Galatians 6:11-18 • July 7, 2021 • w1334
Pastor John Miller concludes our study through the book of Galatians with a message through Galatians 6:11-18 titled, “Glorying In The Cross.”
6:11 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! 12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
As Paul closes his letter to the Galatians, he comes back tonight to his favorite theme, that is, the cross of Jesus Christ. Why is the cross so prominent in the book of Galatians? I don’t know if you’re new to the series tonight, and maybe you haven’t caught up with us, or maybe you haven’t been going through the Galatians study, but one of the central, if not the central, theme of Galatians is the cross of Jesus Christ. A lot of people wouldn’t really know that or think about that, but you go through Galatians and almost every chapter Paul has something to say about the cross of Jesus Christ. Here’s simply the reason why, because false teachers, known as Judaizers—Jews who professed to be Christians, who were really false teachers—had come into this church in Galatia telling Gentile, non-Jewish believers that you can’t be a Christian unless you are circumcised and become Jewish and keep the law of Moses and follow dietary rules and rituals. They were Judaizing the Gentile believers, and the cross of Christ was at stake—the finished work of Jesus for our salvation.
Paul saw it for what it really was, an attack against the cross, its sufficiency, and its centrality in the gospel message. You take away the cross of Christ, and you don’t have the grace of God, you have no saving power of God. They were enemies of the cross of Christ, so Paul talks so much about it.
I want to give you all seven references real quickly as I can, rapid fire, the reference and the text. The first reference to the cross of Christ in Galatians was in Galatians 1:4-5. If you can just write down the verses and nothing else, you can look them up, and I know that you will be encouraged by looking at them. In Galatians 1:4-5 it related to the cross and salvation. The second reference was in Galatians 2:19-21, the cross and the Christian’s experience. The third reference to the cross in Galatians 3:1-3, Paul used the cross as the central focus of his preaching. The fourth reference to the cross is in Galatians 3:10-14, that is, the cross and substitution—Jesus took our place and paid for our sins on the cross. The fifth reference to the cross is the persecution that comes with standing in the cross, Galatians 5:11, and we’re going to get it tonight in Galatians 6:12. The sixth reference to the cross is in Galatians 5:24, where the cross is tied into holy living and holiness. The seventh, which is kind of interesting in biblical numerology—God’s number of completion—is Galatians 6:14, we’ll cover this tonight, that Paul says we should be boasting and glorying in the cross.
Paul’s method of writing letters was that he would dictate them to an amanuensis, a secretary, an assistant, that he would actually dictate the letter to. Paul would speak, and he would write. It was done by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration.
Some people get confused. They say, “Well, the Bible was written by men, and it’s not really the Word of God.” This is how it works: God superintended the human authors so the very words they wrote were the words of God. It’s born out of an historical situation where Paul says, “Hey, there’s a bad scene in the Galatian church. The heretics have come in and the gospel is at stake, so I need to send them a letter,” so he had his secretary get out some papyrus and pen and started dictating the letter. It would all seem very natural, just Paul speaking, but Paul was an apostle called by God. The Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” so that’s what we call the doctrine of inspiration. The definition of it is that God superintended the human authors so that the very words they wrote were the words of God. God sovereignly made sure that what they said was exactly what He wanted them to say.
In Peter’s epistle, he said, “…holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” It wasn’t just dictation or like some voice coming into their head and they had to write it down, but it was just an historical situation where God was watching over that and superintending them. Each epistle has their own personality, their own style. When you read Paul’s epistle, you can tell they’re Pauline; or you can read John’s letters, and we know the way John wrote; or Luke or Matthew when they wrote their gospels. But God’s hand was on their authorship. Paul was dictating this to a secretary.
