Paul was a student of human nature. Every servant of Christ must become proficient in understanding human nature if he is to have any success at winning the lost. Not only is it the nature of man to sin, but in most cases it is also natural that he should be unforgiving. This nature reveals itself in an eager willingness to condemn others found in a fault.
The Christians of Galatia had paid attention to the Judaizers and accepted the impossible burden of keeping the law. Consequently, they were often very hard on one another when mistakes were made. Every believer should do his best to keep the commandments but always with the understanding that it is impossible to keep the law perfectly. For some reason, the more righteous a person believes himself to be the harder he is apt to be on others. None is righteous and we should never believe ourselves justified by our own goodness.
Paul offers an alternative to the person wanting to keep commandments - He refers to the Law of Christ (vs. 2). The Law of Christ demands that we love our neighbor as our self. When this law is invoked, both the individual and the church are made stronger. In loving one another we find it much more difficult to be judgmental and much easier to be supportive. A relationship with Jesus makes us understand that there is not a nickel’s inherent difference between the greatest saint and the vilest sinner.
Coming now to the reason for tonight’s message, let us look closely at verses two and five. Paul seems at first to contradict himself for he tells us to bear one another’s burdens and then says that each person will bear his own. What he means is that some burdens may be shared while others must be borne alone. The burdens of grief, of poverty, and of stewardship may be shared while others are singular and personal.
I. Singular Burdens
A. Original sin
1. No one can plead your case but you
2. No amount of prayer or desire can change the heart of another
B. Christian service
1. Some callings are unique and individual.
2. Our responsibility in this regard is both collective and personal
C. The work of prayer
1. When others lead do you pray as well?
2. As the Spirit leads we should pray
D. Other individual responsibilities
2. Callings and vocations
II. The Lord Lightens the Load
A. Christ bears us and our burdens
1. What a blessing to give Him our concerns
2. His promise is personal and all encompassing
B. With every burden there is a blessing
1. Burdens build character
2. God shapes us with experience
There is work to do of both types – both collective and personal.