Study 51: Gal.6:1-2
Overtaken in a fault
that chapter divisions were not in the original, these
verses read on naturally from the end of the previous
chapter. There we were exhorted not to promote self,
nor provoke others to evil and envying; now we are
exhorted to encourage and help one another.
This is in total contrast to the false brethren
that we have come across in this epistle.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which
are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness;
considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Bear ye one another's burdens;
considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.
Firstly, the false brethren spied out the liberty
in Christ and then tried to bring believers back
into bondage (
Gal.2:4). Then they tried to
exclude the Galatians from Paul and thus bring
about their isolation (
Gal.4:17) and, as we
shall see later in this final chapter, they wanted to
glory in the believers' flesh (Gal.6:12-13):
that is have the Galatians bear the false
brethrens' sign, whether it be in doctrine, outward
uniformity of practice or whatever - this instead of being
identified with the Lord in the life. Thus the work
of the false brethren results in
bondage, isolation and wrong identification.
The Law of Christ
Paul exhorts us to care for
one another, and here in particular, to bear one another's burdens. The word
for burdens here indicates a heavy load or
infirmity; the sense of the word fault
is that of a blunder, one who has been caught off guard
and has made a slip up. So here is a picture of a
believer who has unwittingly made a false step, has
by mistake gone off in the flesh.
|My little children these things write I
unto you that ye sin not. And if any man sin we
have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ
There is provision not to fall and slip up, but if
we do there is provision for restoration and
forgiveness as well. In Galatians Paul places an emphasis on
the body of Christ to help in the restoration of the
one who has been overtaken. In so doing we
fulfil the law of Christ. What is that law? It is the
principal that we have met before, and is stated
For, brethren, ye have been called
unto liberty; only use not liberty for an
occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one
another. For all the law is fulfilled in
one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and
devour one another, take heed that ye be not
consumed one of another.
Owe no man any thing, but to love one
another: for he that loveth another hath
fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not
kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not
bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet;
and if there be any other commandment, it
is briefly comprehended in this saying,
namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself. Love worketh no ill to his
neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling
of the law.
Love is the fulfilment of the law. The law of
the Old Covenant could not be kept because it gave no
power, no ability to the heart, to obey. The New
Covenant changes all that, we are given a new heart
and have the indwelling Spirit who fills us with the
love of God. Hence we fulfil the requirements of the
law. By loving our neighbour we will serve one another
and, in this context, will help to restore an erring
brother or sister, seeking their welfare. We will not rejoice in the evil that a brother
has fallen into but rather seek to
do what we can to see him restored.
warns that we should take care lest we are also caught
off guard and are tempted and fall ourselves. No
one is immuned from falling, to think otherwise
is pride. I Cor. 10:12.
In contrast to the false brethren we are to help our
erring brother in a spirit of meekness and of love.
Notice Paul's wording here, he says those who are
spiritual are to restore such an one; from the context
of the epistle this means those who are walking in the
Spirit helping those who, have by mistake, faltered and
gone off in the flesh. This implies that any help to
such an one should be done in the spirit and not after
the flesh, by invoking methods of the world, flesh or
2. Jesus, our example
For an example of restoration we turn our
attention to Peter's restoration by Jesus after he had
denied the Lord.
2.1 Peter's trespass
Then saith Jesus unto
them, All ye shall be offended because of
me this night: for it is written, I will
smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the
flock shall be scattered abroad.
after I am risen again, I will go before
you into Galilee. Peter answered and said
unto him, Though all men shall be offended
because of thee, yet will I never be
offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say
unto thee, That this night, before the cock
crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Peter said unto him, Though I should die
with thee, yet will I not deny thee.
Likewise also said all the
Now Peter sat without in the palace:
and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
But he denied
before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the
porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them
that were there, This fellow was also with
Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied
with an oath, I do not know the man. And
after a while came unto him they that stood by,
and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of
them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then
began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know
not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus,
which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
And he went out, and wept
Mtt.26: 31-35; 69-75
Jesus foretold that Peter would deny Him, and
Peter adamantly, and no doubt genuinely, said he would
die before he would deny His Lord. However when the
test came he not only denied Him once , but that three times
and also with oaths and curses! In Luke's account we have two extra
pieces of of information
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold,
Satan hath desired to have you, that he may
sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for
thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou
art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go
with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock
shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt
thrice deny that thou knowest me..................................
Then took they him, and led him, and brought
him into the high priest’s house. And Peter
followed afar off. And when they had
kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and
were set down together, Peter sat down among
them. But a certain maid beheld him as he
sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him,
and said, This man was also with him. And
he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him,
and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter
said, Man, I am not. And about the space
of one hour after another confidently affirmed,
saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with
him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter
said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And
immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.
And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how
he had said unto him, Before the cock crow,
thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went
out, and wept bitterly.
Here the we have the detail that Satan
to have Peter and was doing all that he could to destroy
this apostle, but the Lord had prayed for him. The second
thing we see is that when Peter had denied the Lord one
glance from the Lord was sufficient to bring back to
remembrance the words of warning. Peter wept bitterly.
