So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.– Galatians 6:10
Galatians 6:10 issues a call to do good to others. This command drafts every Christian into service. No Christian can dodge this draft. It is not a suggestion, recommendation, or even an invitation. It is a divine mandate. The word of God commands us to do good for others to the glory of God.
The Christian life is about more than what you know, say, or feel. It is about what you do. We have a spiritual duty to serve others in practical ways. Grammatically, this command to do good is in an emphasis that denotes continual action or habitual activity. It is about more than random acts of kindness. Doing good is to be our daily lifestyle, not a special event.
A life of doing good is not something we can do in our own strength, wisdom, or resources. Galatians 5:22 says the fruit of the spirit is goodness. By the indwelling Spirit of God, we are to reflect the character of the Lord Jesus Christ by doing good to others. Peter testifies about Jesus, “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). The same should be said of every disciple of Christ. True Christians live to do good to others.
Do Good Because You Have Been Saved
Doing good is not a means of winning God’s approval. Salvation is not a reward you earn by works. It is a gift you receive by grace. This is the burden of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Paul preached the gospel in Galatia. As sinners repented and trusted Christ for salvation, a church was born. But false teachers claimed obedience to the law must be added to faith in Christ for salvation to be complete. Paul wrote this letter to call the saints to live in the freedom of Christ: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1).
Faith in the Christ sets us free from to-do list religion. We are not saved by what we do for God. We are saved by trusting what God has done for us through Christ. But freedom in Christ is not a license to do your own thing: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Freedom is not free. Our freedom in Christ binds us to serve one another in love. This is the spiritual duty of Christian freedom. We are not saved by good works (Ephesians 2:8-9) We are saved for good works (Ephesians 2:10). We are saved to serve.
Do Good to Receive an Eternal Reward
Galatians 6:10 is the climax and conclusion of Paul’s gospel applications in this letter. Galatians 6:6 ends this series of exhortations with a call to generosity: “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.” Then verses 7-8 warn: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” This is the Law of the Harvest. You are determining your eternal reward by how you live day-by-day.
It often seems that those who pursue worldly things have it going on. And those who pursue spiritual things have to struggle. But verse 9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not lose heart.” Harvest does not happen in a hurry. But present labor results in a future reward. This does not guarantee a “happily-ever-after” ending to your story on earth. Many faithful servants of Christ end their lives without seeing the fruit of their labor. Our hope is in eternal rewards. If we remain faithful to the end, we will receive a reward. There are many ways of doing good in this life brings rewards. Doing good is its own reward. But even if we do not receive earthly rewards, do good to receive an eternal reward.
Do Good as You Have the Opportunity
There are two words for time in the New Testament. One term refers to time in general. It is clock and calendar time. The other word refers to a set or proper time. It is the right time. The God-appointed time. This latter term is used in our verse, where it is translated “opportunity.” The term is used in verse 9 to point to a future season. But it is used in verse 10 to refer to present opportunity. Every believer is called to do good with the opportunity we have.
We do not have the same personal responsibilities, spiritual gifts, or divine callings. But we all have the opportunity to do good. Do not minimize this duty. Paul is not saying you should do good whenever you get a chance. This is not an exhortation to find opportunities to do good. It is an assumption that you have the opportunity to do good. Your life is an opportunity to do good. But you must choose how to spend your life. You have a divine opportunity to do good. Yet it is a limited opportunity. Paul exhorts, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Do Good for the Benefits of Others
We are not to do good to meet a goal, exercise a gift, or fulfill a calling. And it is not about buildings, programs, or activities. It is about people. People matter to God.
Do good to everyone. Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Our oneness in Christ leaves no room for racism, classism, or sexism. So does the call to do good. We are to do good to all persons, whether or not they are Christians. Many schools, hospitals, orphanages, charities, and movements that have blessed society have been Christian causes. This does not include the countless Christians who have done good for others without their left hand know what their right hand was doing. The Lord wants to so use you to do good to people in your life. What if the person does not deserve to receive good? Jesus teaches, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
Do good to the household of faith. It is wrong when Christians do not do for others. It is also wrong when Christians do good in the world but not for other Christians. We are to prioritize doing good to one another. The church is a spiritual family in Christ. But it is more than a family. Verse 10 calls it “the household of faith.” It is one thing to have family on the side of the country. It is another thing to have family members that live in the same house. The church is a household, not a hotel. Hotels are nice. You can hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. They have an “At Your Service” button on the phone. Someone cleans up after you every day. You can order room service when you are hungry. You don’t have to fight over the remote control. But it does not work that way at the house. And it does not work that way in the church. As you have opportunity, do good to everyone, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Editor's Note: This originally published at HBCharlesJr.com