Why do I mention that? It’s because at this point in our text, Paul picks up the pen. Normally Paul would only sign his name at the end of the letter and would dictate it. This time he actually writes it. Now, we don’t know if he wrote the whole letter to the Galatians because of the importance of the subject or if he just began in verse 11 down to verse 18. Needless to say, Galatians 6:11-18 is an epilogue of the book of Galatians. It’s actually just a wrap up of the book of Galatians. One author that I read in his commentary referred to it as a resume (I like that) on the book of Galatians. Paul takes all the themes of the book of Galatians and writes a short little resume in his epilogue as he wraps up the series. Obviously, he’s writing. Look at verse 11 with me. Paul says, “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.” Notice that, “…mine own hand.” It could be that Paul wrote the entire book of Galatians, or more likely, and this is where I would kind of lean toward, that Paul is actually writing from this point on, that he takes the pen and writes the epilogue to his letter to the Galatians.
When Paul says, “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand,” Galatians is only six chapters, so it’s obvious he’s not talking about the length of the letter, it’s a short letter. It’s not a 1 Corinthians or 2 Corinthians or Romans, it’s a shorter letter. What is Paul referring to “a large letter?” He’s probably referring to the font or size of print or the handwritten size of the letters that he actually wrote. Some other modern translations catch the gist of this when it’s translated, “See with how large letters I have written unto you with mine own hand.” Most Greek scholars believe that it’s a reference not to the length of the epistle but the size of the letters. This would be consistent with what Paul said earlier in Galatians 4:15 where he said, “…if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.”
It’s hard to understand why Paul would make a statement like that unless Paul had bad eyes. Paul was most likely a man whose eyes were starting to give out. In those days, they didn’t have a lot of modern medicine and things like that. People would go blind quite readily. Paul’s eyesight was going bad, and he said, “You would give me your own eyes because you loved me so much.” It’s very possible that Paul was writing in large letters because his eyesight was bad.
Another theory, and I like this as well, is that Paul was writing the epilogue in large letters because of the importance of what he was having to say, so he’s writing for emphasis. We might do that big capital letters with an exclamation point, underline and point arrows to it, and happy faces around it; so Paul is writing and wants to emphasize the importance of the doctrine by writing these large letters. It indicates the importance, perhaps, of Paul’s words in closing this epistle.
There are three things that Paul does by way of outlining this closing of Galatians. First, he summarizes the letter, verses 11-16. Second, he makes an appeal that’s personal, verse 17. Thirdly, verse 18, he pronounces a benediction or blessing on the believers there in Galatia. Let’s look first at verses 11-16, this resume or summary of the book of Galatians. Follow with me in verse 11. He says, “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. 12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh,” he’s referring to the false teachers, which is the whole reason he wrote this letter. He says, “What they’re trying to do is basically show off and display the circumcision of your flesh.” “…they constrain you,” pressure you, “to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should glory,” they glory in your flesh and in their flesh, they’re legalistic, “save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule,” the rule of the emphasis being on the new creation, that you must be born again. That’s the only thing that really matters. He says, “peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
Under this summary, which is the better part of this epilogue, Paul is warning, first of all, verses 11-13, about the false teachers known as the Judaizers. We won’t spend much time on them, but they were, again, Jews professing to be Christians that were actually distorting the cross and the gospel of grace. They were basically saying, which a lot of people say today, that it’s not enough to just believe in Jesus, you have to also do to be saved. When the gospel says, “Done. It is finished. Christ paid it all on the cross,” these legalists say, “Well, you have to be baptized,” or “You have to worship on a certain day. You have to follow certain dietary laws. You have to wear special clothes and do certain things,” and “Do these rites and rituals, if you’re going to be saved or go to heaven.”
The Bible is actually very clear that we’re saved by grace through faith; and our salvation is not of ourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. I’ve said it all the way through the series on Galatians, I’ll say it again. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone—through faith alone, nothing more; through Christ alone, nothing more; by the grace of God alone. That’s how a person is saved.
True saving faith will not be alone, it will produce in the truly born again individual a life of holiness and godliness. It’s not perfection, as long as you’re in these sinful bodies, but it will produce a change. There will be fruit in a person’s life. If a person just says with their mouth, “I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ,” but their life does not show any evidence or indication of new life or conversion, then you have to question whether or not they’ve really been born again.
