Friday, 18 June 2021
“May 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.” -Galatians 6:14
The apostle Paul is a living example of true and faithful Christian living. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul was bold and confident enough to say to the Corinthian believers, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” He was able to do so only because he was firmly rooted in Jesus Christ. The Savior who shed His blood on the cross and the sacrifice that Jesus made for him, a sinner, meant everything to him. He realised that he no longer lived for himself but for the One who died for him. He confirmed it in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ: it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Paul wrote to the Galatians to warn them not to yield to false doctrines. False teachers stressed in the churches that they also needed to become outwardly Jewish in order to be saved. They wanted to boast in outward appearances and make themselves impressive in the eyes of men but Paul exhorted the believers to stand firm in the liberty by which Christ made them free and not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. He emphasized that there was nothing in this world worth boasting about except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was through the cross that the atonement for all the sins of mankind was made. It was on that cross that God made Him a sinner who had no sin, so that all who believed in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross could be made right with Him.
Paul considered himself truly crucified with Christ, and now raised together with Him; hence the obligation was on Paul to live a whole new kind of life. Paul was a learned man and had every right to boast about his worldly qualifications (Phil.3:4-6). But Paul says: "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ." (Phil.3:8) By his example he calls us to make the cross of Jesus our boast in life. As we make the cross our boast we see that our relationship with the world and its ungodly values and priorities diminish and the relationship with the One who died for us, His values and priorities increase in our lives. We need to be conformed to the cross of Jesus Christ in order to be dead to the evil values and priorities of this world. Paul did not seek the respect and honor from this world.
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) To live the “crucified” life, following Jesus daily is the lot of every believer. To such, there is no boasting except in the cross of Christ!
Think on: “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)