“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—for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”
There’s no other reason or motivation for doing so.
“Only in the Cross.”
The Apostle Paul had known “success” in his life—at least from the world’s perspective. He was a Roman citizen from birth (Acts 22:26-29), which made him a member of the “elite” ruling class and afforded him special privileges. Likewise, from a religious standpoint, he had the right pedigree, education and “faith-fervor” that put him at the top-of-his-class (Phil. 3:3-6).
But, after his Damascus Road experience (Acts 9:1-9), his life, purpose, priorities, passions, etc., were all changed. No longer did he pride himself in his abilities, achievements, accolades and others’ applause; instead, it was all about Him—Jesus, the Risen Lord (Phil. 3:7-14).
That’s why his epistle to the churches in Galatia—the central part of Asia Minor where the Celtic tribes settled after their conflicts with the Romans and Macedonians—is a defense of the Gospel of salvation by faith. Although we don’t know exactly where these churches were in that region, we do know they were under attack from the Judaizers. . .those professing Jewish-Christians, who insisted that even born-again believers should continue to be circumcised, observe the feast days, etc. . .IF they were “truly saved.”
Paul recognized this as an “adding to” the Gospel and basically “salvation by works.” Thus, he vigorously defends “salvation by Grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9) and reminded his readers (and us) that we should only “glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Anything else detracts from His sufficiency and leaves one confused and in spiritual bondage.
The Greek word “kauchaomai” is used here for “glory” and basically means “to boast, vaunt forward, rejoice over, etc.” Thus, it’s the basis for one’s praise or ecstatic exuberance. And, it doesn’t take us long to realize why Paul came to the conclusion—especially when we remember where he’d come from in his own life.
Oh, dear Pilgrim, Judaizers are still around today. We just call them by different names; however, like Paul, we should beware of those who “preach any other gospel” (Gal. 1:6-9; 3:1-5), for they stray from the simplicity of the Gospel and the sufficiency of Christ.
It doesn’t matter how smart we are. . .how strong we are. . .or how wealthy we are. . .for such “worldly assets” will all succumb to “rust, rot and robbers” one day (Mt. 6:19-21). What matters is “understanding and knowing Who God is” (Jer. 9:23-24)—and there’s no better/other way to do so apart from “Christ and Him crucified.” When “the Cross and the Risen Christ” are the center of our Message and Motivation, then nothing else matters (Mt. 6:33). What matters is that “anyone who is in Christ is a new creature/creation and everything is changed” (II Cor. 5:17). Hallelujah!! Why not share that with someone today?
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated November 5, 2009