6:6-12–The Believers and the Judaizers


“Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”

         Believers should be zealous of good works (Titus 2:14); they should maintain these good works; they have been “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that (they) should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10. To put it simply, works are marks of spirituality.
         Some Bible expositors see in this verse 6 instruction concerning Christian giving; that is, that those who are taught have the responsibility to support those who are doing the teaching.  This is not to be understood as a contradiction of verse 5–“For every man shall bear his own burden.”  On the contrary, this is just an explanation of the rule that Paul lays down in I Tim. 5:18–“that the laborer is worthy of his hire.  A minister of the Word should be supported by those whom he teaches if he is giving full time to the work.  The preacher who zealously labors for our good in spirit well deserves to partake of our temporal support. 

         “Let him that is taught in the Word”
         Literally:  “Let the {one} being taught the Word”

         Know this one important point:  a spiritual Christian is one that “is taught in the Word.”  Also know that the “Word” refers to the Scriptures II Tim. 4:2; Heb. 4:12).  This spiritual one is constantly being taught, and in the process of being taught, he will recognize that there are always others who know more about the written Word that he knows.
         This Greek word (katêcheô) that is rendered as “taught” is the root for our English word catechism. Also know that this catechism was formal and precise instruction, and such catechism type of instruction was the type of instruction that was being given to these Galatian believers. 

         “communicate unto him that teacheth”
         Literally:  “share with the {one} teaching”

         This Greek word that is translated as “communicate” is koinôneitô, and it literally means, “to share; to have in common; to have fellowship.”  This word is used of giving and receiving material aid (Phil. 4:15); of moral or spiritual participation (Rom. 15:27; I Tim. 5:22; II John 11), and even in sufferings (I Pet. 4:13).  In this particular passage it refers to the sharing of money.  Remember:  the Philippians communicated, or gave financial contributions to Paul (Phil. 4:16). 
         It must be understood that it is a fundamental Biblical principle that Christ’s ministers should be supported by the monetary gifts of His people (I Cor. 9:7-14).  Paul charged, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor (monetary remuneration), especially they who labor in the Word and doctrine” (I Tim. 5:18).
         All believers in the local assembly should contribute to the support of the man who has
dedicated himself to the work of the ministry, and who gives up his time and his life to preach the Gospel.  It appears that some of the believers in Galatia thought they could receive the Christian ministry without contributing to its support.  This is both ungrateful and unscriptural
         We do not expect that a common schoolteacher will give up his time to teach our children their alphabet without being paid for it; likewise, can we suppose that it is just for any person to sit under the preaching of the Gospel in order to grow wise unto salvation by it, and not contribute to the support of the spiritual teacher?  Such “thinking” is simply unjust.

         “in all good things.”
         Literally:  “in all good things”

That is, in everything that is needful for their comfortable subsistence.  The membership of the local assembly are to be responsible for the full support of their pastor.


“Be not deceived; God is not mocked:  for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Lack of Spirituality

         “Be not deceived; God is not mocked”
         Literally:  “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked”

         This present lack of spirituality has come about because of two basic reasons:

1.     Because of Self-Deception.
Literally, this phrase, being in the original Greek present passive indicative case, should read, “Stop being led astray,” for the Greek words rendered as, “be not deceived” is from the Greek word planaô, a verb meaning, “to wander, to lead astray” as in Matt. 24:4. These Galatians had permitted themselves to be deceived many times by the Judaizers.

2.     Because of Mockery to God.
This is just what allowing yourself to be deceived really amounts:  mocking God.  This is Greek word (muktêrizetai), really means: “to snear; to turn up one’s nose.” In legalism, self-sufficiency ignores any need for God, and it looks down upon the Principle of Faith alone as a sign of personal weakness.

