Burden-Lifting Christian Ministry contrasts Judaizing Burden-Imposing Ministry

Posted: December 15, 2010 by Rick Hogaboam in Biblical Studies, Galatians

As I work through Galatians, I found this comment from John Stott very insightful about the contrast of the Judaizing Burden-Imposing ministry with the directives that the Christian community is a Burden-Lifting ministry:

Human friendship, in which we bear one another’s burdens, is part of the purpose of God for His people. So we should not keep our burdens to ourselves, but rather seek a Christian friend who will help to bear them with us.

By such burden-bearing we ‘fulfil the law of Christ’ (verse 2). Because of the interesting link in this sentence between ‘burdens’ and the ‘law’, it is possible that Paul is casting a side-glance at the Judaizers. Certainly some of the law’s requirements are referred to as a burden in the New Testament (e.g. Lk. 11:46; Acts 15:10, 28), and the Judaizers were seeking to burden the Galatians with the observance of the law for their acceptance with God. So Paul may be saying to them, in effect, that instead of imposing the law as a burden upon others, they should rather lift their burdens and so fulfil Christ’s law.

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