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The End of the Book 巻末(かんまつ)

Has anyone ever cheated when reading a book?  You know, you want to know ‘who done it’ or how the story ends, so you skip ahead and read the ending first.  Anyone done that? 本を読んでいるときにずるをしたことはありませんか?

You can cheat with the Bible, too, you know.  If you want to know how it all ends, you can skip ahead to the end of the book and see it for yourself. SPOILER ALERT: God wins!
But you can do this sort of cheating on a smaller scale with the pastoral letters in the Bible as well.  Just go to the last chapter and you often get a brief, punchy overview of what the author has been saying and where he is going with all this.  I don’t recommend you make a habit of this because you’ll miss out on a lot of the meat but if you want a quick boost, it works.
聖書は巻末を先に読んでもかまいません。 ネタバレ注意:神が勝ちます!

Today we conclude our study of the book of Galatians – we hit the last chapter (6) which, like the final chapter of many of the other pastoral letters, has lots of punch and simple instructions and exhortations and encouragements in it.

I’m going to pull out three key teachings from this final chapter Galatians 6: a call, a warning and a promise. ガラテヤ人への手紙6章から3つの重要な教え:求められていること、警告、約束
Let’s read the first half of the chapter:
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
1 兄弟たちよ。もしもある人が罪過に陥っていることがわかったなら、霊の人であるあなたがたは、柔和な心をもって、その人を正しなさい。それと同時に、もしか自分自身も誘惑に陥ることがありはしないかと、反省しなさい。
2 互に重荷を負い合いなさい。そうすれば、あなたがたはキリストの律法を全うするであろう。
3 もしある人が、事実そうでないのに、自分が何か偉い者であるように思っているとすれば、その人は自分を欺いているのである。
4 ひとりびとり、自分の行いを検討してみるがよい。そうすれば、自分だけには誇ることができても、ほかの人には誇れなくなるであろう。
5 人はそれぞれ、自分自身の重荷を負うべきである。 6 御言を教えてもらう人は、教える人と、すべて良いものを分け合いなさい。
7 まちがってはいけない、神は侮られるようなかたではない。人は自分のまいたものを、刈り取ることになる。
8 すなわち、自分の肉にまく者は、肉から滅びを刈り取り、霊にまく者は、霊から永遠のいのちを刈り取るであろう。
9 わたしたちは、善を行うことに、うみ疲れてはならない。たゆまないでいると、時が来れば刈り取るようになる。
10 だから、機会のあるごとに、だれに対しても、とくに信仰の仲間に対して、善を行おうではないか。

i. The call 求められていること
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Here Paul teaches us how to fulfill the law of Christ: by carrying each other’s burdens.  This should be no surprise when we consider what we have just read in the previous chapter.  What did we find in Galatians chapter 5? The fruit of the Spirit and freedom in Christ!  One of the things we noted last time is that

The fruit of the Spirit is primarily for service not for self. It is to help us share with others the nature and kindnesses of God so that we “Carry each other’s burdens, and fulfill the law of Christ”.

This verse is connected to verse 10 – they’re like bookends on this section.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
In case you were wondering, this doesn’t nullify the teaching of the parable of the Good Samaritan – we are to do good to all people, regardless of how different from us they might be.  But we have a special obligation to care for members of our own family first, and members of our Christian family as well.

Rick Warren:  What’s the law of Christ? Love your neighbor as yourself. How do we love our neighbor as ourselves? By helping each other through temptation. By helping them be consistent in the things they want to be consistent in. By helping them break bad habits and start good habits. That’s the best way you can love your neighbor and obey the law of Christ.
And so the call is to carry each other’s burdens.ですから求められていることは互いの重荷を負い合うことです。

ii.  The warning 警告(けいこく)
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
7 まちがってはいけない、神は侮られるようなかたではない。人は自分のまいたものを、刈り取ることになる。
8 すなわち、自分の肉にまく者は、肉から滅びを刈り取り、霊にまく者は、霊から永遠のいのちを刈り取るであろう。