         “Be not deceived;” that is, in regard to your character, and your hopes for eternity.  Men usually are.  Neither deceive yourselves, nor permit yourselves to be deceived by others. Paul is here obviously referring to the Judaizing teachers.  This would also include today’s preachers who are constantly piling upon their people all sorts of legalistic regulations and rules.  Such as these really know nothing about Grace, which is unconditional–either to get or to keep.
         In this verse understand that the reference to deception is secondary; the primary  reference is to being led astray.  This is what Paul is really emphasizing:  that we are not to allow ourselves to be led astray from the truth of the Word of God. 
        “God is not mocked”–God is not to be mocked.  That this mockery of God is done, but never without punishment, is what Paul is saying.   But understand this all important fact:  You cannot deceive God, and He will not permit you to mock Him with pretended instead of real services.  He cannot be imposed on, or mocked. He knows what our real character is, and He will judge us accordingly. The word rendered “mocked” (muktêrizô) means, “to turn up the nose in scorn; hence to mock, deride, or insult.” The sense is, that God could not be imposed on, or could not be insulted with impunity, or successfully.  God will not allow Himself to be imposed on by empty words: instead, He will judge according to works, which are seeds sown for eternity of either joy or woe.

Lack of Spirituality

         “for whatsoever a man soweth , that shall he also reap.”
         Literally:  “for whatever a man may sow, that he also shall reap”

         This is a law not only of the vegetable world, but of our bodies and spirits;  and habit is only an illustration of this law. The delirium tremens on the one hand, and the purity of the aged saint on the other are due to the action of this law. 

         In the context Paul may be referring to the financial support of ministers (v. 6); however, elsewhere he writes, “if we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?” (I Cor. 9:11).  A spiritual explanation of this rule is that if a person sows brotherly concern he will also reap reciprocal interest.  When you sow sin or righteousness they will reap (produce) their own respective results.

  1.     Likes beget likes.  Righteousness is not produced by the sowing of sin.
  2.     The more  one sows, the more one reaps.–“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully”  (II Cor. 9:6).
  3.     You reap more than you sow.  One seed can produce many fruits.  When a farmer goes out and plants a kernel of corn, he does not expect to just get that kernel back; instead, he expects to get a stalk that contains ears of corn that contain many kernels.  This tells us that the effects of sin are greater than the sin itself.  When a young man goes out to “sow his wild oats,” he will get back “wild oats,” and more than he sowed, and certainly more than he planned on.

“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption:  but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”                            
To explain his point Paul now brings forth some glaring contrasts between two different kinds of sowers:  a carnal man and a spiritually minded man. 

  1.    There is Corruption
    This refers to the physical decay and moral rottenness that follows the sins of the flesh (5:19-21).  And…
  2.    There is “life everlasting.”
    This is achieved by “planting” one’s life into the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Then the product of the Spirit will be a holy and happy life.   The eternal Spirit will produce a life of lasting value, now and forever.

         “For he that soweth to his flesh”
         Literally:  “For the {one} sowing into his flesh”     

         That is, by the indulgence of the lusts of his flesh; for the indulgence of fleshly appetites and passions. He who makes use of his property to give indulgence to licentiousness, intemperance, and vanity.  That follows the desires of corrupt nature.  The original Greek word rendered as “in” is the word eis, which literally reads, into  (instead of simply “in”) his flesh.” This shows that the flesh becomes the “soil” into which the personality is “planted.”  Later on, “out of the flesh” will come the growth.  Sinful human nature can only produce that which is temporal and corruptible. 
         For the carnal man, every time he performs some action that caters to his flesh, that action produces an effect on his character–the power of the flesh over him increases.  And with this stimulation of evil, comes corruption.  The sowing to the flesh will always leave its mark.  This sowing to the evil nature refers to the actions of a person choosing those courses of conduct that will gratify the cravings of the totally depraved nature.  In this context, this refers to the Galatians who are following the teaching of the Judaizers, and catering to the desires of the “old man”–the old sinful nature.  All false religious systems are catered so that they appeal to the fallen nature of man; they satisfy his religious instinct for worship, but at the same time allow him to go on sinning.

