Out of Grace: We Can Bear Each Other’s Burdens
Writer: Max Dequine
Big Idea: The work of the Spirit is not isolated to individuals. The fruits of the Spirit described in the previous chapter are not fully realized unless it is put it into practice as a community. We often get stuck thinking if we could only “try harder” we could make the world a better place, but Paul wraps up his letter to the Galatians, to operate out of the power that only comes from God’s Spirit. The power of God’s grace raises our capacity to genuinely love others.
Grace is the epitome of the Gospel message, but at the same time it can be one of the most perplexing aspects in our faith. Paul writes to the Galatians in chapter 6 recognizing that they have been struggling with the idea of grace amongst themselves. During this time, there was a growing number of Jewish converts intertwining with many of the Gentiles who now called themselves Christians. Coming from two entirely separate outlooks on faith, disunity began to erupt amongst the Galatians. Paul is quick to recognize this and immediately addresses this issue sternly in Galatians 6.
Key Passage(s): Galatians 6; Romans 12-13; 2 Corinthians 4
In chapter 6, Paul cautions against the idea of legalism and the lack of grace he has seen and heard about. Verse 3 rebukes the idea of self-righteousness, verse 8 offers correction, and verse 12 identifies the people and heart behind the conflict. The Jewish people held to their understanding of the law and began to implement this into their walk as Christians. This, of course, created distance and a struggle between people who were solely dependent on Christ for their salvation. Paul communicates that grace is not the equivalent of the Old Covenant Law, rather it brings salvation and allows us to do good onto all people.
As Christians, when we take on the grace found in Christ, it gives us the humility to accept His sacrifice for us. In this, we relinquish our control and the desire to control others. It allows believers to give up their own pain in a way that allows them to carry the burdens of one another. Through this, unity is established, and the Church is able to function as one body (Romans 12: 4). There will always be pressure to carry our own burdens and to judge the actions of believers around us, (Galatians 6:12) but Christ’s sacrifice gives us freedom from this. Grace promotes unity and establishes a foundation for love and support of each other.
I am a college student attending a Christian University. There have been countless times where either I, or someone I know, acted like the Galatians and taken it upon themselves to deal with sin. When this happens there is an immediate wedge between that individual and those who they are trying to get to change. No one likes to be told how to live, particularly in the realm of personal faith. However, when a believer knows they have sinned and another believer goes out of their way to show grace, the opposite effect is almost inevitable. Of course, there is still room for correction, but it is coming from a place in the heart that knows the power of both sin and grace. In my own personal experience, extending a hand of grace has always proved to be more constructive than to criticize.
Practically speaking, there are many ways we can live a life of grace and unity that Paul calls the Galatians to in chapter 6. This could be as simple of taking time to remember that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Or simply remembering why we are saved in the first place (Galatians 6:14-15). Coming to a place where we can truly have unity in the Spirit begins with understanding the miraculous gift of grace that has been given to us in Christ. Through His sacrifice we can bear each other’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
Read: Galatians 6
Throughout this series we want to create the space to hear each other’s story and testimony. Pick someone who would be willing to share tonight – if you need some help, consider these questions:
- When/how did you become aware of God’s love?
- Who were the people who played a key role in your spiritual journey? How?
- What are 2/3 key moments in your relationship with God?
- Take a moment to ask questions.
- What is grace? How does grace distinguish itself from mercy?
- Read Galatians 6:12-14. Give a current example of something similar to the act of circumcision. What is something that is often done out of obligation that does not always promote fellowship?
- What does it mean to take pride in ourselves alone? (vs. 4)
- Share a personal example of a time where showing grace in a specific situation resulted in a better outcome than if you had chosen other actions.
- Verse 2 talks about carrying each other’s burdens. What does it tangibly look like to carry someone else’s burden?
- Do verses 9 & 10 teach a faith through works alone? Why or why not?
Prayer: take a moment to share prayer requests and pray for each other.
Weekly Prayer Focus: Pray that we would not become weary of doing good but that we would be empowered by the Spirit to do good to all people.