Galatians 6:1 reads: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”
Now, what do the words, “considering yourself, lest you also be tempted” mean? Some have thought that the warning here is this: (1) When someone sins you are to approach them and try to mend them up; (2) But, when you do this make sure that their sinful ways do not tempt you too, into this life of sin(cf Jude 23). Now, it is certainly true that people can influence us and tempt us to do sin (1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 22:24-25; Proverbs 13:20). We must be very careful in this matter, not to be so influenced. But, this is not what Galatians 6:1 is addressing.
What then, is the context? In Galatians 5:26, Paul warned that they (we) were not to be striving to bring glory to self (cf. Matthew 6:1-2). But, instead the Bible is clear, our ambition should be to bring glory to God (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12; etc.). They were also told not to be envious of one another. Instead of being concerned about one another, they should have ultimately been concerned about showing themselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15).
Then, we come to Galatians 6:1 (and remember that the chapter breaks are man-made, not God-given). Look at the context closely. Paul is saying: (1) Instead of gloating and saying, “I’m better than you” when your brother stumbles, (2) Use your spiritual strength to help your brother out of sin when he stumbles.
This context becomes much clearer as one continues to read, especially when one reads Galatians 6:3-5. Paul cautions them not to think themselves something, when comparing their life with the weaknesses of their brother. One is not a spiritual giant just because his brother is weak. “One does not become a saint by another’s sins.” Our standard of spiritual assessment is not to be one another. There is an objective standard we each will be measured by in the end. Paul said, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise… For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:12, 18).
Lessons to learn from the text: (1) People will stumble and be overtaken with sin from time to time. (2) I do have a duty and responsibility to strive to help them in such times of need. (3) When I do so, I should not gloat or think myself a better person than they. I should, out of concern, humbly strive to help them; (4) I should not say, “I would never do what they do, and therefore, conclude – I am approved of God.” The standard in judgment will not be me in comparison to you. The standard in judgment will be the word of God. The real question is not how do I compare to another concerning this one sin (Galatians 6:1), but how do I compare to the totality of God’s revealed will. Let us each look into “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25) as our measure of righteousness, and let us not look unto one another for such comparison. “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another” (Galatians 6:4).