         “shall of the flesh reap corruption”
         Literally:  “will reap corruption of the flesh”

         A man who sows to the flesh will reap corruption as his crop. The word here rendered as “corruption,” (phthora) literally means, “decay, ruin, corruption, moral ruin, depravity.” Understand this all important point:  you cannot expect to lead a bad life and go to heaven at the end of that life.  According as your present life is, so will be your eternal life; i.e., whether your sowing be to the flesh or to the Spirit, so will your eternal reaping be.  The punishment of licentiousness and intemperance in this life is commonly loathsome and often to some offensive disease; and, when long indulged, the sensualist becomes haggard, and bloated, and corrupted, and sinks into the grave.  Such, also, is often the punishment of luxurious living, of a pampered appetite, of gluttony, as well as of intemperate drinking.  But even if the punishment does not follow in this life, it will be sure to overtake the sensualist in the world to come. There he shall reap ruin final and everlasting.
         It is probable that in this context by using the terms  flesh and Spirit,  Paul means Judaism vs. Christianity.  Circumcision of the flesh was the principal rite of Judaism, while circumcision in the heart was by the Spirit.  He who rejects the Gospel, and trusts only in the rites and ceremonies of the law for salvation, will reap endless disappointment and misery; conversely,  he who trusts in Christ, and receives the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, shall reap life everlasting.

         “but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”                             
         Literally:  “But the {one} sowing to the Spirit will reap everlasting life from the Spirit.”

That is, he who follows the leading and cultivates the affections which the Holy Spirit would produce.  It is a spiritual law that flesh can never produce spiritual results, but the Spirit will always produce results in harmony with His own nature.  Therefore, we may conclude that the one who sows with the Spirit, who choses his course of conduct with the purpose of fulfilling the wishes of the Holy Spirit, is the Christ who reaps the blessings of the eternal life which God has given to him.

“And let us not be weary in well doing:  for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

There is a promise given here–“we shall reap,” but it is conditional for it is preceded by the exhortation, “let us not be weary in well doing.”  This promise is guaranteed by God Himself.  We know that a believer does not immediately see the results of walking in the Spirit, for such results take time.  It takes time for an apple tree to produce apples, but it does not take long to manufacture a plastic apple.

         “And let us not be weary in well doing”
         Literally:  “But we should not weaken in good doing”

         In v. 8 Paul had exhorted the Galatians to allow their lives to be under the Spirit’s control.  Now, in this verse, he is telling them to not become weary in the course of that action.  This could be literally read as, “Let us not keep on giving in to evil while doing the good.” It is curious how prone we are to give in and to give out in doing the good which somehow becomes difficult to us.
        While it is true that a believer can become both physically and emotionally weary in his service to the Lord, but he should never grow weary of that service.   There is definitely a lapse of time between sowing and reaping.  One must understand that well-doing is easier in itself than ill-doing; and the danger of growing weary in the former arises only from the opposition to good in our own nature, or the outward hindrances we may meet with from a gainsaying and persecuting world.

    BE WEARY:  egkakeô–This is describing a husbandman who is tempted to slacken is labors because of the weariness caused by prolonged effort.

         “for in due season we shall reap”
         Literally:  “for in due time”

This should be more accurately rendered as, “in its own season” which is referring to the time of the harvest.  There is an appointed time for the spiritual reaping.  Too often do we find believers “fainting” before the harvest. 

         “if we faint not.”
          Literally:  “if {we} do not faith”

The Greek word rendered as “faint” comes from ekluô, which as used of reapers overcome by heat and labor. The word literally means, “to relax effort, to become exhausted physically.”  Prayer and total dependence upon God is the remedy against this urge to “faint” (Luke 18:1).  In Heb, 12:3, 5 we see another form of this word for fainting (ekluomenoi)–“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, yet ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Heb. 12:3)  and refers to men giving in morally, and that is probably the thought here.  If we do not give in to the temptation to live in the flesh, God will see to it that in His own time we will reap spiritual blessings.

