Paul is giving instructions to the Galatian Christians about how to live with each other as Spirit-powered people in Christ. In the previous verse, he told them that when one is caught by sin, others should step in to help restore that person to walking by the Spirit again.
Now he tells them, and by extension all Christians, to help carry each other's burdens. Notice what this means: Being in Christ does not mean we won't have burdens to carry in this earthly life. We will. One of those burdens is the weightiness of our temptation to give into sin, and the heaviness of trying to get out of it. Paul wanted us to share that burden and not battle sin and temptation on our own.
The term used here by Paul is instructive. He describes these weights using the Greek term barē, which in New Testament use applies to something excessive or extreme in its weight (Revelation 2:24; Matthew 20:12). Later, Paul will use a different term, phortion, which is used for more-manageable burdens (Matthew 11:30; Acts 27:10).
We carry other burdens, as well, and sometimes we go through seasons where those burdens are too much for us to haul around. Such burdens might include relationship issues, financial problems, illness, indecision, or emotional difficulties. God's Spirit certainly gives us the power to deal with these issues, but another way God intends to provide for those in Christ is by giving us the ability to help each other.
One way we can fail in this area is by refusing to allow anyone to see the burdens we are carrying. We can mistakenly think that being a Christian means we should be self-reliant in every way, all the time. In a few verses, Paul will write that we do need to carry the weight of our responsibilities in Christ. But Christians are also meant to help each other with the loads we carry when they become overwhelming.
How does helping to carry each other's loads fulfill the law of Christ? Paul earlier quoted Jesus in saying that the entire law is fulfilled in one word: love (Galatians 5:14). Love is the law of Christ.
The command here to carry burdens for one another is about the willingness to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), and carry out this truth-speaking with great understanding.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Galatians 6:2
#1 “Carry each other’s burdens,”
Starting with empathic concern for the pain and trial of a brother or sister, when we join Jesus’ Church, officially in membership in the local church, or unofficially in the universal brotherhood with all Christians in the family of God, we commit to a certain responsibility to one another. We love one another. We care for one another. And in this verse, we will consider that God wants to speak to our brother or sister through our confrontation of them in their sin and possibly through church discipline.
#2 “and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
If the law of Christ is to love one another as he has loved us (Jn 13:34), then this is a neglected, but necessary way to fulfill that law. Gentle restoration of a dear brother or sister in sin is a most loving action. It requires us to first die to our people-pleasing, and then to our self-righteousness. We take on responsibility to one another in this way, but not for one another. Ultimately, God is the one who is responsible for them. We are not tasked to change the heart of another, only to be used by God in his plan to change their hearts. If we get confused on that issue, we will take on God’s burden instead of our own. This is too heavy for anyone but God to bear, and we will only attempt it out of our own self-importance, a trap that will harm both the brother in sin and bearer of the burden.