Summary: Exposition of Galatians 6:11-18
Text: Galatians 6:11-18, Title: A Parting Shot, Date/Place: NRBC, 8/19/07, PM
A. Opening illustration: Two ministers in a small town were openly critical of each other’s efforts and constantly opposed one another. After a joint meeting in which they planned a community-wide effort, one took this parting shot at the other, “We’ll just go out from here and continue to do the Lord’s work, you in your way, and I in His.”
B. Background to passage: These final verses of Galatians are very different from Paul’s usual closings. There is no greetings passed on to various individuals, no prayer requests, no doxologies, and it is quite long, except maybe in comparison to Romans 16. And besides all that, Paul goes back to the heart of the letter with the issue of works salvation and circumcision vs. glorying in the Christ and justification by faith alone. Erasmus said that there is just a much fire in the closing as in the beginning of the letter where he pronounces anathema upon angels and even himself if they or he preaches another gospel. There are also a couple of unusual statements in these verses that are interesting to bible students, one at the beginning of this text and one at the end. So the end of Paul’s letter is made up of a last word against the Judaizers and their teaching, then a different from usual benediction. One pastor after having preached through Galatians asked the question of the congregation: how do we tell if the message of Galatians has begun to take root…
C. Main thought: So in the text tonight, we will have a reminder of the wrong mindset and the right mindset, as well as a blessing upon those who agree with the truth of the gospel.
A. The Wrong Mindset (v. 12-13)
1. After Paul makes this strange statement about the size of the writing of his own hand, He goes right for the jugular of the Judaizers by exposing their true motives for what they are doing. And in doing so he does not question all of their sincerity, but shows some underlying motives that are in direct opposition to the true cause of Christ. The first motivation given of these Judaizers is that they want to make a good showing. They are out to gather the praise of men, not of Christ. They are running a popularity contest to see how many accolades they can heap up for themselves. They fear rejection of men, not God. The second motivation given which is still somewhat related to the first is that they push circumcision in order to avoid persecution. They are not willing to take up the real cross because it is too heavy and burdensome. They where trying to make the Christian faith look ecumenical with Judaism, so that the Jews wouldn’t persecute them. They were too cowardly to stand on the gospel, offend the Jews, and suffer the consequences. The third motivation to brag or boast in their new converts circumcision. They were counting scalps. They had confidence in their outward religious rituals, so they kept good statistics.