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all {men}, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

         “As we have therefore opportunity,”
         Literally:  “So then, as we have time”

HAVE:  (echo)-This word is horitatory in its usage.  The exhortation is not merely to do good to others when the opportunity presents its, but to actually look for opportunities to do good for others.

SO THEN:  (ara oun)-In the original Greek text, Paul uses the two Greek words (ara oun), which literally mean, “so then,”  which is a characteristic phrase of his, to draw out the logical consequence, or conclusion, of what he has just said.  No other N.T. writer uses this.

OPPORTUNITY:  (kairon)-This is the same Greek word that is translated as “season” in v. 9, and points to the appropriate period of sowing corresponding to the appropriate time for reaping. 

The application is that during this present life the opportunities for doing good as all around us.  Remember the words of the Psalmist:  “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him”  (Psa. 126:5-6).

         “let us do good unto all {men},”
         Literally:  “let us work good toward all”

DO:  (ergatomai)-This places the emphasis on the process or an action and carries with it the idea of continuity and repetition.

GOOD:  (agathon)–In the original text, this word is preceded by the definite article; i.e., “the good.”  It refers to not only what may be good in character as judged by anybody’s standards; but rather it refers to the good spoken of in the context; the good which is the product of the working of the Holy Spirit through the believer.

         This command to do good extends to both the saved and unsaved alike–“unto all.”  Jesus healed both groups.  When He fed the multitudes, the unregenerated were fed as well as the regenerated.  A believer is to always do good even when evil comes his way (Rom. 12:18-11).  Christians have historically been the first to engage in famine relief, or in the relief of the needs of refugees.  Christians have founded hospitals and orphanages for the relief of human suffering everywhere.  Care of lepers has been the task of Christian charity long before governments began to take an interest in such work.

         “especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
         Literally:  “especially toward the household of the faith”

Charity has long been the duty of Christians; however, while this true, the primary respons-ibility is for the aiding of those who are fellow believers–“of the household of faith.”  All believers belong to the household of God.  Never forget that we have an intimate and personal responsibility for needy Christians.  We should feel differently toward the needs of Christians brothers than we do toward the needs of unbelievers.  If there is not enough money to help all men, the needy among our own brethren must be cared for first out of the benevolences of our fellow believers.  We must never neglect the poor and needy among our Christian brethren.




“You see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand”
Literally:  “See in what large letters I write to you with my hand.”

         The opening words, “you see” (idete) could also have been rendered as, “Behold!”  or “Look!”  Paul is attempting to change the attention from what he had written to how he had written this epistle.  The object was to draw their attention to the size of the Greek letters (Uncials) he had used.  Paul usually dictated his letters to an amanuensis, and then he would write the concluding words himself.  There were two styles of Greek writing:  the literary uncial which consisted of inch-high letters formed singly, then there was the Greek version of cursive, which used smaller letters in a running hand, joined together.
        The phrase, “how large letters” (literally:  “how large to you letters”), seems to indicate the length of the epistle; however, this epistle is short compared with other Pauline epistles (i.e., Romans; I & II Cor.).  Actually these Greek words (pêlikois grammasin) should be better rendered as, “what large letters.”  In that day, both books and personal correspondence were printed with small capital letters (miniscles) using no punctuation marks or spaces between words and sentences.  In comparison to this, the print of the Epistle to the Galatians was abnormally large.
         It has been suggested that Paul used large letters because of defective eyesight or because he could only write ill-formed letters because of his poor handwriting (like the print letters of children)–but there is no real evidence of this–or because he wished to call particular attention to this closing paragraph by writing it in big letters (Ramsay).

“As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”

Paul now begins to point out the insincerity of these Judaizers.  Much of what they were doing was simply for show.

