Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
O – After mentioning restoring a brother, Paul goes on to explain this. We are to bear each other’s burdens – we ALL sin! In so doing, we encourage and support one another. When we bear the burden, the load is shifted, and easier to bear. But also, in bearing one another’s burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ – the command to love one another. There is no question of “spiritual superiority” here. If we think that we are “better” than someone else – we deceive ourselves! We are all sinners, and we are all saved by grace. Paul tells us to “test our own work” (scrutinize, examining our actions, attitudes and behavior – AMP). BEFORE we approach someone else, we need to, yes, examine our own actions, attitudes, and behavior! BUT, we are also to do this, not to compare ourselves with others, but to see what Christ has done in us. Ephesians 2:8,9 states, “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” He also adds in II Corinthians 10:17 – 18 – 17 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” It is not ourselves that should come to the forefront, but Christ Himself, living in us. We are nothing in ourselves – and cannot pretend to be better than someone else, especially if we are seeking to restore relationships.
“The only way to prevent self-deception is to examine the value of one’s own work: each one should test his own actions (v. 4). The term Paul uses for test means to examine for the purpose of determining true worth. As the jeweler examines a precious stone under a magnifying glass in very bright light to determine its worth, so each Christian should scrutinize his or her actions to determine their true worth before God. The standard used for this evaluation is the law of Christ: the love of Christ expressed in his life and death and produced by his Spirit in all who believe in him. Paul has said that “the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (5:6). In other words, to examine one’s work is to evaluate whether one’s faith in Christ is expressing itself in Christlike actions of love.
Paul vows never to boast in his own standing as a pedigreed member of the Jewish nation or in his zealous devotion to the Jewish traditions. But Paul the Christian continues to boast: he boasts in the cross of Christ (v. 14). That is his boast in 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Paul boasted in the cross because the cross was the ultimate display of the love of God for sinners. When we are united with Christ in his death and resurrection, that love of God for sinners can be expressed through us by the power of the Spirit. And that is the reason for Christians to boast!” – (IVP NT Commentary – biblegateway.com)
A – I love the concept of scrutinizing, as a jeweler does. Do I look at my actions and attitudes the same way? What do they convey under the magnifying glass of God’s word? Do I think of my actions as “better” than someone else, or even “not good enough” compared to another person? My worth is determined by God, not my paltry comparisons. BUT – I need to look at the motives of my actions, to see if they measure up to the law of Christ (v. 2) – to love as He does, to love God with all my being, to love my neighbor as myself. That will help eliminate those comparisons – IF I take the time to think through who I am in Christ – and who everyone else is as well! May I only boast in the cross of Christ alone!
May I say, as Isaac Watts did in his hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” – “Forbid it Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God!”
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
P – Father God, it is my prayer today that you scrutinize my thoughts, my actions, my attitudes, so that they line up with Your Word. Father, help me to measure my being with Christ’s law of love. Let my heart reflect You today in all that I say or do. Help me to eliminate those comparisons in my life – the ones that make me feel superior, or even worthless compared to others. Help me to see others with Your eyes – Your eyes of love that are compassionate and forgiving. Father – keep me from boasting – except in Your cross, and the wondrous saving power that restores relationships.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (Fernando Ortega) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkx8WAycYAc
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (Kathryn Scott) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhvXOIVsRv4