Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3
November 17, 2013
14 But God forbid that I should glory, 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, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From henceforth let no man 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.
1901 ASV Translation:
14 But far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16 And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17 Henceforth, let no man trouble me; for I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
- I. Paul's Method of "Life".
- A. Begins with the issue of Galatians: "Life" as an outworking of being given "glory".
- 1. The underpinnings of legal theology have, as their root, man's insatiable desire to "glory" in his accomplishments even to the degree that he insists that God accept his behavior.
- 2. Paul's admission that "glory" is a big issue means that "Life" is tied to whether, or not, "glory" is given and received.
- 3. The legalists seek to persuade the Galatians to be circumcised in order to "glory" in their ability to point to them as proof of their prowess.
- a. The accuracy of their "doctrine".
- b. The potency of their "persuasion".
- B. Puts its focus upon God's willingness to extend "glory" to men.
- 1. At the end of the day, it is not why the "glory" is given, but that it is given and by whom.
- a. The legalist is adamant that the "why" issue is foremost, but he/she cannot sustain that adamancy in the face of the fact that men really only crave "a high estimation of value of them in the eyes of others". It is enough that men are given such an estimation. Joy comes from being highly valued. It is simply ego that says the value must be tied to the self as the root cause.
- b. When a person has a high estimation in the eyes of another, the reason for it is not the real issue. In fact, it is a fact that those who marvel that another's high view of them has no root in what they have done are the most grateful and humble -- both characteristics make good relationships even better. Gratitude and humility are far easier to stomach than the "you owe me" mentality of hubris that "works" produce.
- 2. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is God's declaration as to the height of His estimation of our value. John 3:16 is a pivotal declaration and stands through the ages as the standard by which God operates.
- C. Extends its "process" into the impact of the cross: believers are in a condition by which the world "is crucified" to them and they "are crucified" to the world.
- 1. These "crucifixions" boil down to one reality: death. Being "crucified to the world" means I can not function in the world and "the world being crucified to me" means that it can not have any impact upon me.
- 2. That it is "crucifixion" that is the focus is rooted in the fact that Jesus was "crucified" and our participation is exclusively "in" Him.
- 3. The "validity" of these "crucifixions" are "faith based". This means that they only yield significant impact on current reality as they are believed. If a person is not persuaded, the behavior they exhibit is carnal and, ultimately, to be proven to have been "vain".
- D. Rests upon the foundation that the only effective relational methodology of Life is the reality of a new creation.
- 1. This is somewhat different from 5:6 where Paul said "in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love". In that text the issue is "what works?", whereas in this current text the issue is "what is?" The texts differ in that Paul was addressing the "process" in 5:6 but is addressing the actual "fact" of "crucifixion" and its impact in 6:15. Paul's current point is that believers have an actual, factual, basis for "glorying": the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The specific point is that this crucifixion separated the world and the believer by the imposition of death in both directions: the world was crucified "to me" and I am crucified "to the world".
- 2. The point is not that men cannot be dominated by "circumcision" or "uncircumcision" because every unbeliever is so dominated.
- 3. The point is that men who understand and believe in their identification with Christ cannot be dominated by circumcision or uncircumcision because they are actually and unequivocally united to Christ in such a way that they can no longer do what "circumcision" and "uncircumcision" pushes them to do. When their bodies actually do those things, it is clear that it is not "they" who do them, but "Sin" that dwells in them (a distinction that Paul made twice in the crucial text of Romans 7:17-20).
- a. This is a crucial distinction. Some would say, "Look, if it comes out of your body, it is you who is doing it", but that is defeated in two ways: first, if what comes out of my body is really me, then the credit can never go to another and I can glory in my flesh; and second, if what comes out of my body is really me, then the Spirit of God is doing absolutely nothing in my body and is a totally unnecessary gift of God.
- b. This crucial distinction exists because it is the root of our "faith" and our "faith" is what actually controls what comes out of our bodies. If it is not really "me", then I can rest in the promise of God to dominate my existence with His Life and, in that resting, I can actually be involved in a body that does "good".