You’ve heard me quote this passage before.  It’s vital for Christians to understand and apply.  We must never think that because we are under grace, that we can live however we please.  We must never think that because all my sins have been forgiven in Christ キリストにあって罪がすべて赦されたのだからといってそのように考えてはいけません。
• I can watch a little porn and God will overlook it
• I can have a few drinks too many and God will understand
• I can fool around sexually in my youth like everyone else and God will look the other way for a while
• I can lie to my parents or my husband or wife sometimes and God will pardon me 親、夫、妻にときどき嘘をついても神は赦してくださる。
• I can put my relationship with God on hold for a while while I pursue my education or my vocation or my pleasures, and God’s grace will allow me to come back at a later time unscathed.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Have you ever wondered why Paul begins this warning with the words “Do not be deceived”?  It’s because so many are deceived on this point.  We somehow think we can sneak by God on these matters – “mock” Him when it comes to the way we sow in our lives.  パウロがなぜ“思い違いをしてはいけません”という警告から始めているか不思議に思ったことはありませんか?それは多くの人が思い違いをしているからです。

Did you know there are three warnings in the New Testament that start with the words “Do not be deceived”?  It’s worth looking at them.  One is this one here in Galatians.  Another is on 1 Corinthians 6:9,10:  Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
それとも、正しくない者が神の国をつぐことはないのを、知らないのか。まちがってはいけない。不品行な者、偶像を礼拝する者、姦淫をする者、男娼となる者、男色をする者、盗む者、 10 ・欲な者、酒に酔う者、そしる者、略奪する者は、いずれも神の国をつぐことはないのである。 コリントの信徒への手紙一6:9,10

Again, Paul starts his warning here with the words “Do not be deceived” because so many then – as now – are easily deceived by this.  It’s interesting that in this list, ‘idolaters’ are placed in between the ‘sexually immoral’ and ‘adulterers’ because that’s what we become when we start to deconstruct God.  We say, ‘I don’t like that part of God’, ‘I don’t believe God would condemn me for that’, ‘I don’t think that teaching of God applies any more’ and so what we do is reject the true God who has revealed Himself to us, and we create our own god to suit our own needs and desires.  This is idolatry and we find it in our acceptance of sexual immorality and adultery, along with the other vices listed in this verse. “偶像を礼拝する者”が“不品行な者”と“姦淫をする者”との間に入っていること、それはまさに私たちが神を分析(ぶんせき)し始めるようになるとそうなることです。
The third time we are warned to not be deceived is in James 1.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 思い違いをしてはいけない。 あらゆる良い贈り物、あらゆる完全な賜物は、上から、光の父から下って来る。父には、変化とか回転の影とかいうものはない。

We are easily deceived into thinking that while God provides a lot of the good things in our lives, we somehow can or need to look elsewhere for other good things.  But God is a jealous God who won’t be shared.  The one thing God does not do well is share His glory.  Directly or indirectly, every good and perfect gift is from above.  Don’t be deceived.  Don’t look to other gods or ideologies or people or even self for the good things that only God can supply.

i. So, we have a call to carry one another’s burdens to fulfil the law of Christ.
ii. We have a warning to sow in a godly way in our lives.
iii. And finally we have the promise. そして最後に、約束があります。

The second half of Galatians 6 is appropriately headlined in the NIV, “Not circumcision but a New Creation”. “割礼ではなく、新しい創造”

