by Wayne BarberChrist in Us Sensitizes Us to Brothers' Needs
Oh, the joy of experiencing Christ in our daily lives! Galatians 2:20 asserts: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me." And Galatians 5:22,23 explains that we know we are experiencing Him when we experience His love. In that love is His peace, His patience, His kindness, His goodness, His faith, His gentleness, and His self-control.
These are all relationship words. They describe the character of Christ manifested in us. It is this area of dealing with others that Paul takes us to in chapter six. It is interesting that the first word in chapter 6 is "brethren," and the last word in the last verse of the epistle (aside from the amen) is "brethren." Just as Paul argued that we walk by faith because we are sons, not slaves, earlier in Galatians 4, now he shows in the last chapter that we bear one another's burdens because we are brothers!
And because we are brothers, we help one another. Christ in us makes us sensitive to one another's needs. We are all in the same family as believers. This is where God's love is needed and is felt the strongest. Galatians 6:2 says "Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ." Now, anything God demands, He lives in us to enable us to fulfill. If we are surrendered to Christ, He will produce a sensitivity to our brother that we would not have otherwise. God's commands demand our obedience. There is a law to Grace! But He lives in us to "will" and to "work." He actually gives us the desire to do what He demands us to do.
So Paul gives the Galatians a command! "Bear one another's burdens." This is in the present imperative, meaning "Keep on, as a lifestyle, bearing one another's burdens!" Why? You are brothers!
Now, the word for "bear" is the word bastázo. It comes from básis, which is a support. Thus it means to help support someone who is under a heavy load. Bastázo means to "take up and hold," especially with the hands. In a metaphorical sense it means to "take up and bear, to support, to endure." The word is used in Galatians 5:10, of the one who was disturbing them bearing his judgment. It is used of Jesus bearing up under the load of the cross in John 19:17.
What comes to my mind was a tripod stand that is used in the South to hunt deer! I approach these and all stands with a lot of caution because of my size and weight! But I am always excited when I see that the support is there for me to rest upon.
Now, the word "burden' is important! It is báros, which refers to the felt weight on someone-a heavy load. There is another word referring to bearing something but it does not refer to its heaviness. Báros always refers to the weight of something. It is heavy!
Here is a brother that is under a heavy load. What is this heavy load? This could refer to the predicament caused by his sin (see v. 1). Instead of stomping on him when he is down, help him recover by helping him bear his burden.
But the burden doesn't have to be the result of sin. It could be any circumstance in which a brother cannot bear up under the load upon him. Whatever the problem, he needs help. Christ in you enables you and burdens you to get up under the load and help him. This is Christianity. This is Christ in you!
Now, This act of love fulfills the law of Christ. "For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'"(Gal. 5:14). It is this that marks us as believers. A law is that which is demanded. Christ demands this! In John 13:34 Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
Christ Himself came to us when we were under the weight of sin. We could not help ourselves. He paid a debt that He did not owe; we owed a debt that we could not pay. But He lives in us to enable us to be what He demands! Love enables us to be sensitive to our brother's needs! This is what fulfills the Law of Christ. How are you responding to your brother's heavy burden?