I can’t tell you how often people say to me, “Well, I’ve got a family member,” or “my dad or my mom,” or “my husband or my wife or my kid, says they’re saved, but they don’t show any indication that they love Jesus. They don’t read the Bible. They don’t want to go to church. They never talk about Christ. There’s no fruit in their lives, and it’s kind of hard to believe that they’ve been born again.” Those of you that have been born again, you know that your life changed, right? The things you used to love, you now hate; the things you used to hate, you now love, and your speech changes.
I remember when I got saved, one of the first things to change was words that came out of my mouth because Jesus said, “…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” When I got a new heart, new words came out. Someone said, “If it’s in the well, it comes up in the bucket.” Sometimes people slip and say a bad word in front of me, “Oh, Pastor John, I’m sorry. I don’t know where that came from.” I say, “I know where it came from, it came from your heart.” If it’s in the well, it comes up in the bucket. If it’s not in the heart, it won’t come out the mouth, so that’s why we need the Holy Spirit to regenerate us and give us a new heart. The Bible actually says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying,” one another. It’s really an oxymoron to say, “Well, I’m a Christian,” and then vulgarity flows out of your mouth. Something is wrong with your heart. You need to be a new creation in Christ.
Paul is dealing with these false teachers and said, “They like to make a show in the flesh.” Their whole focus is, “How many converts have we made to Judaism,” and the identifying mark of their conversion is circumcision, so they glory in their flesh. They’re trying to get people to follow after them and to increase their numbers and their ranks.
Do you know, the etymology of the word “heretic” actually means to divide and split. A heretic is someone who pulls people away from orthodox Christianity. They’re always trying to prey on a true church to follow their false doctrine. They don’t go to cults to try to win them to their doctrine, they go to true Christian churches and try to pull them away. Paul is basically saying that they’re basically showing off and trying to impress people.
There are a lot of so-called ministers today that do the same thing. They try to impress others by the size of their congregation, the size of their budget, their television ministry, and what not. They’re pulling people after themselves, but they’re really just displaying their desire to glory in the flesh, not preaching the cross of Jesus Christ.
That word “constrain you” really means that they pressure you. No spiritual leader should ever resort to pressure tactics—to try to pressure people into following the things of God’s Word. “…they constrain,” pressure “you to be circumcised,” and the only reason they do that (end of verse 12) is that they don’t want to be persecuted, “for the cross of Christ.” The Scriptures are very clear that the cross and the doctrine of the cross run counter to the flesh and to the popular views and opinions of man.
When you become a Christian, you become a follower of Christ—you deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus Christ—the world is going to think you’ve lost your mind. Maybe you get saved at a young age, and your parents wonder, Why are you going to church so much? Why would you go on Wednesday night, what’s wrong with you? Only crazy people do that. Why would you want to be a missionary? Why would you want to give money to the church to expand the work? You need to do this and you need to do that. People think you’re crazy.
Taking a stand for the cross means that you will be opposed by the world. To preach the cross is to crucify the flesh. The world says, “I can do it. I got my act together. I’m strong. I’m self-sufficient. I can work my way to heaven. I can pull myself up by my own bootstraps.” The cross says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The Bible says, There is none righteous, no, not one.” The cross says we come with nothing in our hands, and we just receive what God gives to us freely. You know, sometimes it’s humbling when people give you something. It’s kind of humbling to our pride, “Well, I appreciate that, but I can buy my own,” or “I can work my own way,” or “I don’t need help.” You have to come as a dependent, humble child seeing yourself as a destitute sinner before a holy God; and you come with nothing in your hands to receive by faith and grace the work that Jesus accomplished for you on the cross. As we break the bread tonight and drink the cup, it’s all about what Jesus paid for us on the cross to purchase our salvation.