They Want to Impress Others

         “As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh,”
         Literally:  “As many as desire to look well in {the} flesh”

         That is, to make a fair outward show of religion, a high pretense to holiness, by observing circumcision, and the other abrogated rites of the ceremonial law. Right off Paul points out that they really want to “put on a good front” or make some sort of public display of their religious zeal.  But it is really all only for display, and not real convictions.  These Judaizers were interested only in their own appearance before other Jews.  They were really men-pleasers (1:10).  Their desire was to “make a fair show.” 
         The Greek word rendered as “look well” (euprosôpêsai) is a compound word that comes from two terms:  eu meaning “good” and prosôpon, meaning “face.”  These Judaizers literally wanted to put on a good face before others.  This is the precise definition of hypocrite: or “mask wearers,”  the ancient name for theater actors.  They were putting on the mask of “good face” for the public to see. 
        This façade was all in the sphere of the “flesh.”  It was done according to the standards of man, and not of God They were sowing to the flesh, and thus they would one day reap corruption and eternal damnation (v. 8).  “Flesh” here must be regarded as contrary to the Spirit.

They Are Dictators

“they constrain you to be circumcised;”
Literally:  “these compel you to be circumcised”

          The Judaizers were attempting to impose their legalism on the Galatian believers; i.e., they wanted to make them converts to their own cause. You who are Gentiles. They insist on circumcision as indispensable to salvation. The Greek word here rendered as “constrain” (anagkazousin) shows that these Judaizers were constantly putting pressure on the Galatians.  This is the same verb used to show the pressure that was put on Titus for him to be circumcised in Jerusalem (2:3)–“But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised– and the same verb that Paul used against Peter in 2:14 when he said to Peter, “Why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”  This word compel is a strong word in the original, and underlines the seriousness of the threat with which Paul was dealing.  The Galatians may not as of yet have yielded to this “compelling,” but the pressure on them was heavy.
         Understand this:  those who wanted these Gentile Galatian believers to be circumcised, and by doing so place themselves under the Mosaic Law, did not themselves keep all the Law.  No one could.  They just wanted to boast about these Galatians as their latest conquests.  They wanted to glory in their power over these Galatians whom they had brought under their own legalistic slavery.

They Were Afraid of Persecution

         “only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”
         Literally:  “only that they might not be persecuted for the cross of Christ”

         The Roman government had recognized the religion Judaism and had officially allowed Jews to practice their religion,  Augustus Caesar had decreed that Jews be allowed to practice their holidays and feast days unmolested.  Understand that the Greco-Roman world operated under a ten-day week and the Jews operated under the seven-day week.  This difference often brought them into conflict with their Roman employers and even the Roman holidays., so Augustus gave his decree regarding Judaism so that the Jews would not be molested.  The Romans knew that circumcision was the mark of a Jew, so these Judaizers saw it as some sort of “passport to safety” should persecution of Christians begin.  They believed that circumcision would keep them safe from both the hatred of the Jews and the law of Rome.
         These Judaizers were really hoping to use circumcision as a way to escape persecution from their Jewish brethren who had rejected Jesus and their Messiah.  They had identified them-selves with the Church, and the Christ rejecting Jews looked upon them as having joined an organization that taught grace as against the Law.  However, these Judaizers really did not believe in Grace, but instead were teaching the works of the Law as a means of salvation.  Therefore, in order to keep from being persecuted by the non-believing Jews they were attempting to foist circumcision (and eventually the rest of Judaic laws and rules) upon the Gentiles in the Galatian church.
         If these Judaizers had disavowed the necessity of circumcision they would have been ostracized by their Jewish brethren; and this would have meant they were barred from the synagogues, they would have been ruined financially, and possibly even physically harmed by the other Jews.  Basically, their actions were out of personal fear, rather than a devout belief in the Law.  In reality, they either did not understand it, or did not believe in the Cross of Christ.  “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (I Cor. 1:18). 

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