Wanting the Best for Each Other
1Brothers, 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. 2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5For each will have to bear his own load. 6Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8For 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. 9And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
As Paul begins to close out this letter, he brings strong suggestions for living in community with one another. No, that not quite right. The word “suggestion” isn’t strong enough. He just flat out tells us how to take care of each other and these words are well met. But, Paul refuses to replace Moses’ Law with yet another legal system. Those seeking a new law will not find it here. The Spirit’s fruit gives shape to the Christian life, which he shared just prior. Now he gives feet to those resident characteristics.
The Christian lifestyle is one of service to those around us. We love God first and foremost and because of that love, we desire what God desires – the best for our neighbors. That means we stand alongside of our brothers and sisters in joy and in sorrow. We share our resources, gifts, and energies with them. We think of others before we think of ourselves. The world would teach us to put ourselves first, but the Word teaches the opposite. We put others first, as Christ modeled for us. Paul brings practical expression to that idea with these closing thoughts. None of it is difficult. Sometimes we just don’t want to do it. Jesus died for that sin too.