Paul brings Galatians to an end with notes of exhortation and encouragement and, yes, warnings and challenges. As a good parent, he also manages to tell them in no uncertain terms not to make any trouble for him any longer, the parental "Enough!" Let’s begin with exhortation and encouragement. In keeping with the theme of walking according to the Spirit, that is, enacting the love of neighbor and the love of God. Paul asks that when we find a brother or sister engaged in a transgression, we correct each other in a Spirit of gentleness (6:1). Paul adds, "take care that you yourselves are not tempted" (6:1). This spirit of gentleness is essential to the Christian walk, which does not imply a lack or directness or forthrightness, and must be enacted at all times. So often groups or factions of Christians play a game of "Gotcha!," delineating the many sins of "conservative" or "liberal" members of the Church (or whatever other group is not sufficiently "Christian" or "Catholic"). A "spirit of gentleness" would go a long way to open communication and genuine koinonia amongst those of us who are members of the same family. We might also remember that Paul warns against dissensions (dichostasiai) and factions (haireseis) in 5:20. I have often wondered what Paul means when he says, "take care that you yourselves are not tempted," interpreting it generally to mean "don’t be tempted by the sin you find your brother or sister engaged in." But I wonder now if he means "don’t be tempted to correct your brother and sister in a spirit of superiority and condescension and not gentleness." Paul adds that we must "bear one another’s burdens" and so "fulfill the law of Christ" (6:2). Some scholars in the past have tried to delineate an actual "law of Christ," that is, a code of Jesus’ rules and regulations, but I think Paul, perhaps tongue in cheek given all the discussion of "law" in this letter, is simply encouraging us to walk according to the Spirit, according to the law fulfilled by Christ, according, that is, to Christ himself. It is essential in this walk for Christians to "test their own work" (6:4), for Paul says we "reap whatever (we) sow" (6:7) and so must "not grow weary in doing what is right" (6:9). "Whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith" (6:10). Paul consistently, at the end of Galatians, speaks of the need to work for our own good and that of the entire Church, and those outside of the Church. He takes this opportunity to enjoin a faith that works, that does, that reaches out to others. There is no question that this all comes in the context of a continued warning against those who would call for circumcision amongst the churches of Galatia (6:11-16). Paul takes a last opportunity to state clearly that "neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!" This "new creation" is the transformed disciple of Jesus Christ, the one who follows in faith and so enacts the love of God and neighbor that is incumbent upon us. Paul wishes peace and mercy upon all those who follow this ’rule" (kanon), which alerts us to the seriousness with which Paul understands his epistolary directions, and to the Israel of God. "Israel" could, of course be seen as the Church, the "new Israel," but since Paul has already wished peace and mercy upon the Church ("those who will follow this rule"), I believe he is offering a blessing of peace and mercy to Israel, the Jewish people. However Paul understands the blessings and mercies of God now poured out on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, he would never abandon his people or propose that God has abandoned them. God has not and will not, though Paul will struggle elsewhere to explain what he sees as the mystery of the Jewish response to Jesus (Romans 9-11). Finally, Paul states that no one is to make trouble for him, for he carries the "marks" (stigmata) of Jesus branded on his body. These are not the stigmata as will be understood in the medieval period, but simply the wounds all over Paul’s body that he has suffered for his faith in Jesus Christ. Perhaps he is arguing that they mark him as the slave of Jesus, in a formal way, or perhaps Paul simply wants to say that these are the marks of one who follows Jesus. At any rate, they are the sign of fidelity to the cross. They are a sign of a faith lived fully in the body of Christ. They area sign of the salvation Paul has found in Jesus Christ and not through the law. John W. Martens