Summary: Paul warned people against the Judiaisers.
7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8 If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
Final Admonitions and Benediction
11 See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14 May I never boast of anything except 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 nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16 As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
A priest, a Pentecostal pastor, and a rabbi would get together two or three times a week to drink coffee and talk shop. One day, one of them made the comment that preaching to people wasn’t really all that hard; a real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another, and they decided to do an experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it. A week later they meet to discuss their experiences.
The priest has his arm in a sling and is on crutches. "Well," he says, "I went into the woods to find a bear. I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him, and he became as gentle as a lamb. The bishop is coming next week to give him first communion."
The Pentecostal Pastor is in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts. In his best fire and brimstone voice he proclaims, "WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don’t sprinkle, Amen! I went out and found me a big bear, and I began to PREACH to him from God’s HOLY WORD! But that ol’ bear didn’t want nothing to do with me. So I took hold of HIM and we began to wrestle - DOWN one hill, and UP the next and DOWN another until we came to a crick. So I quick DUNKED him under and BAPTIZED his hairy soul, praise Jesus! And just like that, he started speakin’ in tongues and praisin’ the Lord, HALLELUJAH! He went out and converted three MORE bears and a mountain lion!"
They both look at the Rabbi, who is covered from head to toe in bandages. Both his arms and legs are in casts, his face is bruised and scratched, and he’s hooked up to an IV. The Rabbi looks at his friends and hoarsely croaks, "I, too, found a bear and started reading Torah. He didn’t seem to mind too much, but when I tried to circumcise him ..."
In this week’s scripture lesson, Paul warned people against the Judiaisers. Judiaisers are those early Jewish Christians that required the gentiles to be circumcised in order to join Christianity. One of the reason is that they wanted to impressed the Jewish leaders that the Christians also go through the ritual of circumcision, so that they would be accepted by the mainline Judaism. Another reason is just out of their hypocrisy—they want others to submit to the Law that they themselves couldn’t fallow.
What’s dangerous about this practice is that it nullified the need for the death of Jesus Christ for our salvation. Paul said in the earlier part the epistle, Galatians 2:20, “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.”
Paul then wrote the conclusion of this letter by emphasizing that “neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!” Paul is saying that religious rituals don’t mean anything, by a new creation—a transformed life—is everything.
Then he said, “As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” The word rule here does not mean a ritualistic rule, but it is the word “Kanon” in Greek. So Paul is talking about the salvation through grace, not through works or rituals, is the very gospel, the Canon.