Galatians: Paul's Letter of Freedom - May I Never Boast of Anything Except...
My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. 2Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. 3For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. 4All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. 5For all must carry their own loads.
6 Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.
7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
11 See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! 12It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body.
18 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
We come to the end of Paul’s letter to the Galatians this week where we discover that Paul ends his letter in a similar way to how he began it. Instead of ending his letter with a lot of encouraging words and greetings as he does many of his letters, he comes to the end of his letter still concerned that the Galatians understand the true Gospel—our relationship with God is made right through Jesus Christ, not through practicing the OT law (circumcision).
In v.14, Paul writes: “May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ …”
Paul doesn’t boast in the miracles of Jesus Christ. He sure could have—his miracles of raising Lazarus and feeding the 5,000 were really something!
Paul doesn’t boast in the teaching of Jesus Christ. He sure could have—the Sermon on the Mount is the greatest sermon every preached.
Paul doesn’t even boast in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He sure could have—the empty tomb is why we’re here.
Paul could have boasted in a lot of things about Jesus. But he writes: “May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ …”
Why did he boast in the cross?
It’s all about one word—love. The love that fulfills the law of Christ is a certain kind of love. The cross shows us what kind of love it is.
It’s a love that puts the needs of others above one’s own.
It’s a love that is willing to suffer.
It’s a love that is sacrificial.
It’s a love that gives and gives and gives.
It’s a love that is not about me.
That’s what Paul wants to boast about. That’s how he wants to live.
Everything else the world thinks is valuable, like circumcision in Paul’s day, means nothing compared to this.
There’s one thing worth boasting about.
The cross of Jesus.
Go boast in the cross by loving the way Jesus does.
May the Spirit guide you in the freedom his love gives you.
For a creative hand-illustrated story of Paul’s letter to the Galatians check out this video from the Read Scripture ministry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmx4UjRFp0M&t=265s
You can listen to this past Sunday’s sermon here.