Burden-Bearers

Bible Book: Galatians  6 : 2
Subject: Burdens, Bearing; Judgment of Others; Forgiveness; Legalism; Pride
Introduction

In 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

This passage speaks of a particular need that occurs when 1 Cor. 10:12-13 is violated. The Lord “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.” (He won’t; but you will, or you did.)

Beginning with Gal. 6:2, Paul is referring to the sin of Gal. 6:1 and the great need for a “burden bearer.”

The theme of Galatians is legalism. The legalist is not interested in bearing burdens. Instead, he adds to the burdens of others. The Jerusalem Council.

Acts 15:10, “Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”
In Jesus’ day He spoke of the Pharisees’ sin. Matthew 23:4, “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”

The legalist is always harder on other people than he is on himself, but the Spirit-led burden bearer demands more of himself than he does of others that he might be able to help others. By the way, nothing reveals the wickedness of legalism better than the way the legalist treats those who have sinned.

There is a difference in aim and attitude when you contrast the spiritual burden bearer with the legalist. The aim of the spiritual would be to restore in love, while the legalist would exploit the brother. The attitude of the spiritual is an approach in meekness and love, while the legalist has an attitude of pride and condemnation. Instead of trying to restore the erring brother, the legalist will condemn him and then use the brother to make himself look good. The legalist rejoices when a brother falls, and often gives the matter wide publicity, because then he can boast about his own goodness and how much better his group is than the group to which the fallen brother belongs.

I. THE EXHORTATION CONCERNING BURDEN

"BEARERS" Verse 2

A. THE SPIRIT OF BURDEN BEARERS. 2a

“bear” – carrying with endurance; refers to heavy loads that are difficult to lift and carry; represents any difficulty or problem a person has trouble coping with. The reference suggests burdens that tempt a sinning believer to fall back into the trespass from which he has just been delivered.

“Truth” – a persistent, oppressing temptation is one of the heaviest burdens a Christian can have.

To be freed from a sin is not always to be freed from its temptation.

The spiritual burden bearer who truly loves his brother and sincerely wants to restore him to a walk by the Spirit will continue to spend time with him and make himself available for counsel and encouragement.

The brother who has been delivered from a trespass has an obligation to let his spiritual friends help him carry his burdens.

TRUTH – It is not spirituality but pride that makes a person want to “go it alone.”

James 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Bear – present imperative; keep on bearing. The same verb is used of Jesus bearing His cross (John 19:17). In reality the cross was ours, but He bore it as his own. It is in this spirit that we should bear the burdens of others.

B. THE STRENGTHENING OF BURDEN

"BEARERS" Verse 2b

“one another’s burdens” – a crushing load which one is unable to bear alone. This exhortation does not exempt the ones with the burdens from burden-bearing but means rather that stronger Christians should lend a hand in helping him from being destroyed by it.
2 Corinthians 8:13, “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened.”

The burdens here are a particular burden of fault (v.1)

Either a lapse in morals or faith. But the thought may be enlarged to include any crushing burden; economic need, responsibility, or grief.

In these, and other instances, Christians have been strengthened in their faith in and dedication to God when helped through life’s crises by fellow-believers.

C. THE SUBMISSION OF BURDEN-BEARERS. 2a

“so fulfill the law of Christ”

John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

The law of Christ is the law of love, which fulfills all the rest of God’s law. When we love Christ, we submit to Him and tend His sheep (care).
Galatians 5:14, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

It is living according to the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, not as an aid to salvation but as an expression of it.

GREAT TRUTH: God, Himself, is the believer’s ultimate source of strength, and on Him we are called to cast our burdens (Ps 55:22) and our cares (I Peter 5:7). But He often uses fellow believers as His agents to help carry the burdens of His children.

II. THE ADMONITION CONCERNING BURDEN - BEARERS. 3-4

A PRIDEFUL ATTITUDE. 3

A “holier than thou” attitude. If the one who is not guilty of a fault takes a prideful attitude that he is someone, when actually he is nothing, he deceives himself. “Deceive” – word for mind and the verb to lead astray.
Galatians 5:26, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Their desire is not to help a stumbling brother but to judge and condemn him.

“He got himself into this mess; let him get himself out.”

TRUTH: Conceit can coexist with outward morality, but it cannot coexist with spirituality.

The person who thinks he is something when he is nothing needs help in facing his own sin before he can be qualified to help anyone else out of a sin. In fact, conceit (pride) is the ultimate sin, first on the list of things God hates. Proverbs 6:16-19, “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”

“PROUD LOOK” – Haughty eyes.

B. A PERSONAL EXAMINATION. 4

Barclay – “Let every man test his own work, and then any ground of boasting that he has will be in regard to himself and not in comparison with others.”

Rather than comparing himself with others, a person should take inventory of himself. Human nature leads us to condemn sins in others that we condone in ourselves.

“examine” – prove to be genuine or false by testing. We should not use one standard for others and a different one for ourselves.

“rejoice in himself alone” – with respect for his own successes rather than with respect to the failures of another.

Moffatt – “Then he will have something to boast about on his own account, and not in comparison with his fellows.”

TRUTH: If anything after personal examination remains for boasting, it will be that which induces boasting in the Lord.

God does not grade on the curve but by His own absolute. He does not compare believers to each other but to His divine, perfect standard of righteousness.

III. THE DISTINCTION CONCERNING BURDENS TO BE BORN. 5-6

A. PERSONAL BURDEN-BEARING. 5

“burden” – a soldier’s pack; those burdens that a person can bear alone. Those we can bear alone we should not impose upon others. No one should seek to shift his pack onto another’s shoulders. Often used of the general obligations of life that a person is responsible to bear on his own. Can refer to his personal calling and ministry.

B. MUTUAL BURDEN-BEARING. 6

“share” – communicate; fellowship; contribute

As the teachers shared their spiritual wisdom, so those being taught should share their financial resources. This is mutual burden-bearing.

God, Himself, is the believer’s ultimate source of strength, but He often uses fellow believers as His agents to help carry the burdens of His children.

2 Corinthians 7:5-7, “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.”