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What We Have To Boast In

After six months, toady we end a journey through Galatians. Paul wraps up his letter to this church with some parting words to encourage them to follow Christ and not the false teachers that are causing them problems.

Paul seems to take over the writing of this letter himself rather than dictating it in Galatians 6:11.  Where Paul had earlier said that he would pluck his eyes out for the Galatians in 4:15, now he want them to See with what large letter I am writing to you with my own hand.  The best guess to why he is writing with large letters is that Paul cannot see as well as he once could due to his eyes never fully recovering from seeing the Lord on the Damascus Road.  It’s possible that this is the thorn in the flesh that Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 12:7.  Evidently these final thoughts are so important to Paul that he wants to put a personal touch to them as he wraps up his correspondence.

Paul gives, in verse 12, gives the reason why the false teachers want to follow the Law rather than the way of grace through the cross of Christ.  Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh to try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.  The Judaizers want the easy way out.  They know that they will be accepted if they teach the gospel mixed with Law.  If they adhere to the Law, they will be accepted by friends, family and countrymen.  They don’t want a relationship with Christ to affect their day-to-day lives.

The kicker is that, like most people who want to make rules and regulations for others, the Judaizers aren’t really keeping those rules they burden others with.  For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.  Paul knows from experience that those who try to follow the Law in the flesh are unable to do so.  These false teachers want bragging rights for converting others to the Law.

What does Paul want to do?  He wants to brag on no one that he has brought to the Lord.  He wants only to boast only on Christ.  But may it never be  that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  In other words, Christ is central to Paul’s life.

Paul then lays a bomb on anyone who has ever followed the Law or not followed the Law.  Circumcision is nothing.  For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.  Paul understands that while the Judaizers are wanting the Galatians to adhere to the Law that Moses gave, it is just as easy to go in the opposite direction.  it is easy to form law around uncircumcision.  One’s pride and boasting can be wrapped up in either area.  The way that has been revealed to Paul and what he proclaims is one of becoming a new creation where Christ supercedes both circumcision or uncircumcision.

Life is different for those who are a new creation.  And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.  The rule of new creation overrides that of any Law.  It allows Peter to eat with Gentiles.  It allows Circumcised and uncircumcised alike to join together.  The new creation does not limit the Israel of God to simply be a group born of a physical nation in the Middle East.

What are the results of this new creation?  From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on  my body the brandmarks of Jesus.  Paul doesn’t want trouble with anyone, but he knows it is a possibility.  He bears the marks of such a life.  This is what the Judaizers wish to avoid.  Paul will not gurantee any such life for the Galatians.

Paul leave the Galatians with what he has wished for them all along.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.

Takeaways

1.  Our tendency is to boast in our flesh about what we do for our spiritual condition.

2.  We do not want our spiritual lives to cause us any physical discomfort.

3.  We never follow the rules ourselves that we want to place on others.

4.  The only thing we have to boast in is Christ.

5.  We are new creations.  This overrides any law we can adhere to.

6.  Being a new creation changes our lives.

7.  We may pay a price for being a new creation.

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  1. davearnold16
    October 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Good stuff Larry. I love the book of Galatians. It’s so rich as well as giving us such a glimpse into Paul’s heart. You made some very good observations. I too love theology (per your About page). God bless and keep sharing your insights.

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