In closing, Paul says in this section, verse 13, “For neither they themselves,” that is, these legalists, “who are circumcised keep the law,” so they boast in the law, they get others to follow the law and put them under bondage to the law, yet they themselves do not keep the law. He’s basically saying they’re hypocrites, “but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.” The legalist glories in his flesh or his works or his own accomplishments. He doesn’t glory in the cross.
Paul closes in verses 14-16. He says, “But God forbid that I should glory,” except in one thing, in one area, “save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and it’s in the cross, “by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I,” am crucified, “unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature,” or creation. Verse 16, “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
We can spend quite some time, verses 14-16, but again we’re in this section where Paul is summarizing the book of Galatians and comes back to his main central theme of the cross. They glory in their works. They glory in their flesh. One of the marks of a true believer is that he has no confidence in the flesh, he worships God in the Spirit. So the focus isn’t, “Look what I’ve done,” or “Look what I’ve accomplished,” or “How awesome I am.” This is why a true Christian is humble. If you come a sinner and you’re saved by grace, you have nothing to glory in other than the work of Jesus Christ in your behalf. But these legalists are glorying in their flesh. Paul makes this fantastic statement that we’re so familiar with, “But God forbid,” it means perish the thought, may it never happen. I never want to turn away from the cross. “…that I,” personally, “should glory, save in the cross.” Paul says, “I only want to glory in the cross, not the flesh.”
Notice it’s the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and it has a two-fold effect—I’m crucified to the world, and the world is crucified unto me. He says, “When you become a Christian, circumcision,” verse 15, “isn’t what matters. What matters is the new creature.” Now, you can change that concept today and say, “What matters isn’t your baptism. What matters isn’t your communion. What matters isn’t your rites or your rituals. What matters is have you been born again?” Verse 15 is one of the most marvelous statements in the whole book of Galatians. Paul is saying, “What is really important is that you’re born again.” People say, “Well, I go to church.” Groovy doovy. “I’ve been baptized.” Big deal. That’s wonderful. “I take communion,” or “I’ve gone through catechism. I’m born in America. I eat apple pie with cheese on it.” Wow, you’re awesome. Are you a new creation? Have you been born again?
One of the most religious individuals, if anyone could get to heaven by being good, was Nicodemus, John 3. He came to Jesus and said, “What do I need to do to get into the Kingdom of God?” Jesus didn’t say, “What do you mean? You’re a leader of the Jews. You’re a Pharisee. You’re a teacher of the Jews. You’ve got it all together. Don’t worry about it, Dude, you’re in.” Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.” Literally the expression means born from above. It’s a spiritual rebirth. It’s not about your religious affiliation, your religious denomination. It’s not about your rites or rituals or what you’ve done or how good you’ve lived or, “I don’t smoke, and I don’t chew; and I don’t hang out with those that do.” It’s, “Are you a new creation in Christ? Have you been born again?” That’s all that matters. “Have you gotten new life?” The theological term for that is regeneration. It means that you’re made new and given new life by the Holy Spirit. It’s so very, very important.
Verse 16, “And as many as walk according to this rule,” he wishes, “peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” I’m not sure what he means by “the Israel of God.” Most likely, he’s talking about Jews who are born again and saved. Maybe he’s alluding to the fact that you don’t have to be circumcised to become a Christian, that spiritually you’re “the Israel of God,” the chosen of God. It could be that he’s talking about the Gentiles being the church. We’re not really sure. Needless to say, he’s talking about saved individuals. He calls them here, “the Israel of God.”
