“For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” What is the practical application here? Is this speaking of humility? what is the definition of “something” and “nothing” with respect to the Bible? We are nothing without God and it is impossible to be “something” without God? We are to examine ourselves and our motives and be honest and truthful about who and what we really are so we don’t lie to ourselves. Am I on the right path…?
Hello, @plantaseed you are definitely on the right track. In this passage, Paul is saying don’t think so highly of yourself that you wouldn’t help a brother or sister in Christ. This is in regard to knowing they are in sin. You are to help/correct them with gentleness and not be unloving or think yourself so much better than them that you can’t fall into sin just like they did.
He is teaching us how to love the right way in the community which is very important for believers to learn. People, in general, are more likely to listen to correction if they know the person correcting them truly loves them and is doing so out of love and in a gentle way as to not wound them. When you read the surrounding verses you see in context it’s about treating others the way you would want to be treated which is what Christ commands of us.
1 Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too. 2 Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Let each one examine his own work. Then he can take pride in himself and not compare himself with someone else. 5 For each one will carry his own load.
6 Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches it. 7 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, 8 because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9 So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.
Great question. This statement actually ties into the verses surrounding it. The context of this speaks to a believer who sees another believer who has fallen into sin.
Galatians 6: 1-4
“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 fulfill 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 neighbor.”
It is very easy to get into the deception that we are obeying Christ, and yet fall into sin in our lives. We are called to help each other stay on the right path, to seek to know Christ and understand His word and commandments, and to help others when we see them slipping, or when they fall into sin. But we are also called to be cautious, lest we slip into temptation as well. We all make mistakes and fall at times, and sometimes we need help to realize our mistakes and correct them.
One thing we must remember is that Satan is the father of all lies(John 8:44), and he is a master of using our weaknesses against us. Even sometimes using subtle deceptions that are meant to look like good things, but in reality are leading us away from the truth of Christ. That is why we are called to take great care, we must have a firm grasp and understanding of God’s word, or we could be deceived ourselves. But if we see this happening, we are called to help those we see slipping, with gentleness and love. To provide correction through the truth of God’s word and help those around us to stay on the right path.
The whole idea of not believing ourselves to be something when we are nothing comes down to pride. We are not to look at someone who has fallen and think ourselves above them because they have fallen. We are all sinners and we all fail. This follows the same ideas that are projected when we are told to love our neighbors as ourselves(Mark 12:31) Therefore, we are to hold those brothers and sisters around us in higher esteem than we even hold ourselves, and correct them lovingly. It also speaks to the one who has fallen, not to be so prideful that they cannot admit a mistake and accept help from a fellow brother or sister.
I hope that this helps you Kathleen and I pray that God will lead you as you study His word. May He guide you and show the truth of His word as only He can do. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask them. God bless you and thank you.
Hi Matthew, yes this is exactly what I needed to hear. I must remember context, too. Thank you for helping me. Kathleen