christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

galatians 6 chiastic structure

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Read Galatians 6 at Bible Gateway.

Previous studies:
galatians 6:1-10, you who are spiritual 2013 apr 25
galatians 6:11-18, only a new creation 2013 apr 26

There are many smaller and larger, and overlapping chiastic structures, in Gal 5-6. We saw one of the them yesterday. This is another one:

Gal 5:16-6:8
1a) Gal 5:16-26, The lust of the flesh vs. the fruit of the Spirit;
1b) Gal 6:1, You who are spiritual restore in gentleness;
1c) Gal 6:2, Bear one another’s burdens;
1d) Gal 6:3, The man who is nothing deceives himself;
central axis) Gal 6:4a, But let each one examine his own work;
2d) Gal 6:4b, The man who is something has reason to rejoice;
2c) Gal 6:5, For each one shall bear his own load;
2b) Gal 6:6, Let the taught share good with the teacher;
2a) Gal 6:7-8, Sowing to the flesh vs. sowing to the Spirit.

I found it interesting that the boundaries of this structure are the flesh vs. the Spirit, with the emphasis on the actions or fruit of the flesh, sowing to the flesh, vs. sowing to the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, or the actions which are inspired by the Spirit. The central axis, or the central point of the entire passage, is, Let each one examine his own work.

What is Paul saying? He has spent five chapters criticizing works – obedience to the Law of God – as a means of salvation or justification before God. Now he is balancing his message by saying, examine your works. What is the fruit that is coming out of your life? Is it the fruit of the flesh or of the Spirit? Look at your works.

Don’t be deceived into thinking, in other words, that because someone believes the right doctrine, or attends the right church, all is fine, because God is not deceived. The fruit or works that come out of a person’s life reveal whether they are walking by the flesh or by the Spirit. The fruit of the life reveals whether someone has truly received Christ or not, for those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Those who are truly Christ’s bear fruit that befits repentance, that reveals that true repentance or turning away from sin has taken place, and is not merely lip service.

This is the value of the Law of God, the Torah. It serves as our plumb line, in a crooked and perverse generation, of that fruit that is of the flesh or of the Spirit. It defines what is righteousness and sin, what true love looks like. What if someone examines their works, comparing them with the Law of Love, with the fruit of the Spirit, and becomes convicted by what they see? Repent! Receive forgiveness and salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, and ask for the Spirit of God to fill you and help you to walk in the Spirit. God answers such prayers offered in true sincerity. ♥


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