“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me” (John Newton, 1725–1807). I praise You, God, for Your amazing grace.
Read Galatians 6
Doing Good to All
6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Not Circumcision but the New Creation
11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to[b] 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 and sisters. Amen.
a Galatians 6:14 Or whom
b Galatians 6:16 Or rule and to
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPaul ends with grace (18) as he began with grace (1:3,6). Does grace mean something more to you now after this journey?
Galatians has not been a theological textbook to study, but a personal letter (11). So sometimes, when it really matters, Paul repeats himself. Circumcision is an external, human work (12). For us it’s a symbol for anything we think we must do to be saved. We also try to outdo the cross to avoid persecution (12b) and boast of our progress (13b), even if just to ourselves. But all it does is undermine our assurance and reveal our failure (12,13).
By contrast, the Gospel is about an internal, spiritual miracle of new creation (15). How can I boast in something I didn’t do (14)? Boasting is when you joyfully list your achievements. But the cross says I achieved nothing. Whether I’m relatively good or bad—circumcised or uncircumcised—there’s nothing I can do to save myself. I deserve God’s curse (3:13). So the cross is offensive (5:11), even to Christians. No wonder Paul has scars (17; 2 Cor. 11)!
But I will never stop boasting about a God who does everything for me. And when we get that, it brings peace and mercy to the community of God’s people (16). And the more we comprehend that, the more we will serve others with Christlike, servant-hearted, practical, costly love (1–6), without growing weary and fading out (9,10).
What do you consider your greatest achievements? Do you celebrate them or boast in them? Give them to God today to use for his glory.
All I have and all I am are Yours, God. May I live for the glory of Your name.