Summary: We are told what really counts. Paul closes the letter to the Galatians with his own hand and using large letters. It would be like using bold print in an email. It is his way of saying pay close attention to this section of the letter.
Some things are simply more important than others. When you receive junk mail do you give it the same importance as priority mail? I use a different wake up call system when I have an early morning appointment that is really important. I may set two alarms if I do not want to be late under any circumstance and there have even been three alarm appointments for me before.
In the realm of our spiritual lives there are some things that really, really matter. We are told what really counts. Paul closes the letter to the Galatians with his own hand and using large letters. It would be like using bold print in an email. It is his way of saying pay close attention to this section of the letter.
See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.
So what doesn’t count? Even in this section of great importance Paul tells us what, in the realm of religion we need to pay little attention to, it does not matter.
We need not give importance to outward impression. Paul makes sure you know that your spiritual life is not about being seen with the right people. It is not about good impressions in the realm of the spiritual. It’s about what is going on inside.
When we do things that make others think we are great Christians, and our hearts are far from God that’s hypocrisy. We don’t want to be like a shinny apple that looks beautiful and is rotten on the inside. God is not concerned about outward appearance.
Certainly when our heart is right with God it will affect the area people see. Paul has made that point with his spiritual fruit analogy in that we will see a life of patience, peace and gentleness. Be sure to put the horse before the cart. Focus on your inward relationship with God. It is not about the outward things.
You might impress man by outward appearance. If you carry the right Bible, dress nice and attend prestigious church meetings that might make a good impression. But don’t neglect what really counts, your relationship with God, your prayer life, time in God’s Word. It is more important to have a pure heart before God. The Pharisees tithed, fasted and prayed publically and missed the point.
Christianity brings a sense of inner peace but it doesn’t keep us from persecution. Paul talked about people who act the way they do to avoid persecution. If standing up for truth means persecution then we must stand up for truth. We are not called to sidestep persecution. That is not a priority for Christians.
We are called to stand for truth and if that means persecution then so be it. Our faith might become as Paul says the cross of Christ is an offense. The cross will be an offense to a lost world. Some are saved and grateful others are hardened and resentful.
The cross is an offence because it confronts of with the fact that we are sinners and helpless to save ourselves. It confronts us with the fact that we must repent and put our faith in Jesus Christ. But if the cross causes offence and even means we are persecuted then let it be so. We are not called to sidestep persecution.
14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
What really counts? The cross really counts. The only thing we boast in is the cross? Boast in a cruel instrument of torture? We boast in what was a common way of executing criminals in a horrible degrading death. Boast in that? Yes.
The cross is the power unto salvation and our only hope for eternal life. The cross demonstrates just how far God will go to save us. It’s more than just that blood was shed on the cross. It’s whose blood, the Son of God that makes the cross a source of boasting.
The cross is the central point on human history. Through the cross the world no longer has a hold on us. What really counts for us is the cross.