What went through his mind, we can hardly
imagine. Perhaps some of words that Jesus spoke
earlier in His ministry stuck with him:
But whosoever shall deny me
before men, him will I also deny before my Father which
is in heaven. Mtt.10:33. Had he blown
it for good now? Think of all the privileges that
he had, he saw the Lord firsthand, he was an eye
witness of His glory, he had heard the wonderful truths
of the kingdom and had seen many mighty miracles of
healing, deliverance etc. He had even been given
authority to work miracles himself. But now, despite
every good intention of the flesh, he had denied the
Lord openly, not once but three times. Had he blown it
for good? We can not know the grief and thoughts that
he had, but for sure he was a broken man.
This is the
state of Peter; he had been overtaken in a fault. Yet
the Lord loving restored such an one. How this happened
is very instructive.
2.2 Peter's restoration
On resurrection morning we have this interesting
conversation between the young man (angel) and
And he saith unto them, Be not
affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which
was crucified: he is risen; he is not here:
behold the place where they laid him. But
go your way, tell his disciples and Peter
he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall
ye see him, as he said unto you.
Tell Peter! Peter was singled out,
this was to make it clear to him that he was still
included in God's plans. The Lord had not, after all,
cast him away nor denied him in front of His Father.
Tell Peter! Of course we see from Luke's account that, when
Peter was warned, he was not going to be a
castaway, for the Lord talked of his conversion; all
this though would have been lost in Peter's bitterness and
remorse. Now he is singled out especially. What
an encouragement that was to him!
Later on we
have an incident recorded only by John.
After these things Jesus shewed himself
again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias;
and on this wise shewed he himself. There
were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and
the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his
disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I
go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go
with thee. They went forth, and entered into a
ship immediately; and that night they caught
nothing. But when the morning was now
come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the
disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then
Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any
meat? They answered him, No. And he said
unto them, Cast the net on the right side of
the ship, and ye shall find. They cast
therefore, and now they were not able to draw
it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore
that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto
Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter
heard that it was the Lord, he girt his
fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and
did cast himself into the sea. And the
other disciples came in a little ship; (for
they were not far from land, but as it were two
hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they were come to land, they
saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid
thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto
them, Bring of the fish which ye have now
caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net
to land full of great fishes, an hundred
and fifty and three: and for all there were
so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the
disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing
that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh,
and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish
likewise. This is now the third time that
Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after
that he was risen from the dead. So
when they had dined,
Jesus saith to Simon
Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more
He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou
knowest that I love thee.
He saith unto him,
Feed my lambs.
He saith to him again the
second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou
He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest
that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my
He saith unto him the third time,
Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?
grieved because he said unto him the third
time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him,
Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest
that I love thee.
Jesus saith unto him, Feed my
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself,
and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when
thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy
hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry
thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should
glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he
saith unto him, Follow me.
The disciples had all gone back to their old
calling of fishing. The Lord didn't rebuke them for
this, instead He repeated the miracle that He performed
right at the beginning of His ministry - the
draught of fish. (Lk.5:4-11).
He had brought them back to the beginning of things. As soon as they recognise
Jesus Peter was the first out of the boat and went to
meet the Lord. He knew now that he had not been cast
Then we have this well known conversation
between Jesus and Peter. This was a really heart
searching dialogue, for three times Peter had denied
the Lord, now three times Jesus asked him if he loved
On the first
occasion when the Lord questions Peter it
is not clear as to what Jesus was referring when
saying 'do you love me more than these?' It is
assumed that Jesus was referring to the rest of the
disciples, because Peter had claimed that he did,
when he was told of his forthcoming denial.(
Mtt.26:33). Peter is now given a reality check. His
reply was yes but he left off the 'more than
these'. He had recognised that his boasting in the
flesh was nothing more than bravado. The second time Jesus asked He also dropped the
comparison. Jesus had come down to the level of Peter.
It is also worthy of note that the words used
for love are different. On the first two occasions Jesus
asked Peter He used the word agape- the Greek
word used for God's love in the NT. But Peter replies
with philo, a lower type of love.
The third time Jesus asked Peter about his love, He
used the same word as Peter, philo and not
agape. Jesus had come right down to the apostle's
level once more. Jesus did this to open Peter's eyes to his own
condition in reality. Before he could be restored Peter
had to see his own condition, all pretensions of the
flesh had to be removed. But note how Jesus did
this: there was nothing of harshness, nor anger but one
of gentleness, and love.
Finally Jesus gave great encouragement to Peter.
instead of saying that he was finished Jesus gave him a
commission. He was to feed the Lord's sheep and lambs.
That is to take care of the Lord's people. A
commission which he passed on to others towards the end
of his life. (I Pet.5:1-4).
Not only did the Lord bring forgiveness and restoration
to fellowship with Himself, but also restoration to
How wonderful this all is. What love and thoughtfulness the Lord showed! When a brother errs, going
after the ways of the flesh he may indeed think that he
has blown it, that there is no more opportunity for
him. But that is a lie of the enemy, we as his brethren
are to encourage him and help in his restoration.
Firstly by going out of our way to include him.
Secondly, that brother has to be brought to the reality
of his condition, clearly he needs to be under
conviction by the Holy Spirit. But if we have a role in
that we must handle him in gentleness and love, and not
to give way to the natural instincts of 'battering' him
into submission ! Finally by restoring them to
usefulness. How this is done depends on the individual,
but the point here is to include and not exclude him.
Where would any of us be if the Lord dealt with us as
we would deal with others in the flesh?
handling people we are to follow the Lord's example and
do so in the Spirit.