Paul concludes the book of Galatians with practical applications.
1:1-5: Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
How different this is from legalistic fellowships where people derive their sense of significance from measuring each other and comparing themselves with others. When we live by grace, we have no need for making such comparisons.
6:6-10: Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Ask the Witnesses what “sowing to the Spirit” means. Ask them to explain how that differs from what the Galatians were doing by trying make themselves righteous by following God’s law.
If we live by the flesh (all that we are apart from Christ), we will create dissension rather than fellowship and envy rather than love. If we live by the Spirit, we will do good to everyone—to our brothers and sisters in Christ and even to those who oppose us.
I like to have the Witnesses read the following verses out of the Watchtower translation, once again in order to avoid fruitless arguments over the shape of the instrument on which Christ died.
6:11-14: See with what large letters I have written you with my own hand. 12 All those who want to make a good impression in the flesh are the ones who try to compel you to get circumcised, doing so only to avoid being persecuted for the torture stake of the Christ. 13 For even those who are getting circumcised do not keep the law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may have cause for boasting about your flesh. 14 But may I never boast, except in the torture stake of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been put to death with regard to me and I with regard to the world. (NWT)
Because the Watchtower cannot understand why Christians would “cherish the old rugged cross”—seeing it as an instrument of shame and death—I recommend that you ask the Witnesses these questions, one at a time:
- What does Paul mean in verse 12 by “being persecuted for the torture stake?” (RNWT)
- Are you being persecuted for the torture stake? In what way?
- Why would Paul “boast… in the torture stake?” (verse 14, RNWT)
- Do you boast in the torture stake? Why or why not?
6:15-18: For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
Ask the Witnesses to summarize what they consider to be the main points of Galatians 6. When it is your turn, you can make the following points:
- Spiritual people try to restore wayward ones gently rather than condemning them
- When we live by grace, we have no need to compare ourselves with others
- Like Paul, true Christians are “persecuted for the torture stake”
- Like Paul, true Christians “boast… in the torture stake”