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Thursday, February 20, 2020

2020.02.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Galatians 6:11–15

Questions from the Scripture text: By whose hand is Galatians 6:11 written? What difference is there in the handwriting? How does the apostle identify the person he’s talking about in Galatians 6:12? What are they trying to do to the Galatians? What do they get out of it? What don’t the circumcised do (Galatians 6:13)? Why do they want the Galatians circumcised—what do they want to boast in? What is the only thing in which the apostle is willing to boast (Galatians 6:14)? What has the cross done to the apostle’s desires for the world’s approval? What does the apostle have (Galatians 6:15)? What doesn’t do anything for him now? What does (cf. Galatians 5:6)? 
Whether we are rejoicing over our Christianity, or over someone else’s Christianity, the only truly Christian boasting is to be full to bursting with who Christ is and what Christ has done.

Not so the Judaizers, who were working so hard to see the Galatians circumcised. They were not spiritual men who were careful to depend upon the Spirit for their own crucifying of the flesh (Galatians 6:13, cf. Galatians 6:1-5). And their goal for the Galatians wasn’t their spiritual good either—just as long as they had some tradition they could be proud of getting the Galatians to conform to. And this particular religious tradition had the added benefit for them that they wouldn’t have to suffer so much from the Jews for the sake of Christ (Galatians 6:12). Let us beware of this temptation to follow religious practices that will make us more palatable to those who care little for the genuine miraculous work of Christ in us or others!

But for Paul, Christ Himself (and especially His cross) is just too glorious. How could he boast in something that came from himself? Or in something that came from the Galatians? Or, actually, in anything at all except the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ?! The apostle doesn’t mind if the world considers him dead to them—as many Christians often find their former families and friends treating them for Christ’s sake. He doesn’t need their approval, because the world is dead to him. He himself is a new creation that Jesus has made, and he is looking forward to the new creation that Jesus has earned for him and promised to him.

True Christianity is impossible. It absolutely cannot be done in the flesh. But it is also wonderful, because it is a miraculous work done by a crucified and risen Savior, who works in us by His Spirit. And, since it is something that Jesus does, it is sure to succeed. Why would we aim at anything less for ourselves or others?
What should you be giving Christ credit for in your life and in others’ lives, and what would that look like?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH338 “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”

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