2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load (Galatians 6:2–5, NKJV).
The mature Christian is encouraged to restore a fellow Christian ensnared by sin (Gal. 6:1). A spirit of gentleness directs this act of love and fulfills the will of Christ (Eph. 4:2). The apostle elaborates by immediately turning our attention to ourselves, not the sinning Christian (verses 3-5). (1) Prideful conceit prevents bearing another’s problems (Gal. 6:3). When a Christian sins, it is a time for us to rally to help that soul, not point a finger in shame. Remembering our frailties and failures helps us remain humble and avoid deceiving ourselves. (2) Personal examination equips us to humbly help bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:4). There should not rejoice when sin overtakes a soul. Comforting ourselves in someone else’s sin by self-righteously assuring ourselves we are not like them ensures our spiritual demise (Luke 18:9-12). We should examine ourselves and not try to justify ourselves on the back of another’s sin (2 Cor. 13:5). (3) Each Christian has their load to bear (Gal. 6:5). Each person is responsible for himself before God (2 Cor. 5:10). When someone falters, it does not mean we have met our obligation to the Lord. When we address our spiritual condition, we can help others with the impediments and sin that so easily ensnares us (Matt. 7:3-5; Heb. 12:1).
1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. 3 I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know (John 14:1–4, NKJV).”
Jesus encouraged His apostles at a moment when He could have crumbled under discouraging anxiety and fearful anticipation of the cross. His apostles had quarreled (again) over who was the greatest among them (Luke 22:24). Judas’ betrayal was in motion (John 13:26-30). Jesus had just addressed His apostles’ imminent scattering and Peter’s denial (Mark 14:27; John 13:36-38). Now, amazingly, we see Him consoling them. Meditate with me on Christ’s exhortations to them. (1) Jesus gives calming assurance (v. 1). Faith in Christ and His word strengthens us in every trial and turmoil of life. Patient faith in Jesus replaces anxious care (Phil. 4:6-8). (2) Jesus gives comforting promises (v. 2-3). Christ promises a heavenly dwelling place to all who trust and follow Him. Soon He would go into heaven itself as our great High Priest to present Himself as the offering for the sins of the world (Heb. 2:17; 4:14; 9:26; 10:10-14). Hallelujah, what a Savior! (3) Jesus gives confident knowledge (v. 4). We know where Jesus went (heaven, now exalted at God’s right hand, Acts 2:32-36). We know the way to the Father is only through Him (John 14:5-6). Pondering these tremendous spiritual blessings persuades us to endure in faith through the storms of life, trust our Savior’s promise of eternal rest, and secure our hope in the knowledge of the gospel of the Son of God.
13 The lazy man says, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!” 14 As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed. 15 The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly (Proverbs 26:13–16, NKJV).
Diligence is a hallmark of faith (Rom. 12:11; Heb. 4:11; 6:11; 2 Pet. 1:5, 10). Laziness fails to see daily opportunities to serve God, our families, brethren, and neighbors. Laziness serves the desires of Satan, not God. Solomon’s wisdom teaches us to be diligent in every part of our lives as it identifies the indicators and dangers of idleness. (1) The lazy person always has an excuse for not meeting his responsibilities (v. 13). Real or imagined dangers and difficulties content the lazy to remain so (Prov. 22:13; 20:4). God will use us to accomplish His work when we diligently seek and do His will (Matt. 19:26; Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 11:6). (2) The lazy person fails to use his time wisely (v. 14). He sleeps when it is time to work (John 9:4). As a result, he is unprepared to successfully meet life’s challenges (Prov. 6:6-9; 19:15). We must redeem our time wisely (Eph. 5:15-16). (3) The lazy person does not want to work (v. 15). The answer to his problem is staring him in the face, yet he is unwilling to work (Prov. 19:24). There is no reward in life or eternity for the apathetic and negligent soul (Prov. 12:27; 13:4; Eccl. 5:18-20). (4) The lazy person comforts himself with his pride (v. 16). He is self-deceived, lacking the perception needed to change his condition (Prov. 16:18). Let us be diligent in things temporal and eternal. Otherwise, “the desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor” (Prov. 21:25).
9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned (Titus 3:9–11, NKJV).
