SUMMARY.--Restoring the Stumbling. Humility Commended. The Law. Reaping and Sowing. Paul's Superscription. Glorying in the Cross. The Mark of Jesus Christ.
1, 2. If a man be overtaken in a fault. Not gone into sin as a result of sinful premeditation, but surprised by it. Those intending well are sometimes caught unawares. Ye which are spiritual. Who have continued to walk in the Spirit. Restore such an one. Instead of judging severely and seeking to cut them off, seek lovingly to lead them back from their error. Considering thyself. We ourselves may be caught by temptation and sin. Let us bear in mind that we are not infallible, and judge others gently. 2. Bear ye one another's burdens. Help each other, sustain each other; if you see one about to stumble under his burden, hold him up. So fulfill the law of Christ. The law of love. See John 13:34.
3-6. If a man think, etc. If he thinks he is strong, needs no help, will never need sympathy, etc., he deceiveth himself. 4. But let every man prove his own work. Instead of commenting upon the weaknesses of others, let him test his own work. If his work stands the test, there he can rejoice in it alone, not because he is superior to another. 5. For every man shall bear his own burden. This seems at first to conflict with verse 2. The meaning of verse 2 is "Bear ye one another's burden of trial and suffering;" of verse 5, "Every one must bear his own burden of responsibility." The first is aiding to bear the burden of another's infirmities; the second is the burden of our account before God. The Greek had two different words for "burden" in the two verses. It is unfortunate that the Versions do not represent the difference by two words in the English. 6. Let him that is taught. Let those who are taught by the preachers and teachers sustain those who instruct them.
7-10. Be not deceived. Men often are. They do fancy that God may be mocked. The immutable law of the spiritual kingdom shows that he is not. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. A law not only of the vegetable world, but of our bodies and spirits. Habit is only an illustration of this law. The delirium tremens on the one hand, and the purity of the aged saint on the other are due to the action of this law. 8. Soweth to his flesh. He who thus sows will reap a crop of fleshly lusts and ills. His carnal indulgence will end in moral ruin. Soweth to the Spirit. He shall reap spiritually, and as a final harvest the spiritual life beyond, the life everlasting. 9. Let us not be weary in well doing. In sowing to the Spirit. Because, if we hold out faithful, and faint not, we are sure to reap in due season. 10. As we have therefore opportunity. Doing good is well doing, i. e., sowing to the Spirit. The Christian rule is to do good, but above all others to love, cherish and help the brethren.
11-14. Ye see how large a letter. Rather as in the Revision. Paul used an amanuensis in letter writing, but the superscriptions were written in his own hand to show the genuineness of his epistles. See Rom. 16:22, and Col. 4:18. Some have supposed that his "thorn in the flesh" was a weakness of the eyes which rendered it difficult for him to write. 12. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh. To comply with the worldly demands. They desire to have you circumcised, because, if you are not, and they fellowship you, the Jews will persecute them. 13. For neither they themselves. They do not keep the law in all its details, but want to bring you under it that they may boast of their Gentile proselytes. Glory in your flesh. Glory because circumcision has made marks in your flesh. 14. But God forbid. Not only will he not glory in what does away with the cross (5:11), but God forbid that he should glory in anything but the cross. By whom. By this cross he also is crucified, so crucified that he is dead to the world. It is separated from him.
15-18. In Christ Jesus. See note on 5:6. Circumcision in itself is a matter of indifference. To be a new creature, neither Jew nor Gentile, but a child of God is essential. 16. This rule. The one just named in verse 15. A benediction is pronounced upon all such. And upon the Israel of God. Rather, Even upon, etc. The Greek word often means even, and does here, as the Israel of God does not differ from those who follow "this rule." 17. From henceforth let no man trouble me. Dispute my apostolic authority. I bear in my body the marks, etc. He bore on his body too many evidence of what he had suffered for Christ. As slaves were often branded by their master's name, so he had the brand of Christ upon him in his scars. Compare 2 Cor. 11:24, 25. 18. Brethren. This is his parting benediction. It rests not upon the flesh against which he had warned them, but upon the highest part of their being, the spirit.