Summary: What happens when you sin? Legalism tells us to look down on that brother because they "failed." But in Galatians, Paul gives us a new way to help those who have fallen.
We left off last week by comparing the acts of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. Though we all want the latter, we often act in the former. Finding freedom from legalism and the condemnation it brings doesn’t mean you immediately cease from sin. Our goal is still to be like Christ - and we have a long way to go. In the meantime we struggle - with sin and the flesh.
But the answer is not to just make up your mind to do better and fall right back into making yourself perfect by your own efforts - but it is to yield your mind, body, and soul to the Holy Spirit - and then help and work with each other.
Hebrews 3:12-13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Instead of giving up and getting hard hearted when we fail - we need to turn to one another for help.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
I don’t mean that we should all come up one by one and list off all of our sins in public - but God has made it so that others who have struggled like you, can help you let go of the flesh and hold on the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
In reality, as we saw in chapter 2, we are already dead with Christ on the cross. Further,
Romans 6:6-7 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin
So what do we do? How do we help our brothers and sisters without condemning them? That’s the subject of chapter 6 - our final study in the book of Galatians.
1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
"Caught in a sin" can mean two things: "to detect" or "to overtake." So either a believer gets busted for sin by someone else, or realizes that sin has taken them captive and is holding them.
"You who are spiritual" - those whose lives are guided by the Spirit of God. The mature believers who not caught up in legalism and by experience know how to help restore someone who has fallen.
To "restore" literally means to mend or repair. I think about a bicycle with a bent wheel. You try to go but the wheel keeps getting stuck on this crooked place. You bring it to a bicycle repair shop and they have the tools to rebend that wheel so it runs smoothly.
Our fleshly reaction to sin is condemnation. But God’s reaction is redemption - first through the blood of Jesus Christ which paid the penalty for sin, then restoration of the person. So how does this happen?
God’s discipline Hebrews 12:9-11 (to share in His holiness)
Way of Escape 1 Corinthians 10:13 (to withstand the temptations)
Confess 1 John 1:8-9 (and be purified)
Make level paths Hebrews 12:12 (watch where you go)
Live in the Spirit Galatians 5:16 (so not to gratify the flesh)
Capture the mind 2 Corinthians 10:5 (make it obey Christ)
Restore the Mind Romans 12:2 (through the Word)
Protect the Mind Philippians 4:7 (by prayer)
Resist the Enemy James 4:7 (and he will flee)
Battle the Enemy Ephesians 6:21ff (with GOD’S armor)
Suffer for God 1 Peter 4:1 (you are done with sin)
Love the Lord & 1 John 3:23 (love God, love others)
Serve His people
All this should be done "gently." No roughing up the fallen believer - no harsh judgments or condemnation. Those caught up in legalism will use this tactic - they might not be good enough to gain God’s favor, but they’ll make sure no one else is ahead of them (in case God grades on the curve).
And then there’s a warning - be careful when helping another overcome sin that you don’t get infected yourself!
1 Corinthians 10:11-13 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
He completes the thought in verse 2
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load.