What do you boast in? Is it some skill you have or knowledge you have obtained? Is it some kind of service you participate in or a job you excel at? Where is your boasting going? It is fitting that Paul brings up this subject as he finishes his letter to the Galatian church. Having rebuked them for being deceived into another “gospel”, Paul has pointed them again and again to the gospel of grace. No works, whether circumcision, the law, or anything, can save. It is only by grace through faith that one can be made right with God. Jesus Christ is the One who saves. It is because God’s mercy and justice met on the cross we can receive salvation. So, where is your boasting? Our boasting must not be of ourselves; our boasting must be only in the cross of Christ. Be warned: a good showing of the flesh, a works-salvation, is a no-show in the Spirit. The Judaizers boasted in the flesh and were trying to bring the church of Galatia along with them, saying circumcision was necessary for salvation. They were trying to make these Christians compromise with circumcision. Notice verse 12, that they were trying to force Christians to be circumcised “only in order that they not be persecuted for the cross of Christ” (v. 12). If they did compromise, they would be essentially saying they were ashamed of the cross of Christ and would be boasting in the flesh. How so? Because, by being circumcised, they were relaying works were needed for salvation. But Paul sets the record straight: “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…For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (verses 13, 15). Simply changing the outside does not change the inside. Where true salvation takes place is in heart transformation. By God’s grace, we become new creations. God gives us new hearts. With these new hearts, we no longer can truthfully boast in the flesh. Rather, the only thing we can boast in is the cross of Christ (verse 14). It is only because of God’s grace and mercy through Jesus Christ that we can have peace. Once we understand the gospel and respond in repentance and faith, we will see not to boast in anything except the cross of Christ. May we bear on our bodies and lives the marks of Jesus (verse 17). Let us boast in Him!
- In what do you boast in—your abilities, skills, knowledge, etc.? How does boasting in the cross of Christ and knowing God change all that?