I want to focus for just a moment, before we wrap up our study, on the idea of glorying in the cross. The word “glorying,” verse 14, means to boast. It means to have joy in, to trust in, it’s that we revel in. I like that concept that we revel in the cross. It means to take great pleasure in the cross. Some people wear a cross just because it’s nice jewelry, but they’ve never trusted the Christ of the cross and been given new life or been born again to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Why should we glory in the cross? Let me answer that question. If you’re taking notes write these down. First of all because it’s the Person of the cross that we glory in, verse 14, it’s “…the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The first reason that we should glory in the cross, and this list could be quite long, is because of the Person of the cross. It’s the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the second member of the Godhead. He left heaven, came to earth, took on humanity through the womb of the virgin Mary—that which was conceived in her womb was the work of the Holy Spirit. He lived for 33 years as the God Man. He voluntarily went to a cross and laid down His life as the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins, was buried, and three days later He rose again from the dead. Now, no one else in history has ever done that. No other religious leader came from heaven, left the first Person and the second Person of the Godhead, was conceived in a virgin womb, lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary death, rose from the dead and then ascended back into heaven. Jesus proved, by His very life, that He was the Savior of the world. He became our Prophet, our Priest, and our King. Why would we glory in the cross? Because it’s the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world that came to die on that cruel cross. What makes the cross special is the fact that the Son of God died for us on that cross.
The second reason we glory in the cross is because of the purpose of the cross. Let me give you some of the purposes of the cross. First, it is the ground of our salvation. There’s no way that we could be saved apart from the cross. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “If there is any other way for this cup to pass from Me, let it be; but not My will, Thine be done,” there was no other way for God to redeem man other than in Jesus to die on the cross, so it’s the ground of our salvation. That salvation is described in these five words. I want to give them to you and try not to tarry on them. The first is justification. Justification is found in the cross. God declares us righteous, that we’re justified. The second word is propitiation, which is a forensic term, a legal term. It means to be pronounced righteous based on the finished work of Christ on the cross. It has the idea of satisfaction, but it’s not appeasement. It’s conveying the idea of the penalty of the law that’s been broken has been paid. The death of Jesus Christ wasn’t just for sinful man, it was for a holy God. It was Godward. This is the death of Jesus Christ, Godward. We don’t often think about this, but Jesus died to satisfy the demands of a holy, righteous God whose laws had been broken. You see, God can’t just justify the unjust and maintain His righteousness and His justice, that would be unfair. The law must be paid for; and it was, in the cross of Jesus Christ. It’s called propitiation.
The third word is imputation. That means God credits the righteousness of Christ to our behalf. It’s a banking term. He takes our sin and places it on Christ, so there’s a switch going on here. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” He imputes. You can’t understand the cross, you can’t understand salvation, you can’t understand the Christian life unless you understand the doctrine of imputation—God imputes, puts to my account, the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
The fourth word is reconciliation. It means to bring back together. When a husband and wife have been separated and get back together, they are reconciled. We’re separated from God, we’re estranged from God. This is how it works: God reconciles us, we do not reconcile ourselves to God. God reconciles us to Him by paying the penalty on the cross, so we are one with God.
The fifth word is redemption. These are the words of the cross. The word redemption means to be purchased and to be set free. We’re slaves to sin. God sent His Son to die for us on the cross to purchase us and to set us free—redemption.
Let me give you the second purpose of the cross. It’s the means of our sanctification. It’s the ground of our salvation, and it’s the means of our sanctification. Look at verse 14. Paul says, “…by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” This is another aspect of the cross that we don’t often think about. When you become a Christian, the world dies to you—all its glamour, all its glitz, all its glory; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life—and you die to it. John says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. They are not of the Father but are of the world. This is why when you become a Christian, some of the things you used to do before you got saved aren’t that exciting anymore. The places you used to go, the things you used to do. I won’t get too specific. I don’t want to freak anyone out. I could give you my little list, but I think it’s suffice that you know what I’m talking about.
