Galatians 6:6-10 For the church to do good to all people, believers must die to their own agenda and traditions

Galatians 6:6-10 For the church to do good to all people, believers must die to their own agenda and traditions

The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Background

Paul translated the idea of sowing in the Spirit into a concrete lifestyle of doing good. One who walks in the Spirit will inevitably do good to all people. Believers must persevere in doing good, not according to the traditions and agenda of the church but according to Jesus. Paul encourages believers not to be disheartened when faced with injustice or when we are stretched to our limits. In due time, we will reap a harvest of a glorious legacy and rewards in heaven. Today’s devotion teaches us: For the church to do good to all people, believers must die to their own agenda and traditions.

Observation

The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.

Paul spoke of the duty of those who are taught to make provisions for their teachers. This is however not restricted to financial provisions alone but all good things. “One who teaches him” refers to one who is competently discharging his profession in a full time capacity. Apparently, the Galatian teachers had not been adequately compensated. Elsewhere in his letters, Paul asserted the right of those who preach and teach to claim financial support (see 1 Cor. 9:3-14; 1 Tim 5:18).

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

Paul called the Galatians to awake from their stupor, to emerge from the falsehood of the Judaizers: Do not be deceived! For God will not be taken in by their audacious and baseless presumptions. Certainly, one cannot sow to the flesh and expect to reap eternal life. For God is not mocked and His justice and righteousness will prevail. The justice of God demands a direct correlation between sowing and reaping. And the onus rests on the person to choose blessing or judgment, life or death. As illustrated in the diagram below, a man who indulges in the deeds of the flesh inevitably lands himself in hell. But a man who walks in the fruit of the Spirit will enter God’s kingdom.

For God does not reverse His laws nor can He be manipulated into doing something that goes against His will. God is not mocked by man’s attempts to conceal his motives and true intents. Or his efforts to circumvent the cause-and-effect relationships of justice to trick Him into bestowing blessings instead of judgment.

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

The sower sows either to the flesh or to the Spirit as though casting two entirely different kinds of seeds. And from these two different kinds of seeds he reaps a harvest that corresponds to the nature of the seeds: either corruption from the seed of the flesh or eternal life from the seed of the Spirit. This agricultural imagery teaches the inevitable consequences of one’s actions. One who sows the seeds of tares can never reap a harvest of wheat and vice versa.

There is also the element of perseverance from sowing to reaping. One who sows cannot expect to immediately reap whether eternal life or corruption. He who sows to the Spirit must persevere in working out his calling before reaping the harvest of eternal life in God’s kingdom. Similarly, he who sows in the flesh will not immediately be cast into everlasting destruction but will be given opportunity to turn back from sin. That said, one who is too far down the road of corruption even when he repents, will have to return to where he first started… And from there make his way towards God’s kingdom.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

“Doing good” includes everything the believer is responsible for keeping in step with the Spirit: restoring someone caught in a trespass, bearing the burdens of others, and sharing financially with one who teaches the word competently and in a full time capacity. Paul feared that the Galatians, having begun well were losing their zeal in doing good, and were regressing to legalistic, and self-serving religion.

In the same breath, Paul promises a favourable outcome for those who persevere in doing good. “For in due time we will reap” borrows from the agricultural imagery of sowing and reaping. It speaks of the inevitability of reaping a harvest for the persevering farmer. However, certain spiritual processes must be in place and milestones accomplished before the grain can mature. For it is impossible for a lazy farmer having sown seeds, and left his field without watering to reap to a bountiful harvest.

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Paul set this verse as a fitting conclusion for all that has been said in 5:13-6:10. Indeed, one who sows to the Spirit while looking to reap the harvest must persevere by way of doing good to all people. Indeed, this is in line with the universal character of Christ’s redemption for all people. If Christ’s redemption is universal, then the church should treat all peoples equally regardless of their ethnic, national and religious heritage.

That said, Paul places special concern for the welfare of fellow believers: the household of the faith. Jesus appealed to Christian corporate unity when He commanded his disciples to “love one another” (John 13:34-35). It is appropriate that family and church needs are met first, then those of the neighbours.

Truth

For the church to do good to all people, believers must die to their own agenda and traditions.

