This is the final message in my series on the book of Galatians. Paul has handwritten an entire book of the Bible defending the message of grace and the finished work of Christ on the cross.
When he puts his finishing thoughts together, he boils it down to the motives of those that opposed grace, the place where he places his trust, and what, when it has been all said and done, knowing what is truly important.
So let’s take a look at what Paul ends his letter to the Galatians with.
The Boasting In The Cross Of Christ Bible Passage
11 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! 12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Why Boasting In The Cross Brings Persecution
Paul says that those that are opposed to the message of grace and the finished work of Christ on the cross are so opposed because they do not want to suffer persecution.
So this brings up the question as to why the message of grace and the finished work of Christ on the cross would cause persecution.
In the beginning of this series on Galatians, I shared a quote by Martin Lloyd Jones. It reads,
if we didn’t get complaints that we’d gone too far and said too much, then we probably haven’t really preached the Gospel of grace.
The biggest reason that the cross of Christ brings persecution is that it flies in the face of human reason.
Human reason and our fleshly nature wants to earn God’s favor. That is the power and spirit of religion.
Every human religion, including many of those that have Christian trappings, is man’s attempt at pleasing God.
When you preach grace and the finished work of Christ on the cross, it goes against man’s fleshly nature in wanting to earn or perform something in order to gain God’s acceptance.
It really is a trust issue.
The flesh wants to trust in itself and grace demands you trust in God.
The second reason is that when you trust in your works and performance then you have a litmus test or way to compare your heights of spirituality against others.
To the level that you perform or obtain, that level gives you something to boast about and be prideful about.
Instead of developing a sense of gratitude towards God for His unfathomable riches, you develop an attitude that demands you be rewarded because of your performance and works.
Why Does Paul Boast In The Cross Of Christ?
Paul boasts in the cross of Christ because it places the focus where it should be.
Instead of avoiding persecution and confrontation, which places the focus on what others think, he places his focus on what Jesus did.
When Jesus said “It is finished”, it was finished.
It is Jesus and only Jesus that should get the glory for what was done, not our human achievement or intelligence or strength.
Paul also boasts in the cross because he knows that no matter how much we try to be holy, how much we try to perform, how much we try to live up to the standard of God’s law, we fall short.
This falling short happens not only before we accept Christ but it also happens after we accept Christ.
So our only hope is in the grace of God that was freely offered and freely received because of the cross of Christ.
So he preaches and boasts in the cross of Christ and nothing else.
1 Corinthians 2:2
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
The Cross Of Christ Makes Only One Thing Matter
So in the end, what really matters?
Does your performance matter?
Does your lack of performance matter?
Paul says no!
The only thing that matters is whether or not you have become a new creation because of the grace of God that has been shed abroad in your heart.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
It all comes down to relationship.
Have you really entered into a trusting relationship with Jesus Christ and has He made you into a new creation.
Are you trusting in your religious works to get you to heaven or are you truly placing your trust in the Creator of the universe who has come and made His residence inside of you?
Is this passage in Revelation a reality to you?
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
Jesus is standing at the door of your heart and knocking.
Will you trust Him to actually treat you as a friend and not a servant, employee, or slave?
I am talking not only to those that have not yet started a relationship with Him but also to you Christians who still think you have to perform.