Galatians 6: 3 (KJV)
3For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Here we find that the apostle is still directing the Galatians, and enforcing them to express great lenity and tenderness towards such of their brethren as had fallen into sin and error, and particularly cautions them, to beware of the sin of pride and self-conceit, and to abound in the grace of humility and modesty. He did while intimating to us, that pride, and an high opinion of ourselves, are the certain cause of censoriousness and rash judging of others, and the true reason why we despise and glory over an offending brother, instead of pitying of him, sympathizing with him, and endeavoring to restore him.
It is, that even those who are most confident may fall. They who feel secure, and think it impossible that they should sin, are not safe. They may be wholly deceived and may be nothing, when they have the highest estimate of themselves. They may themselves fall into sin, and have need of all the sympathy and kindness of their brethren. When he has no strength, and no moral worth. When he is not such as he apprehends, but is lifted up with vain self-conceit. He understands not his own character. “The worst part of the fraud falls on his own head”- Doddridge. He does not accomplish what he expected to do; and instead of acquiring reputation from others, as he expected, he renders himself contemptible in their sight.
We note how the Apostle takes the authors of sects to task for being hard-hearted tyrants. They despise the weak and demand that everything be just so. Nothing suits them except what they do. Unless you eulogize whatever they say or do, unless you adapt yourself to their slightest whim, they become angry with you. They are that way because, as St. Paul says, they “think themselves to be something,” they think they know all about the Scriptures.
The phrase, ‘When he is nothing’, appears at first view to mean, “if any person, who is in reality nothing, claims to be something;” as there are many men of no real worth who are elated by a foolish admiration of themselves. But the meaning is more general, and may be thus expressed: “Since all men are nothing, he who wishes to appear something, and persuades himself that he is somebody, deceives himself. Paul calls them zeros. They deceive themselves with their self-suggested wisdom and holiness. They have no understanding of Christ or the law of Christ. By insisting that everything be perfect they not only fail to bear the burdens of the weak, they actually offend the weak by their severity. People begin to hate and shun them and refuse to accept counsel or comfort from them. He describes these stiff and ungracious saints accurately when he says of them, “They think themselves to be something.” Bloated by their own silly ideas and schemes they entertain a pretty fair opinion of themselves, when in reality they amount to nothing.
Those who suppose themselves to excel all others in piety, understanding, etc., while they are harsh, censorious, and overbearing, prove that they have not the charity that thinketh no evil; and in the sight of God are only as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. It has been noted that there are no people more censorious or uncharitable than those among some religious people who pretend to more light and a deeper communion with God. They are generally carried away with a sort of sublime, high sounding phraseology, which seems to argue a wonderfully deep acquaintance with Divine things; stripped of this, many of them are like Samson without his hair.
It is a great error for anyone to measure themselves by the measure of others, either by their perfections, or by their imperfections. For to conclude our estate safe, because we are not so bad as others, or unsafe, because we have not attained to the perfections of others, is alike dangerous: God will not proceed by this rule, no more should we; every man that appears before him, shall bear his own burden, and answer for his own sins.
Have a great and God filled day!