1: Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2: Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3: For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4: But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5: For every man shall bear his own burden. 6: Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8: For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 11: Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. 12: As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13: For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14: But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16: And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 17: From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 18: Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
In this last chapter Paul brings his letter to the Galatians to an end by exhortations to good christian living. First he addresses those who are spiritual, he says if you know of a man who is about to slip and he is not aware of it, bring him back into the line. Set him right so that he can stand shoulder to shoulder with you. Be sure that you follow the leading of the Spirit exhibiting meekness and paying close attention to yourself because you know that you can also loose your footing and slip so easily into sin. Help him while remembering your own frailty. And so take the weight of the burdens which your brethren bear. Don’t look only to yourself. In this way you will be filling up a gap in the ranks and fulfilling the law of Christ. It is possible for a man to think more highly of himself than what is the true estimation of himself. If you do this then you are only deceiving yourself. Let everyone of you test himself to see what metal he is made of, because then you will have rejoicing in your heart in what God has done in you. Previously Paul had said bear one another’s burden but now he says every man must bear his own burden. This seems like a contradiction but it is not. Previously Paul had been giving encouragement to christian charity but now he is speaking of responsibility. The word burden in this verse is that of the cargo of a trading ship. Now the captain of this ship does not want anyone else to carry this burden because it is his responsibility alone and he will reap the benefit of carrying his cargo. Those who are taught in the word are to give money to those who teach them to support their ministry. Paul says do not be deceived into thinking that everything will be alright if you do nothing about these Judaisers. Because God will not be mocked by their heresy. Whatsoever a man sows that he will also reap. If you sow a teaching that feeds the flesh, then you will reap destruction and ruin, but if you sow teaching based on the life in the Spirit then you will reap a spiritual life that is permanent. Let us not grow weary or loose heart because in due season we will reap a good harvest of souls, if we do not give up. When the opportunity comes for us to sow then let us do good work, a true spiritual ministry, and especially to those who are believers. We have a little insight here into Paul’s unique form of writing. He seems to have written in large characters, this may have been due to his eyesight. He says you see how I write in large letters when I write with my own hand. Paul speaks of these Judaisers when he says, They make a great show in the exterior life in the flesh, in the unspiritual elements of life. They force you against your will to be circumcised and they do it so that they can avoid persecution as a result of the preaching of the crucifixion of the Messiah. Then he says that those who are circumcised do not keep the law, but they still want to have you circumcised so that they can glory in your apparent obedience to the law. These men were not demanding obedience to the Law out of devotion to God but out of devotion to their fleshly nature. Paul brings the true antidote to the teaching of the Judaisers, he says, God forbid that I should glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The thing that was the great obstacle for the Jews was the Cross. The Jews had crucified their Messiah (Of course they denied who he was) but Paul sees in the crucifixion of Christ the single great act of God for the redemption of men. This thing – The Cross, though feared by the nations and hated by the Jews was the means of Gods saving grace. In the cross, Paul says, I glory. The issue of this book has all been about the cross. Paul said at the beginning of this letter said, I am crucified with Christ. And he returns to this at the end. He says, through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ the world is crucified to me and I am crucified to the world. Because in Christ Jesus being circumcised or uncircumcised doesn’t mean anything. The only thing that means anything is being a new creation in Christ and that has only been realised through the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lastly Paul says, As many as are willing to live according to this principle may Gods peace and mercy rest on you and may Gods peace and mercy rest on the Israel of God. (There is no reason to suppose that Paul is referring to anyone but the Nation of Israel.) Pauls closing remarks are touching when he says, From now on let no man trouble me over these issues because I bear in my body the scars of my persecutions for Christ. The Apostle is a branded man, whose scars are a testimony to the truth of his Gospel.
PS The phrase ...Those that belong to Christ have put to death the old nature with its desires and passions, sounds like a one off experience actually its a continuous experience. It could read Those that belong to Christ continually put to death in the power of the Spirit the old nature with its desires and passions. This is a conscious act of faith every moment. moment by moment. In which the christian lives out the reality of the position he has in Christ. In Christ he is dead - crucified with Christ and he live out the truth of who he is in Christ - moment by moment. It goes without saying that this is real holiness. The Mosaic Law had nothing like this. There was no divine enablement under law and those who live under the law today will testify too that the law does nothing to bring the believer into conquering of sin but only the fear of the Lord.