Emphasize the Truth - Galatians 6:11-18

Emphasize the Truth

When I speak to my children, I typically change my tone or change the inflection of words to emphasize the importance of what I am saying. I tend to do this both consciously and subconsciously. My wife tends to point out that I mostly do it subconsciously when I am frustrated by something my kids have done and need correction.

When writing, we typically use certain punctuation, capitalization, underlining, italics, etc to emphasize words and phrases, especially when it is important. So true is this regarding the truth of salvation through Christ and the emphasis required to hammer home this point.  

Galatians 6:11-18
11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 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. 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon 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. Amen.

Paul sensed an urgency and a need for change in the Galatians. At the opening of the letter, he skipped his usual pleasantries and dove straight into the problem. Now, Paul closes out his letter to the Galatians with a personal touch. There is some debate on why Paul wrote so large, but this letter to the Galatians was written with importance and a sense of urgency, and Paul needed to emphasize the truth about being justified by faith. Paul wrote in large bold letters, similar to using ALL CAPS today. What he was writing about was of utmost importance to the church of Galatia. CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS AND ROSE FROM THE GRAVE, and all it takes is FAITH. There are no other requirements needed to gain eternal life except our hearts. Therefore, he points out that forcing the Gentiles to be circumcised and using their example as a trophy is wrong. The added requirements of their legalistic ways were clouding the truth, and Paul needed to stop this, and he did so with an ‘attention-grabber’ as my kids call it, from their school. 

So, what can we take away from this? Christ does not require anything in addition to faith. It is by faith that we are saved. We need to be aware of legalism and how it can slowly creep into our lives and our churches. We are to keep it simple and keep to the truth, and we are to keep coming back to the cross as Paul does. Paul is telling us that because of the cross, the world and its sinful nature have lost all appeal to him. Because death has lost its grip on us, we are to find glory in the cross. There were not many things more humiliating than being crucified. But we can find glory in Christ’s cross and His crucifixion. The reason is that we know that the cross brought us the ability to have a personal relationship with God. Let us cast down the desires of the flesh and live as a new creation in Christ. Being led by the Holy Spirit and having an active daily walk with Christ is the ‘rule’ to which we are to measure ourselves. God’s Word provides us with our left and right limits. We will never measure up by our own efforts, but it is through God’s grace that we are given an undeserved gift. 

Paul says that he doesn’t need any credit for the work he is trying to do for Christians. All he desires is for the simple truth to remain the simple truth. Paul says that he has suffered for Christ. He has the scars to prove it. Despite his maltreatment, Paul remains sincere, patient, and steadfast, and he continues to persevere for the glory of God. 

Paul suffered for the sake of Christ’s name. He went through trials, but he pressed on toward the mark. He knew that eternal glory in Christ was far greater than any earthly or fleshly desires. Paul was passionate about ensuring the new Christians remained faithful to the truth about Christ. So, let us remain faithful to the simple truth in Christ and encourage others to do the same. Finally, Paul emphasizes that there are no additional legalistic requirements besides faith alone. It is only about the GRACE of our LORD JESUS CHRIST that makes salvation available to us. Nothing else.
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