- Those in the sacred office of the church/the elders (“you who are spiritual”) are to seek to forgive (“restore”) those members guilty of sin (“transgression”) in accordance w/justice (fulfilling the “law of Christ”) rejecting the temptation not to forgive (“Keep watch…lest you be tempted” – Luk 17:1-10) and genuinely loving those under discipline (“bear one another’s burdens”) (6:1-2).
- The guilty person in the church needs to: 1) avoid the deceit of thinking they are above the law (6:3), 2) demonstrate their worthiness to be forgiven/restored thru their “own work” of obedience rather than looking/appealing to work of Christ (6:4; Rom 6:1-2), 3) accept their discipline and the repentance justice demands (6:5), 4) “share” the evidence of their repentance/work of obedience/submission again to the “Word” w/the anointed elders (“one who teaches”) (6:6), 5) focus on the desires of the “Spirit” versus their “flesh” during their time under discipline and not become discouraged (“grow weary”) or “give up” (6:7-9), 6) be committed to performing good deeds in relation to those in the covenant community (6:10).
- Paul and his Galatian letter are who and what to trust if you want the right gospel since it proves: 1) the “gain by faith (alone in Christ) and maintain thru faithfulness (to the Law)” gospel to be congruent w/God’s Word and the Jews to be compromising God’s Word (6:11-13), 2) Paul’s position to be unbiased (6:14), 3) the new birth is all that “counts” when it comes to justification (6:15-16), 4) Paul is Christ’s man/God’s authority for Jew and Gentile (6:17-18; “bear on my body the marks of Jesus” = Sign of ownership/rank placed on the body of a soldier).
- Large letters are needed where heresy has succeeded (6:11).
- Messing with the gospel is an act of war (6:16-17).
“The initial and fundamental point to make is that the Old Testament’s portrayal of ethical behavior is inseparable from its total message respecting Israel, that is to say from its theological content. There is no such thing as an autonomous ethic of the Old Testament, nor can Old Testament ethics be restricted to so-called ‘ethical’ passages of the Bible.” – Brevard Childs
“While one would hesitate to ascribe Pauline soteriology to Deuteronomy, it is hard to resist the temptation when the correlation between this book and the apostolic teaching is so close.” – J. Gary Millar
- Limp-wristed parents/leaders propagate limp-wristed children/people (1:1-40).
- God does not want His covenant children to follow in the sinful paths or patterns of their (covenant) parents but to boldly pursue the new paths and patterns established by His will and Word -i.e. success for future generations requires rejecting the past generations’ sins (1:1-40).
- What should take days to accomplish can instead take years, when you are rebellious to the Lord (11 days versus 40 years; 1:1-8).
“If the Israelites had had the merit, they would have entered the land in all of eleven days instead of forty years.” – Rabbinic tradition, Sifre to Deuteronomy
- God wants the covenant community to grow and appoint leaders (or “judges”): 1) sufficient to carry the load (1:9-15), 2) righteous and impartial in their judgment (1:16-17a), 3) unintimidated by men (1:17b), 4) wise enough to delegate to those ordained/trained the cases that are too difficult (1:17c), 5) who will always look to God’s Word to make their decisions/judgments (1:18).
- God’s people who refuse to trust Him and embrace the change that comes with it, will be relegated to the “wilderness” hardship of always going backward to go forward (1:19-40, 2:1; “in the direction of the Red Sea” = where they came from).
- When the Lord is against you even what you think is “easy” will “beat you down” (1:41-46).
- Confession and sorrow alone are not repentance. There must also be a change to obedient behavior (1:41-45).
- God does not “listen” to the crying of those who act presumptuously and/or refuse to “listen” to His commands (1:41-45).
- Visiting the “giant” success of others in the past – including those without God, is helpful for: 1) putting into perspective the “giant” success God’s people will have if they simply trust and obey Him (2:2-23, 24-31, 3:1-22), 2) motivating God’s people to turn from their former cowardliness and become the courageous conquerors and “messengers” He has equipped and empowered them to be (2:25, 3:22; “this day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole heaven”; “You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you”).
- The unfortunate reality is that our sin may cause us to only see (versus experience) the abundance that could have been ours in this life (3:23-27).
- We need to “encourage and strengthen” the next generation not to follow in our sinful footsteps so that they may possess/experience those aspects of abundant life we forfeited (3:28-29).