Galatians 6:1-2. 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.
The law of Christ?
Um, haven’t we just spent almost two months showing how we are no longer under the law but under the Spirit? That the law stirs up the flesh? That law keeping can never make us righteous or good?
But the law of Christ is not that same law as the law of Moses- that law that exists outside of us and condemns us. The law of Christ IS the life of Christ that lives inside of us and frees us, declaring us not guilty.
The law of Christ is love. Not just a command to love, but a command to love that flows from the indwelling love that lives in you through Christ. This is the love that we appropriate by faith in the One who loves us and gave himself for us (Gal. 2:20). This is a law that we can finally obey, because it has already been obeyed for us, and it is growing inside of us as fruit of the Spirit.
When we live from the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit, we have already fulfilled the Mosaic Law. But that Law is no longer our imperative- Christ is. He is our ethic. Our standard. And his standard is even greater than Moses’ standard. It is a standard that requires us to love as Christ does. But it is also a standard that is empowered by a perfect love for us. So now living out Galatians 6:1-2 (the law of Christ) is just simple love. It is the opposite of 5:26- the empty provoking or envying that comes when we forget we are freely loved in Christ. So the law of Christ is never to be seen as a checklist. It is not a set of rules. It is a way of life. It is faith. It is waking up every morning and rather than asking “what do I do first to please God?” we ask “how can I trust God’s love and love others today?”
Paul tells us that now that we are in Christ and Christ is in us, the love that flows from these truths is that we will restore anyone caught in a transgression and bear one another’s burdens. Both of these describe a dire situation. A brother or sister being dominated by sin. We aren’t to go around nitpicking each other’s sins. But we are to look for those that are trapped and crushed by it.
Restoration and burden bearing is Christ. It is what he did on the cross for us. He carried the weight of sin that we could never carry. He restored our souls, freeing us from the bear trap of sin. And now we are being asked to fulfill this ministry in lives of each other. Galatians 6:1-2 is truly Jesus’ life being lived out by us, together, as a community.
It is only in community that we can live out the life of Christ. We are commanded to live in community in such a deep way so as to know the burdens of each other and know how to best bear those burdens for each other. It is in these acts of mutual serving that we will keep in step with the Spirit, and crucify the flesh. Not by trying hard to crucify the flesh, but by striving side by side with those who are carrying a weight that alone they could never bear.
“To live is Christ” is to bear burdens. To carry loads. To restore the one caught in an ongoing sin. It is only possible from the life of Christ. If you try to fulfill this ministry apart from grace, you will do it from pride or you will never do it at all because you won’t feel “spiritual enough.” Christ’s indwelling life allows you to love your brother or sister that is trapped and crushed, and to do it from love and humility- keep watch on yourself, lest you to be tempted.
Do you see the law of Christ (the law to love) as an inner dynamic in your life, or as an outside standard to live up to? How can the gospel’s truth make it an inner dynamic for you today? Are you living in community in a deep enough way so as to be bearing burdens and restoring others gently?