Monday, May 6, 2013

The end of Galatians

11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
Galatians 6:11-18

Well, it's been a while since I did a post on Galatians...I feel the need to do a quick recap.  This school year, at Northland, we've been going through a portion of the book of Galatians every week.  The reason Paul wrote this letter was because the churches that he established in the region of Galatia in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) had people known as the "Judaizers" who had infiltrated their churches.  They were teaching that in order to be in a right standing before God, a new Christian should be circumcised.  Paul rightly sees this as compromising the gospel...so he quickly writes this letter of rebuke to the churches.  He explains to them that they had been set free from the law...and that returning to the law would be to say that Jesus' death on the cross was not enough.

The portion of Galatians that I have posted above is of course the last passage of Galatians that we went through.  I would like to share some of what the speaker today said...it was a great blessing to me...

Vs. 12 gives us two purpose statements for why the Judaizers had told the Galatians that they needed to be circumcised.
1.  To make a good showing in the flesh.
     They wanted to promote themselves.
2.  To protect themselves.
     They knew that they would be persecuted by other Jews if they rejected the law...
     They did not want to face this persecution...
This led them to promote a false gospel...a gospel of works by trying to keep the law...

Vs. 13...this very law that they were trying to get the Galatians to follow...they had broken...they were hypocrites...

Vs. 14...how important is the gospel to me?
    The Judaizers were trying to promote themselves...whereas Paul promoted the cross...
    Why would he promote the cross?  The cross had been his (and our) saving...

Vs. 15
    External marks don't count in creation...what matters is whether we're in Christ...
    This is why Paul boasts in Christ...

Vss. 16-17
    There are marks that DO county though...and those are the marks of suffering...
    The very marks the Judaizers were trying to avoid...were the marks that counted...
    We should not be afraid to suffer for the cause of Christ...

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