In this section the apostle deals with several areas that are most important to those who know and love the Saviour.
v. 1. We are redeemed, children of God, indwelt by his Spirit of holiness and grace; but we are still human, still flesh. The motions of sin, the desires of the flesh and the potential to fall are in every believer. Therefore, if a brother falls into sin of spirit, attitude, or flesh, we are to make every attempt to recover, restore and resettle him to his place of fellowship. The attitude of strong, mature, restrained believers toward the fallen is not to be critical, 'holier than thou' and condemning. It is to be a spirit of humility and meekness, for we know that the potential to commit any sin is in us, and we only stand by the grace of God! (2 Tim. 2:24,25.)
v. 2. 'Bear one another's frailties, infirmities and weaknesses' (and we all have them). 'Don't desert, withdraw fellowship and condemn.' 'Love beareth all things.' Bear these burdens by comforting the brother while gently reproving him. Sympathize with and forgive him in genuine mercy. In doing so we will fulfil the royal law of Christ (John 13:34).
v.3. 'Man at his best state is altogether vanity.' 'In my flesh dwelleth no good thing.' I owe my being, my knowledge, my mercies, my preservation and my gifts to God alone (I Cor. 4:7). In myself and left to myself I am nothing and know nothing. Now if in pride and self-esteem I think myself to be something, I am deceived. Pride of face, race, place, or grace is an abomination to God (Prov. 6:16-18).
v. 4,5. These two verses must be considered in the context! It is so easy to compare ourselves with weaker Christians, less gifted believers, or even fallen brothers, and to begin to think that we are something special, we are strong, or we are better than others. We are not to prove ourselves by other men's sins or actions, but in the light of God's glory and holiness. If we can find some measure of genuine spiritual growth and some evidence of the fruit of the Spirit, we can rejoice in what God has truly been pleased to do for and in us, rather than being buoyed up in vain hope simply because we are not as other men. Every man is judged according to his own works, not in a comparative view of others.
v.6. This verse has to do with the support of those who preach and teach the Word of God. They that preach the gospel as pastors, evangelists and missionaries are to be supported and cared for by those whom they teach. The doctor who ministers to you, the policeman who protects you, the carpenter who builds for you are all compensated according to their service. Even so, the man who studies, prays for and teaches you the Word of God (the most important service) is to share in your material substance.
v. 7. Do not be deceived by a covetous heart or by false teachers! Our God is not to be mocked; and withholding those things which are needed from his true ministers because of covetousness, ingratitude, or indifference is to mock God. He has, from the early days, ordained that those who minister in things of the temple shall partake of those things. 'What a man sows he reaps.' This is a proverbial expression that applies to all actions, good and bad. If a man sows wheat, he reaps wheat. If a man sows nothing, he reaps nothing (2 Cor. 9:5-8).
v. 8. If a man is only concerned for his physical and material welfare, if he devotes all his possessions to pamper, please and provide for his body, he will reap the dividends of the flesh corruption! It will all decay, rot and be food for worms. But if a man uses his time, strength and substance for the glory of God and for the good of his soul and the souls of others, he will reap everlasting happiness (Matt. 6:19-2 1).
v. 9. If what we do and give is according to the will of God, out of a principle of love to him, for the glory of God and in the name of the Lord Jesus, we need not grow weary nor discouraged. In God's own time, either in this world or in the world to come, we "I see the fruit of our labours of love. Let us not be impatient but wait on the Lord.
v.10. As we have the opportunity and the ability, and as the occasion requires, let us do good to all men (strangers, neighbours, believers and unbelievers), but especially let us care for, encourage and assist those who are believers with us in Christ Jesus.
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