We need spiritual discernment to successfully identify and avoid foolish disputes, contentions, and strivings (v. 9; 1 Cor. 2:15; Phil. 1:9-10). Not every disagreement is about contending for the faith. Some are only about competing and maintaining one’s pride and position. Such are “unprofitable and useless” and fail to strengthen and stabilize souls. Striving over them causes “the ruin of the hearers” (2 Tim. 2:14; 1 Tim. 1:3-7). The divisive person is factious, choosing to disrupt unity instead of encouraging unity in Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 1:10-12). Sadly, this person rarely sees himself as “divisive” (Titus 3:10). So, we must have clear eyes to see the damage caused by the factious. They are perverted in faith and condemned by their divisive behavior (v. 11). Factiousness refuses the authority of Christ for self-defined constraints (binding where the Lord does not bind) or unscriptural allowances (loosing where the Lord binds). The factious press their distortions of truth through “selfish ambitions, dissensions, (and) heresies” (Gal. 5:20). Failure to identify and reject the factious person will infect and destroy a congregation. Therefore, if the factious refuse to repent, they must be marked and turned away from, not shielded and coddled in their sin (Rom. 16:17-18). Paul commanded Titus to reject them after a first and second warning (v. 10). We must do the same.
35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. 37 When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” 39 And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons (Mark 1:35–39, NKJV).
There were great demands on Jesus’s time. He came to the world to preach “the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:38, 14-15). People gathered around Jesus to hear His teachings and be healed (Luke 5:15). His apostles needed personal training before going into the world to preach the gospel, so He taught them privately (Luke 9:10). Religious opponents pressed against Him to undermine Him and His work (Luke 11:53-54). He saw long days and short nights. Yet, Jesus took personal time for prayer and meditation (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; Matt. 14:13). He managed His time effectively, even when everyone was looking for Him. He set and kept priorities for how He used His time (in Mark 1:38, Jesus chose to go to “the next towns” to preach even as people searched for Him in Capernaum, Mark 1:21-34). We all have demands on our time as parents, children, employers, employees, etc. Like Jesus, remember your faith priorities each day without distraction. Take time to pray, read God’s word, meditate, and serve others (1 Tim. 4:13, 15). “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… (Matt. 6:33).” Redeem your time with wisdom and faith (Eph. 5:15-17).
36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 37 “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:36–39, NKJV).
The Hebrew Christians faced persecution for their faith (Heb. 10:32-34). These pressures and fears tempted some to drift back into the shadows of the first covenant, presumably, to avoid persecution (cf. Gal. 6:12). But such neglect and even willful rejection of Christ exposed them to God’s vengeance (Heb. 2:1-3; 10:26-31). God delivers His people from sin’s punishment of sin by faith (Heb. 10:37-38; Hab. 2:3-4). So, these Christians were encouraged to endure the present trials of faith and not shrink back to destruction (Heb. 10:39). Endurance is accomplished by doing the will of God and therefore receiving God’s promise of eternal life (Heb. 10:36). So, they needed to continue to be faithful through their present trials of faith. “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). Again, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). May we also hear and heed the inspired exhortation given to the Hebrew saints: “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward (Heb. 10:35).”
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place (Acts 2:1, NKJV).
The second chapter of Acts records a transformative moment, a pivotal point in the Scriptures. The Day of Pentecost was also known as the Feast of Weeks (Num. 28:26; Deut. 16:10), the Feast of Harvest (Exod. 23:16), and the day of the first fruits (Num. 28:26). This Pentecost would be a day of harvesting souls, the first fruits of the gospel. Many “first” things happened that day. (1) It was the first day of the week (Lev. 23:15-16). The first day of each week continues to call saints to assembled worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Heb. 10:25). (2) The apostles preached the first gospel sermon opening the way to salvation. They used the keys of the kingdom, opening the door to salvation for sinners (Matt. 16:19; 18:18; Acts 2:40). (3) Sinners heard the plan of salvation for the first time. The apostles told those who believed the gospel to repent and be baptized to be forgiven of their sins (Acts 2:36-38). (4) The first gospel conversions took place. About three thousand did so and were saved (Acts 2:40-41). Christ still saves souls this way. (5) The first church came into existence that day. The church of Christ came into being. The Jerusalem church increased daily as the Lord added saved ones to His church (Acts 2:47). After Pentecost, Acts 2 records the first kingdom worship of the church (Acts 2:42) and the first acts of church benevolence (Acts 2:44-45). Acts 2 records the fulfillment of kingdom prophecies from Psalm 2, Isaiah 2, Joel 2, Daniel 2, and many more. Acts 2 has been called the hub of the Bible. Indeed.
