On your way down

On your way down

Galatians part 10

The American rock band Little Feat sang,

It’s high time that you found
The same people you misuse on your way up
You might meet up
On your way down.

The Apostle Paul would have loved that song. Here’s his version:

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. For each will have to bear his own load.

One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6, 1-10

This is not the summing up of Paul’s message to the Galatians after the climax of the bit about the fruit of the Spirit. This is the climax of the letter, the bit he has been building up to all along. It is easy for me as an Evangelical to look down on other Christians who do not share my high view of the Bible. Traditionalists have a higher view of the church than we do. But this letter is all about what it means to be church. The letter to the Galatians is all about being church, about being God’s community. An individualistic reading of Paul’s letter is just plain wrong.

Let’s get over the word Brethren first. It isn’t written to men. If the message is that there is no difference between people under God then there is no difference between male and female. All are the same under God. So we should not form groups. That only encourages looking down on each other. Labels such as ‘We are Bible believing Christians’ or ‘We are Born Again Christians’ divide people we should drop their use immediately.  I have seen great love for the Bible in traditional and Catholic groups.

There is no division in Christ. If you are using the term Born again Christian in order to look down on another group, it shows that you are neither born again or Christian. If we drop the label, then we can get down to teaching what born again means. The same with Bible believing Christians as a label. If the Bible teaches we are one and we use the term Bible believing as a term to divide how can we actually be believing the Bible?

But we do divide into groups, sadly. When we see someone from a different group get into trouble we point our fingers at them and laugh. But we are all human, we all mess up on a regular basis. Sooner or later it will be your turn to fail – your turn for ridicule.

But what if we turn this around. What if we start making a special effort to help those who are not like us? What if we get out of the ghetto mentality? What if we do as Paul says and bear one another’s burdens. We help others who are down and we will receive help when we are down. This fulfils the law of Christ says Paul. This is the Gospel message. This is good news in every sense of the word good. You will receive help when you need it from the church, and if people do not receive help from the church when they need it then the church is not being Church.

The same people you misuse on your way up
You might meet up
On your way down.

To round things off, here’s Little Feat:

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