(12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything;what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. 17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.)
(12 いったい、肉において見えを飾ろうとする者たちは、キリスト・イエスの十字架のゆえに、迫害を受けたくないばかりに、あなたがたにしいて割礼を受けさせようとする。 13 事実、割礼のあるもの自身が律法を守らず、ただ、あなたがたの肉について誇りたいために、割礼を受けさせようとしているのである。 14 しかし、わたし自身には、わたしたちの主イエス・キリストの十字架以外に、誇とするものは、断じてあってはならない。この十字架につけられて、この世はわたしに対して死に、わたしもこの世に対して死んでしまったのである。 15 割礼のあるなしは問題ではなく、ただ、新しく造られることこそ、重要なのである。 16 この法則に従って進む人々の上に、平和とあわれみとがあるように。また、神のイスラエルの上にあるように。 17 だれも今後は、わたしに煩いをかけないでほしい。わたしは、イエスの焼き印を身に帯びているのだから。 18 兄弟たちよ。わたしたちの主イエス・キリストの恵みが、あなたがたの霊と共にあるように、アァメン。)
Let me just focus on the promise toward the end of the passage.
15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. 割礼のあるなしは問題ではなく、ただ、新しく造られることこそ、重要なのである。 16 この法則に従って進む人々の上に、平和とあわれみとがあるように。また、神のイスラエルの上にあるように。
Circumcision was such an important covenant in the Old Testament, why does it no longer matter?  The simple answer is, because the circumcision of the heart is greater than the circumcision of the flesh.  And we who are in Christ have circumcised hearts.  But that still leaves questions for us.  If physical circumcision is no longer relevant, what does that mean for the rest of the Old Testament covenants and laws.  Hebrews 8:13 says, “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” 神は、「新しい」と言われたことによって、初めの契約を古いとされたのである。年を経て古びたものは、やがて消えていく。

We’ve looked at this issue before but it’s worth looking at again before we move on.  If an Old Testament law is repeated in the New Testament, it should be kept.  If it is not repeated in the New Testament, don’t worry too much about it.  It’s been superseded by the new covenant. 旧約聖書の律法が新約聖書にも出てきているなら、それは守るべきです。新約聖書に出てきていないなら、心配することはありません。新しい契約が取って代わったのです。

So the promise is based on the new creation (not the old law).  The old has gone, the new has come.  古いものは過ぎ去った、見よ、すべてが新しくなったのである。What we were before we were in Christ no longer matters.  We are now covered by grace.  There is no condemnation, no reputation, no guilt.  But we still have to live with the consequences of sin.
約束は新しい想像に基づいています。 キリストにある前の私たちは重要ではないのです。 しかし罪がもたらした結果を受け入れなければなりません。
The law of sowing and reaping still applies.  To be sure, even the law of sowing and reaping has been superseded by the law of grace.  The law of grace is greater.  That’s why we are no longer under condemnation but rather are under blessing.  But while we live on this earth, both laws apply.

Let me give some examples to explain this.
1 A high school girl falls pregnant out of wedlock and has a baby.  She comes to Christ, is forgiven and lives a repentant life.  There is no longer any condemnation upon her but rather she lives under grace and blessing and the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  She has the peace and mercy of Christ.  But she is still raising a child that was the product of a sinful lifestyle.  She is still reaping what she sowed.
2 An alcoholic comes to Christ.  He cleans up his act and never drinks again.  He is forgiven and lives under grace in the newness of life in the power of the Holy Spirit.  He has the peace and mercy of Christ.  But he still must deal with the relationships which were damaged or destroyed because of his drinking and, barring miraculous healing, he still must live with the liver damage caused by his sinful lifestyle.

But let me come back to the promise which supersedes all else: what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule.
割礼のあるなしは問題ではなく、ただ、新しく造られることこそ、重要なのである。 16 この法則に従って進む人々の上に、平和とあわれみとがあるように。また、神のイスラエルの上にあるように。

People spend their whole lives looking for peace – chasing it to the ends of the earth; looking for it in financial security, relationships, independence, worldly success etc.  But peace is the gift of God – it is only found in being a new creation in Christ.  And to those who are a new creation in Christ, the promise is peace and mercy. キリストにあって新しく造られた者には、平安とあわれみの約束があるのです。

When God gives a warning, sometimes – 3 times in the NT – he starts with the words “Don’t be deceived”.  But far more often when God speaks, the first words are: “Don’t be afraid.” There are 365 messages from God in the Bible that begin with a phrase like, “Fear not!” God is saying, ‘You don’t need to be afraid. My desire is for you to experience my mercy and peace.’

As such, if you have been struggling with any of the Biblical warnings that we have been talking about today, I want to encourage you to use our prayer ministry time at the end of the service so that you can become the new creation that God desires you to be, free of condemnation, and come fully under the mercy and peace of Christ.

May the peace and mercy of Christ be with you all.