I’m trying to resist going into detail. It says, “I don’t need that anymore. I don’t want to do that.” “Why don’t you come to the parties anymore? Why don’t you get drunk with us anymore? Why don’t you sleep around anymore? Why don’t you do what you used to do? You used to be such a fun guy.” “I got saved.” “Bummer! You’re a Christian? That’s too bad. What do you do for fun once you become a Christian?” The things you used to love you now hate; the things you used to hate…
I started going back to church. I couldn’t believe I was in church reading my Bible and liking it. The first church I went to was a little Pentecostal church. The youngest person next to me (I was 19, 20) was like 65. They got all excited, “A young person’s here! Not only that, a hippie young person.” They were just all excited, I was excited, and we’re fellowshipping and praising God. I didn’t care if there wasn’t anyone that looked like me, they were believers and we’re in fellowship. I couldn’t believe that I actually liked going to church. I actually wanted to read my Bible. I was dead to the world, and the world was dead to me. Now I wanted to live a life that pleases God, a life of holiness. How could we live in sin when it’s sin that put Jesus on the cross?
One of the many reasons for communion is to remind you that sin—your sin, my sin, our sin—put Jesus on the cross. How can you eat the bread and drink the cup and then go out and sin willfully when it’s sin that put Jesus on the cross.
I love the old song by Elizabeth Clephane, “Beneath The Cross of Jesus.” There’s one stanza that says, I take, O cross, thy shadow, For my abiding place; I ask no other sunshine than, The sunshine of His face; Content to let the world go by, To know no gain nor loss, My sinful self my only shame, My glory all the cross. What beautiful words. I’m content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss, my sinful self my only shame, My glory all the cross. That’s what Paul was saying in this text.
Thirdly, notice the reason for the cross is that it’s the subject of our proclamation. It’s the Person of the cross that makes us boast in the cross, it’s the purpose of the cross; and it’s the proclamation of the cross that is the central theme in what we tell others about—we preach Christ crucified. Write down 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Christian preaching, gospel preaching, has Christ in the center, His Person and work. Just because it says it’s Christian preaching, doesn’t mean it’s Christian preaching. It must be Christ crucified. That’s Christian preaching. You must preach the cross of Jesus Christ. He must be the center and the circumference of all true Christian preaching. Jesus said in John 12: 32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Jesus was referring to His crucifixion, His death on the cross. It also is true that if He is preached, crucified, the Spirit of God will draw people unto Jesus Christ. It’s so very important.
In closing, verses 17-18, Paul’s personal appeal is the second main division of this epilogue. He says, I love this, “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for,” reason, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus,” Christ. It’s almost like he’s saying, “You legalists, once and for all, just leave me alone.” They were attacking and opposing Paul. They were accusing Paul of a lot of horrible things. Paul says, “…I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” He’s talking about the scars the he bore for preaching Christ.
When Paul’s apostleship was questioned, do you know what he did to prove it? He took off his shirt. He didn’t show his muscles, he showed his scars—the whippings and the beatings that he endured for the sake of Christ. The Bible says, “…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Paul says, “Look, I bear in my body,” and it’s possible that there’s a play on words where the legalists were all about circumcising, Paul says, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” They’re the scars that tie him to His cross and the preaching of the cross. The mark of the Lord Jesus is not some rite or ritual that’s just in the flesh, but it’s the work of God’s Spirit in the heart manifested by the preaching of the cross, which brings me the opposition and persecution by the world.
Paul closes in verse 18 with his benediction. He says, “Brethren,” which is a generic term, by the way, which includes sistren as well, so ladies don’t be turned off by that. He says, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen,” so be it. Isn’t is awesome that Paul finishes this letter to the Galatians, which is all about the grace of God, all about salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, on a note with benediction of prayer, “…grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen,” not, “The law of Moses be with you,” but “…the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
In Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,” and we’ll go through Ephesians on Wednesday night. We’re going to go deep into that text. “…and that not of yourselves,” is not referring to your faith, it’s referring to salvation. Your salvation is not of yourself. It’s not by works, not by rites, not by rituals. “…it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast,” there’s our word. If you could save yourself, you got something to boast in your flesh. Since we cannot save ourselves, there’s only one place for us to boast tonight and that’s in the cross of Jesus Christ. Amen? Let’s pray.
Pastor John Miller concludes our study through the book of Galatians with a message through Galatians 6:11-18 titled, “Glorying In The Cross.”