“But if you bite and devour one another beware lest you be consumed by one another!”
We are still having our weekly bible study in Galatians and we are about through the book. This has been the most edifying study I have been in and it is because of the book itself. The Truth of Galatians gives us one of the surest foundations of our justification in Christ alone, without which we would stumble under the condemnation of the law.
The Galatians were troubled by those who would come in and rob them of their liberty in Christ teaching them that they weren’t justified solely by Christ, but by works of the law as well. There must have been factions in the church, some being for these works, some being against and Paul warns them that if they continued to bite and devour one another, they would be consumed…(to be wasted or destroyed). I wonder what that might have meant, they would be destroyed? Kind of scary to think that we can destroy one another!
John Calvin comments:
By biting and devouring he means, I think, slanders, accusations, reproaches, and every other kind of offensive language, as well as acts of injustice arising either from fraud or violence. And what is the end of them? To be consumed, while the tendency of brotherly love is to produce mutual protection and kindness. I wish we could always remember, when the devil tempts us to disputes, that the disagreement of members within the church can lead to nothing else than the ruin and consumption of the whole body. How distressing, how mad is it, that we, who are members of the same body, should be leagued together, of our own accord, for mutual destruction!
One of the hardest things for me when I began to work out of the home was situations like this as they are commonplace in the work force. You know the scenario, you walk in a room and everyone quits talking and starts acting like they were working all along, as if you are fooled. Or they don’t talk to you for a week, or they try and make trouble for you and on and on the list goes. I’m guilty of doing the same things, shame on me and I stop now and pray when I am tempted, as the Spirit brings to mind the times I have been hurt. I guess we should expect that in the work place, we just don’t ever expect it in our churches and yet it happens there too, just as it was happening in the church at Galatia.
Have you ever felt that way…like you were being consumed? Consumed by someone’s sinful actions towards you, or by your own sinful actions towards them? Maybe it was the words they spoke to you or your own thoughts towards them? Perhaps their issues with control , and your own expectations, even their indifference? I’ve been in spiritual battles like that in the church, some of my own making and some not and I think we are all guilty of biting and devouring to some degree or another, we have all practiced it,………oh it shouldn’t be! May we instead practice the fruit of the Spirit, also in the very same chapter of Galatians, which is ….love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against which there is no law. Let us pray to that end, that we might practice this fruit especially with the brethren in the body of Christ!
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”.(Galatians 5:25)