Good works done out of truth, love and divine authority cause people to actually encounter God and know Him. The church over the centuries has accumulated traditions and values that are considered good. But some of these traditions counter what Jesus stood for and they hinder the progress of God’s kingdom. By examining Jesus’s teachings and the traditions of the Jews of that day, we can better understand the shortcomings of our churches today. Let us examine the things that Jesus did in contrast to the Jews of that time:

Jesus employed His perfection not to exalt Himself, but to become the sacrificial Lamb, the Mediator between God and man (John 1:29). He did what is good by sacrificing His rights to life and be punished for the sins of others.

The Jews do all things to exalt themselves. They put on grandiose appearances and sat at places of importance and pray long prayers in the streets for all to see (see Matthew 23:5-7).

The church should not harbour the ambition of wanting to be known as big and spiritual. Within the church, members should not compete with one another to be seen as the greatest. Jesus said, “But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” Let us strive to be the greatest servant of all!”… To compete in being hospitable and to bear one another’s burdens.

Jesus used His authority as the Son of God not to oppress mankind, but to free them from bondages and curses to do God’s will. Jesus uses His authority to intervene in their circumstances and save them (see Luke 4:18). Thus, He did what is good by exercising His authority for the interests of others while putting aside His personal rights.

The Jews could not deliver people from their bondages. Instead they went about exposing people’s sins, persecuting those who did not conform to their law. They asserted their control over people by putting heavy burdens of the law on them (see Matthew 23:4).

The Church is accustomed to utilising their resources to expand their membership and enlarge their influence. Because the church did not possess divine power to deliver people from the bondage of sin, they resort to two strategies:

a. Keep preaching forgiveness, but not holiness. Because preaching about holiness will only make people feel uncomfortable. If you do not have the power to effectively deliver them from their bondages, why keep talking about issues of sin and bondages?!!!

b. Keep preaching about holiness until they get delivered.

The issue with the first approach: people become resigned to sin and have learned to co-exist with their bondages. The issue with second approach: people become guilt ridden and have learned to hide them while putting on an appearance of holiness. With the two approaches, the church is asserting a subtle kind of control to keep the people coming. To do good, the church must possess divine wisdom and authority to sanctify the flock.

Jesus taught the truth and did what was right even under the threat of death (see John 10:33). He did what is good by holding onto the truth despite oppositions

The Jews invited one another to speak messages devoid of the truth in order to glorify themselves (Mark 1:22). And they persecuted and killed those who spoke the truth (see 1 Thessalonians 2:15).

The church has watered down her teachings because people are unwilling to listen to the inconvenient truth. Hence, either they keep preaching about God’s love and forgiveness, or teach theology devoid of the truth for living. The crux of the issue is… People want to be saved but refuse to give up their vices and personal freedom. Churches in wanting to keep the crowds coming have learned to package their messages to make them palatable and “relevant”. They do not want to preach what Jesus has been preaching which turned away the crowds. Regrettably, the goal of the church is to grow the size of the congregation, not to prepare them to enter God’s kingdom. Therefore, the church must do good by preaching the truth so that the righteous may hear and repent.

Jesus ministered and lived among the poor, the sick and those considered as unclean (see Mark 2:17). He did what is good by giving all His possessions and even His own life to serve others (see Matthew 16:24-26).

The Jews prevented Jesus from healing the sick and forgiving the sins of the people (see Matthew 23:13, Luke 5:21). They focused on observing religious laws and rituals but disregarded the truth (see Matthew 23:23).

The church is unable to effectively heal the sick, break bondages or lift the poor out of poverty. This is because believers who are equipped to exercise divine wisdom and authority to heal, and forgive sins (break the bondage of sin) are few. It is commendable that some churches contribute resources to feed the poor, to rebuild their living conditions. However, what the people need most is not more toys for the children, medical aid or food, but the regeneration of their hearts. Jesus did not want to continue feeding the people, because He knew that is not the crux of the issue: They need the bread of life, not physical bread. Regrettably, the majority of churches do not possess divine enablement to do good as defined in Jesus’s mission (see Luke 4:18)… to deliver people from the bondage of worldliness and sin, to heal the sick and to break the curses of spiritual poverty.

