God)

The final harvest of the spirit-sower (5:22) is eternal life (the kingdom of God)

9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Sowing for the Spirit is hard work with little thanks.  It is possible to grow discouraged and lose heart. Many start well but tire sooner or later, especially when exertion becomes hard.  It does not mean give in to evil. It means giving in to a lesser good. If we do not lose heart is conditional. How do we not lose heart?  It is in the promise of the final harvest. That harvest will happen. But it will happen later rather than sooner. So, let us not grow weary but continue to encourage one another.

10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

This is the final admonition.  The harvest season is not yet here.  However, the season for doing good in now and ongoing.  As we have opportunity to do good (5:22) let us do it. The focus is not on morality but morality as a fruit of faith.  So, charity can be “not good” in the eyes of God whenever it is without “faith”. And, the very same act of faith is “good” in the eyes of God whenever it is with “faith.”

And it is especially good when we take care of those within the church so that all their needs are met and sharing in the good things.

Glory Only in the Cross

11 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!

Bad eyes (on road to Damascus) or broken hand (6:17/stonings and beatings) or just a matter of emphasis?  It’s not that important.

12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

Why do the Judaizers make such a big thing of circumcision?  They want to avoid the anger of the Jews who reject Christ. They are afraid.  Yes, they believe, but they are also wanting to diminish the offense that is the nature of the Christian faith.

13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

This is beautiful.  The new creation (John 3) is the birth from above.  It is the birth God gives in water and Word. It is beauty hidden in the crucifixion and burdens of this life.

Blessing and a Plea

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.  17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.