Notes on Galatians 6

Galatians 6  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 6
It has been said, and wisely too, that every truth has its countertruth. And I was thinking what our beloved brother said about dying with Christ, and wondered if it would give a false impression to some of our young ones here. As to our sins—the outcome of our evil nature—we can see how they have been dealt with in the cross. “He bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” As we sometimes sing—
“All thy sins were laid upon Him;
Jesus bore them on the tree:
God who knew all, laid them on Him,
And, believing, thou art free.”
So it is the Christian's privilege to have a purged conscience— “no more conscience of sins,” for the saint of God is privileged to know sin can never be imputed to him as guilt because of the blood of Christ.
As to our evil nature the word of God is clear, “we have died” (Romans 6:88Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (Romans 6:8)). The word is plain, “They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:2424And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24)). If He bare our sins in His own body on the tree, and they were all laid on Him, all they entailed has been borne.
But how about our nature? The young Christian is made to feel that he still has the flesh in him. Romans 8 shows us distinctly what God has done. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (vers. 3, 4). Further, Romans 6 tells us, “In that he died, he died unto sin once, but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (vers. 10, 11). Thus was the question of our evil nature settled, and God puts into our hand a mighty privilege, because of what Christ experienced on the cross, even the privilege of reckoning ourselves dead indeed unto sin.
This is exceedingly precious. In the New Testament we read of many precious things which God is doing in the saints, that ought to be exceedingly comforting to us. “The God of peace ... make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:2121Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:21)); and, again, Paul desires that God would “fulfill all the good pleasure of his will, and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you” (2 Thessalonians 2). There is never any failure on God's side. He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. There are unbounded stores in Christ, but we fail in using them.
In Philippians 2:1212Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12), we read, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling: for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” And do you not think that all of us should realize that God works in us much more than we work out?
But there is the provision. His sympathy is living and real. His priesthood and advocacy on high are to strengthen us in our weakness and preserve us from sinning; and we come to the throne of grace, not simply to ask, but to obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need. For how great are the hindrances here! What a snare the law was to the Galatians! It never helped them, or anyone else, in the matter of sanctification. It demanded, but never gave power to do. Yet how prone man is to turn to the law! What folly to make it a rule of life, instead of the blessed Christ of God!
“In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation (Galatians 6:1515For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Galatians 6:15)). Have we right thoughts of this new creation? We pass out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of the Son of His love, and we are a new creation in Christ. We have a new nature, and we are created unto good works. So it says, “as many as walk according to this rule.” What rule? That of the new creation-Christ. All distinctions disappear there. Christ is all, and in all. When He delivers up the kingdom at the end, God will be all in all. But now, in the new creation, Christ is all as an Object, and in all as Life.
In Romans 6 it is, “Sin shall not have dominion over you” —not “it shall not exist.” But in Galatians 5:1515But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. (Galatians 5:15) those who turn to the law for justification and sanctification were biting and devouring one another. They got no help from the law. It is the Spirit who is the power. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; so that ye may not do the things that ye would”, (ver. 17). The word translated “lust” is used in a bad, and in a good sense. It is the same word translated “desire” in Luke 22:1515And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: (Luke 22:15). If it is of the flesh, it is evil; if of the Spirit, it is good. There is a power in us stronger than the flesh. What a blessed privilege to have the Holy Spirit!
The Spirit belongs to those that are sons (Galatians 4:66And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:6)). The law was only for servants, not for sons. We are children by birth; sons by adoption. We have life in the Spirit, have been quick-ened by Him, have sealing and anointing. Redemption comes first, then the Spirit. In the case of the leper (Leviticus 14:25, 2825And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot: (Leviticus 14:25)
28And the priest shall put of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering: (Leviticus 14:28)
), as well as the priest (Leviticus 8:24, 3024And he brought Aaron's sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about. (Leviticus 8:24)
30And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons' garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him. (Leviticus 8:30)
), the oil followed the blood which was placed on the ear, the thumb, the toe. The ear now belongs to God—it is our responsibility to listen. The hand belongs to God—it was in bondage once; now it is in liberty, to do His will. And our foot! once we walked as children of disobedience; now let us walk in the Spirit. He has given us His Spirit in order that we may do so. Let us live then “not to ourselves, but to Him that died for us and rose again.” We can all see what the standard is, and though we fail miserably, let it, nevertheless, be our constant aim. As Herbert says,
“Whoso aimeth at the sky
Shoots higher far than he who aims a tree.”
The Lord will soon be here! He will “descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel and the trump of God"! No wonder it is called a “blessed hope"! Whatever the joys of our hearts towards Him, they are nothing to the desires of His heart towards us.
He will take every one of His own, but there will be an interval before He is manifested in glory. Then shall we be manifested with Him. In the interval between His coming for His own and His appearing in glory and we with Him, will be our manifestation before the judgment seat of Christ above. Everything connected with our whole moral being, our life and ways from our birth will be manifested there. We shall be in our glorified bodies; and we shall acquiesce in everything, whether approval or disapproval, for we shall see and judge all our past according to God. But for that manifestation we should never know what God's wonderful salvation is. But the distinction between the flesh and the Spirit will be shown there. We get as a sample what is said about Sarah in 1 Peter 3:66Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. (1 Peter 3:6). She called Abraham lord, and the Holy Spirit marks His approval of it. But she did so at a time when she was acting very wrongly—Genesis 18:1212Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? (Genesis 18:12). Thus we see how the precious is divided from the vile by the Spirit.
Revelation 19:7 could not possibly occur except as the outcome of our being manifested before the judgment seat. “His wife hath made herself ready.” You get past, present, and future in Ephesians 5:25-2725Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25‑27), which may be connected here. What did He do to get her? He went to the cross. The wrath was exhausted there, but the love remains unchanged. And so He washes, sanctifies, cleanses to the end He has in view—i.e., to present her to Himself a church glorious! Oh, what a joy He has got in store! And here, in Revelation 19, is the display. “To her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.”
If it was what we were in nature, we may well adopt the language of Isaiah 64, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"! “But thou hast wrought all our righteousness for us.”
You will have contributed your part, and mine; and all put together will be the proof that the work of the Holy Spirit was perfect. Thus will be found that wonderful marriage garment, and the world will “know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me” when He comes to be wondered at in all them that believed.