Jesus did not trumpet His miracles and achievements in order to be noticed (see John 8:54). Jesus did what is good by glorifying God and not Himself

The Jews did all things to be noticed by men (see Matthew 23:5). They were filled with envy because of Jesus’s righteousness and authority (see Mark 15:10).

Churches and ministers compete for attention and resources. They do so by touting their vibrant worship services, and their captivating visions and messages. Ministers do everything they can to promote themselves using social media. The church must learn to let the people do the work of evangelism and refrain from trumpeting their own accomplishments. Jesus did not tout His supernatural exploits in the pretext of giving testimonies. Neither did He command His disciples to exalt Him… He commanded them to preach the gospel and be reconciled to the Father. Yet the people who were touched by Him freely testified about Him. John 4:28 records: The Samaritan woman left her water pot, and went into the city and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.”

Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors because they were open to know Him (see Mark 2:17). He did what is good by not judging them by their appearances and backgrounds.

The Jews judged men by their appearances. They judged another by their religious and moral background, and considered them as unclean and unworthy of salvation (see Mark 2:16).

It is human nature to judge another by his appearance. But Jesus never judge another by their religious affiliation, knowledge or even moral condition. He judges people by their propensity to listen to the truth and obey it. Believers must do good to accept people regardless of their background.

Jesus did not condemn sinners but extent His grace and forgiveness towards them (see Luke 7:48). He continued to do good by reaching out to them even though they are still struggling to break free from sin.

The Jews went about exposing people’s sins and oppressing them with the law (see John 8:3). They preach the devil’s gospel making their converts sons of hell (see Matthew 23:15).

The church sometimes becomes resigned to those who could not pull themselves out of sin. Barring those who refused to make the commitment to Jesus, we must continually examine our discipleship methods and ask God for wisdom. The gift of discernment is given to reveal if a certain individual has a genuine intention to follow Jesus. God will reveal the root cause of his/her bondage and give us authority to break its hold. The church can do good by becoming more effective in discipling the people.

Jesus is always using the authority of a Son to forgive sins and do supernatural works (see John 4:10, 11:25). He did what is good by encouraging His disciples to do what He did. All of them took the narrow path while signs and wonders followed them. And many were martyred in the same manner as Jesus was.

The Jews persecuted Jesus for forgiving sins and performing miracles (see John 5:16, Mark 2:5-7). Because the church of that time cannot accept that God’s authority can reside in a man. Later, they went on to persecute the disciples whom Jesus had entrusted with His authority to forgive sins (John 20:21-23). To forgive sins is to take away the curse of sin and sickness in the name of Jesus. The power to forgive sins (which is given to faithful believers) is rooted in Jesus’s work on the cross and His resurrection.

The church has fallen into the error of hindering believers to live and minister like Jesus did. Legalism, traditionalism and stupor have prevented the church from receiving new revelations of Christ so that believers may live out His virtues, wisdom and divine authority. The church will do good by encouraging believers to carry the cross and free them to emulate the risen Christ.

Application

  1. Do good to those who are faithful in teaching the word and who are taking key roles in serving the church. We can do good by equipping ourselves to share in their responsibilities thus alleviating their burdens.
  2. Do good by being sensitive to other’s needs. Do good by serving your family, church and the workplace. Do not demand to be served but rather to serve out of good will even though you may not be appreciated.
  3. Do good by exercising divine authority to heal and deliver others from sin, curses and perennial bondages.
  4. Do good by speaking the truth and doing what is right and just… even though it may result in persecution.
  5. Do good by giving financially to the needy and by reaching out to the aged and the lonely. Do good by investing time to heal and sanctify new believers towards abundant living.
  6. Do good by not making known your good works among men. God does not need you to advertise your personal exploits. Those who benefit from it will take it upon themselves to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  7. Do good by not vilifying other religions or to reject those who choose not to come to your church. But do good by praying for them so that the power of Jesus may convict them of the one true God.
  8. Do good by not giving up on those who could not pull themselves out of sin.
  9. Do good by encouraging another to do what Jesus did. It is through faith in Christ, that we can eventually do what Jesus did if we do not give up.

Dear Lord, sanctify me according to the virtues, wisdom and power of Jesus. Help me to persevere in doing good not according to the agenda and traditions of the church, but according to Jesus. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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