Monday, July 4, 2016
Why we Should Boast as Christians
As for me, however, I will boast only about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; for by means of his cross the world is dead to me, and I am dead to the world. It does not matter at all whether or not one is circumcised; what does matter is being a new creature. As for those who follow this rule in their lives, may peace and mercy be with them — with them and with all of God's people!
Galatians 6:14-16 (GNT)
Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, is railing against the false teaching in the early church, also known as the Galatian heresy. There were Christian preachers who were Judaizing, teaching that Gentile converts to Christianity must first submit to the Mosaic Law, for instance undergoing circumcision, before being baptized in Christ. Upon hearing this report, Paul writes a letter correcting those in the church of Galatia. In chapter 6, the conclusion of this letter, Paul writes of a beautiful truth regarding Christ’s love.
Paul’s message not only applies to the early church, it applies to our modern faith and worship as well. Many times we, too, are duped into thinking that we are not good enough for God’s love. This false logic can lead us to a neo-legalistic way of thinking and behaving. Through our pious actions, then, we can get a false sense of being better suited for God’s love. Remember what John says in his first letter: “We love because [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Paul reminds us to boast only in the love Jesus offered on the cross, not any other worldly offering or way of behaving. What matters, Paul reminds us, is Christ’s recreating us into “a new creature," Jesus conforming us to himself through baptism, faith, and cooperation with his love. Paul states that “it does not matter at all whether or not one is circumcised” (15). Although he is contextually preaching against the false teaching of the Judaizers, Paul is thematically reminding his readers of the importance of God’s freely-given love offered for each of us on the cross. The world and its many offerings mean nothing, Paul says. Jesus’ salvific love, on the other hand, means all.
May the peace and love of Christ be with you all.