Summary: THE LAW OF CHRIST (GALATIANS 6:1-5)
THE LAW OF CHRIST (GALATIANS 6:1-5)
The Standard on Wednesday (1 Aug 2018) printed just in time an incredible and inconceivable story of a former auxiliary policeman Chan Kim-hung, 52, who spent almost half his life on the run, but has returned to Hong Kong to spend the next eight years in jail after pleading guilty to robbing and raping a nightclub hostess more than 20 years ago.
In 1994. Chan took a hostess to a hotel room, but instead of paying her Chan and his accomplice robbed the hostess of her purse, bank cards, her ID card and her Rolex watch. Chan was arrested but jumped bail and left the city. Yesterday (July 30, 2018) he pleaded guilty to rape, robbery and false imprisonment of a nightclub hostess. High Court deputy judge Andrew Bruce accepted that Chan has displayed remorse and admitted his crimes.
What happened in Thailand? Well, first he went to the mainland, and later hid in the Thailand-Myanmar border area where he later worked in a church and became a Christian. After spending all that time in Thailand just across its border with China, Chan had become a Christian and returned in January to give himself up. With the encouragement of a pastor and driven by his conscience, he returned to Hong Kong in January after 23 years of on the run.
Have you struggled, stumbled or even surrendered in your Christian life? Repenting of sin, reaffirming one’s faith and returning to God, how do you want others to treat you? In Galatians 5-6 Paull tells the believers in Galatia that Christian liberty does not mean license to sin, but to live a life of renewal by the Spirit and to live a life of responsibility for one another – the two safeguards of divine supply and mutual support. Liberty occurs the most times in Galatians (2:4, 5:1, 5:13 twice).
Is there a second chance in the church body and fellowship? What are its strengths and weaknesses and limits? How does it help and how does it handicap us?
Be Cautious, Not Cynical
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
When a brother committed a fault and the desert father Moses was invited to a meeting to discuss an appropriate penance, Moses refused to attend. When he was again called to the meeting, Moses took a leaking jug filled with water and carried it on his shoulder. When he arrived at the meeting place, the others asked why he was carrying the jug. He replied, "My sins run out behind me and I do not see them, but today I am coming to judge the errors of another." On hearing this, the assembled brothers forgave the erring monk.
Sin (v 1) is translated as trespasses (Matt 6:14), offences (Rom 4:25), fall (Rom 11:11), fault (Gal 6:10). It is more of a “fall” (paraptoma) than the regular word for “sin” (hamartia) - a trespass than a transgression, a wrong than a wicked deed, and it is singular.
Restore (v 1) means mend (Matt 4:21), perfect (Matt 21:16), fit (Rom 9:22), perfectly joined together (1 Cor 1:10), prepare (Heb 10:5) and frame (Heb 11:3). It means to repair, refit and right, not to rid, replace or ruin a person. Restore means is used to repair a dislocated limb, like a bone setter or damaged nets, as in Matthew 4:21. It is to mend, patch up, piece together, and right. It is an imperative, meaning an order not an obligation, an imperative more than an invitation, a demand rather than a debate. It is in the present tense not future, which means today and not tomorrow, now not next time, current and not coming soon.
Why? Because we are brothers (v 1) who lived by the Spirit. The spiritual (by the Spirit) are expected to do things in the spirit (Greek) of gentleness. It is meekness more than gentleness in Greek. Gentleness is what you do or how you treat others, meekness is who is you are. Meekness is strength under control. Someone defines meekness as “absolute power under perfect control.” Merriam-Webster defines meek as “enduring injury with patience and without resentment.” Dictionary.com says meek is “quiet, gentle, and not willing to argue or express your opinions in a forceful way.” It is to have a humble (meek) versus a helpful spirit (gentle).
“Tempted” is emphatic “not” plus subjunctive, with the force of an imperative. It means attempt (Acts 16:7) or try (Rev 3:10). It means to be swayed, swerved, shamed, not merely shaken. The irony is that we fall into the same trap of the trespasser. Watch (participle “how”) or skopeo in Greek, which means to take a hard look at yourself, preferably in the eyes or in the mirror. I suggest the temptation includes indifference or insensitivity, impunity and intolerance, and impatience or irritation.