v1-10 - This chapter opens with an imperative that seems contradictory to the rest of the letter: that Christians who have been freed from the law (5:1) must fulfill the law of Christ (v2); and is definitely contradictory to the society we now live in - that you have an obligation to restore those who are caught in sin rather than just allowing them to redefine sin as normalcy. But remember what you read yesterday, that your prime directive is to obey the truth (5:7), and that truth is the "law of Christ." When you accept sinful behavior as normal, whether it's your sin or the sin of another, you contribute to lies which mocks God, which He will not tolerate (v7). It may seem like God is tolerating quite a bit of mocking these days, but just as the recently planted crops take time to grow before they're reaped, God patiently waits for the day when those who mock Him now will reap the destruction that they've sown (v8). This is why this passage concludes that you must do good to all people, but that your first priority is to do good to those in the Church (v10).
v11-18 - The purpose of this letter to the Galatians has been to warn them not to be co-opted by those seeking to make their faith a matter of externals, in their case that meant insisting Gentile converts be circumcised to join the 'club,' rather than focus on "the new creation (v15)," which is an internal transformation. It's only through this "rule" - internal renewal - that one can experience true "peace and mercy (v16)." Once you experience this internal renewal (which Paul calls the 'circumcision of the heart' in Romans 2:24), then you actually become "the Israel of God (v16)," that is, you are marked as one of God's covenant people.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Psalm 125 is only five verses long. It's a 'song of ascents,' which means it's a song Hebrews would sing as they journey up the hill to the temple in Jerusalem. Use this Psalm to prepare yourself even now for experiencing God's peace (Psalm 125:5) on Sunday.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: What does Paul says we fulfill by bearing one another’s burdens? (v2)
Do you agree or disagree with this statement: Today's culture crushes the opportunity for Christianity to prosper.
Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God can not be mocked (v8) and is gathering His people into His church.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Sow to please the Spirit (v8), crucify the world (v14) and follow the law and rule of Christ (v2, 16).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
MONDAY: First, let everyone carefully consider their sins and ungodliness, that they may hate their sins and humble themselves before God...
TUESDAY: Second, let everyone examine their heart to see whether they also believe the sure promise of God that all their sins are forgiven...
WEDNESDAY: Third, let everyone carefully examine their own conscience to see if they are fully determined to show true thankfulness to God in every area of life and to walk sincerely before His face...
THURSDAY: On the contrary, those who do not sincerely believe this testimony in their hearts eat and drink judgment upon themselves. These people who, without repentance, seek to “gratify the desires of the flesh,” have no part in the kingdom of Christ and should therefore abstain from coming to the Table of the Lord. As we've read together this week in Galatians, these “acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like (5:19-21).”