Title: Judges 12. Jephthah, part 12: War with Ephraim - Love is unity and not a perfect condition - GAL 6:1-5.
Community or unity does not mean that everyone is always holy.
GAL 6:1 Brethren, even if a man is caught [caught up as in a net] in any trespass [paraptoma: false step or blunder], you who are spiritual, restore [repair] such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.
GAL 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.
Believers who have accepted falsehood will burden spiritual believers. They must bear this in love and give truth for correction in gentleness and patience.
Vv. 3-4 are for the spiritual restorers who are to be forgiving and operating in agape love.
GAL 6:3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
GAL 6:4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.
The word "examine" is dokimazo. We look to our own work in order to prove its purity according to God's standard. We are not to examine ourselves "in comparison" to stumbling brethren.
Here is the case of the self-deceived man of the previous verse, who boasts of his own superiority when he compares himself with the Christian brother who has fallen into sin.
Can we boast because our brother has fallen into sin when we haven't? If we do, we just fell into the mire of sin as well. This refers us back to the exhortation in verse 1: restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.
If the spiritual Christian sees the fruit of the Spirit in himself as he bears the burden of his fallen brother he will have reason to rejoice (boast - kauchema = glory in rejoicing).
The word translated boast (kauchema) means to glory in the sense of rejoicing. In other words, when we see the law of Christ active in our lives it should please us. Remember that the will of God is well pleasing. It is obviously not a self congratulation or a boasting in the world's manner.
GAL 6:5 For each one shall bear his own load.
Paul purposely draws a paradox to the mind of the believer in this clause. He even uses a different Greek word, translated here "load." However, the words are not different. They are close synonyms. The paradox is drawn so that a false doctrine doesn't rise up in our minds. When we find a truth, we have a tendency to apply it to all things, including things it doesn't apply to.
In other words, because we are called to bear the burdens of other believers it doesn't mean that we are no longer responsible for our own spiritual lives and our obligations to God and to others.
We still have to bear our own temptations while we pursue the spiritual life. While we assist other believers in love we know that the Christian life is not one in which crutches are made out of people. The fallen believers in Galatia are being assisted so that they will hopefully be restored to the life of grace, and when they are, their only foundation is Christ as it was in the beginning of their spiritual walk. We do not compare ourselves with other believers. We have been gifted with our own spiritual life and it is ours alone and we are responsible to live it. There is no one to blame if we don't. So, restoring another is helping them to restore to a condition of strength in the plan of God. Christians are not to become permanent crutches to other Christians and continue to remain weak, but the fact of this matter is that all believers have to start off weak, and if they grow strong they will sometimes fall back to that weakness. And for Christians who always desire a Christian as a crutch, they will eventually find themselves completely alone as a gift of the grace of God so that they will be forced to learn to depend upon God alone.
Community or unity does not mean that everyone is always holy.
Our community consists solely on what Christ has done for both of us, and that does not and cannot change, though at times, we do.
Quoting Bonhoeffer again: "I have community with others and will continue to have it only through Jesus Christ. The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more everything else will recede, and the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and His work become the one and only thing that is alive between us."
If Jesus is to become the only thing alive between us we might fear that we will lose our identity. Yet the opposite is true. We will truly find ourselves.
"He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it."
Therefore, life is more than the world states that it is; far more. It is more than financial success or social prominence. It is more than vacations and homes and cars. It is more than great physical or intellectual achievements. It is even more than physical health. Life is Christ. True life is love, truth, Spirit. True life is divine joy and peace. This is living.
We find ourselves because only in Him is life and that life is our light. Anything else is little more than just existence.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Losing your life for His sake is not martyrdom. The word for life is psuche, and refers to soul life over biological life. The Greek word translated lose is apollumi, which means to destroy or to kill. So we are to completely lose our own will and not just lay it aside for a time. We lose our own will and take upon ourselves His will and when we do, we will find ourselves.
We are of the same body. Christ has given us to one another. His love is the perfect bond of unity.
COL 3:12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
COL 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
A complaint would indicate carnality somewhere, either in the one with the complaint or the one who is causing the complaint. Paul doesn't get that specific because it is not the lack of sin that brings unity but forgiveness in love. We are to forgive "as the Lord forgave us," which is in agape love in laying down His life for us.
COL 3:14 And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
COL 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
COL 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
COL 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.