26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries (Hebrews 10:26–27, NKJV).
That which is done willfully is deliberate, with intention. So, willful sin is voluntarily, intentionally violating, or omitting God’s will. Today’s passage warns Christians of deliberate sin. Instead, we should draw near to God’s throne for mercy by repenting and confessing our sin (Heb. 10:22; 4:15-16; 1 John 1:9-2:2). The remedial work for our sins is complete (v. 26). The death of Jesus occurred once “to put away sin” (Heb. 9:26). He offered up Himself to God as “one sacrifice for sins forever,” and by it saves “to the uttermost those who come to God through Him” (Heb. 10:12, 14; 7:25, 27). Christians know this truth and have been enlightened by the gospel, tasted the heavenly gift of salvation, and partaken of the Holy Spirit (Heb. 10:26; 6:4). The Christian who sins willfully abandons the confession of hope that secures our heavenly mercy (Heb. 10:23; 6:19-20). The only expectation one has while willfully sinning is the dreadful condemnation of divine wrath justly applied (v. 27; Rom. 2:1-11; 2 Cor. 5:10). The willful sinner is worthy of God’s jealous and fiery indignation because he has “trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29). Gracefully, God will forgive willful sin when one repents. So may we be persuaded to faithfully endure unto eternal salvation instead of willfully falling away into sin because “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” we are (Heb. 10:31, 36, 39).
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does (James 1:23–25, NKJV).
Jesus repeatedly taught people to listen to His teaching with “ears to hear” (Matt. 13:9; Luke 14:35). Some had ears that could not hear (accept) His word because their hearts were dull and hard (Matt. 13:14-15). “Ears to hear” reminds us that faith is produced by hearing (receiving) God’s word (Rom. 10:17). Since Jesus also said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments,” we conclude hearing (accepting) His word compels us to obey His word (John 14:15). James picks up the theme of hearing and obeying God’s word to identify the saved, those favored by God, and practice pure, undefiled religion (James 1:21-22, 25-27). We deceive ourselves if we think God is pleased with us only hearing His word but not doing His word (James 1:22, 26). This deception keeps people lost in their sins (much like the man who ignores his reflection in a mirror). James equates being a doer of the word with being a doer of the work of the perfect law of liberty, the gospel (James 1:23, 25). Therefore, we must implant God’s word in our hearts, deeply rooted by putting away all wickedness and meekly obeying the Lord (James 1:21). Doers of the word (work) obey in faith and are fortunate, blessed by God with salvation in Christ (James 1:25, 21).
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:2–3, NKJV)
Christ’s apostle boldly described those who perverted the gospel (i.e., false brethren) by demanding Gentiles keep the law of Moses to be saved; They were false brethren (Acts 15:5; Gal. 2:4-5; 5:4). For emphasis, Paul gave one warning three times. (1) Beware of dogs (v. 2). Feral dogs lived in packs, scavenging for food (Ps. 59:6; 1 Kings 14:11). We must be alert against false teachers who attack and consume souls (Gal. 1:6-10; Jude 4). (2) Beware of evil workers (v. 2). Their works are wicked; Do not give them quarter (Ps. 119:115; Phil. 2:18-19). (3) Beware of the mutilation (v. 2). The doctrine of binding circumcision for salvation did nothing to remove sin because it was only a physical incision. By contrast, Christians (whether Jews or Gentiles) are “the circumcision” (the covenant people of God, whose hearts are circumcised, Rom. 2:28-29; Col. 2:11-13). Next, Paul gave three counterbalancing descriptions of Christians. (1) Christians worship God in the Spirit (v. 3). The word “worship” denotes service to God. We serve God according to the truth that the Spirit revealed, not by the error of the “dogs” (Gal. 3:1-3; 5:5-6). (2) Christians rejoice in Christ Jesus (v. 3). We have joy in Christ and do not take pleasure in evil things (Phil. 3:1; 4:4; Rom. 12:15). (3) Christians have no confidence in the flesh (v. 3). Our salvation in Christ does not depend on physical pedigree, performance, and promotion. Paul refused to trust in such things (Phil. 3:4-7). Brethren, be alert to error and those who teach it. Serve God with the confidence of the truth of the gospel.