“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”. Galatians 6:14
Legalists in Galatia wanted to “make a fair show in the flesh” by bringing believers under the law through circumcision. If they could succeed in doing this they would see the submission as a badge of honour which they could wear with pride. In addition to seeking after their own glory another reason why they practiced circumcision was to avoid the persecution which followed the cross of Christ (Gal 6:12). “To advocate circumcision was to align the new movement with Judaism, a religion that had official Roman sanction, and therefore avoided persecution. The preachers Paul was opposing may have included the cross in their proclamation, but by adding the necessity of circumcision they avoided persecution” (Henry Morris). Paul’s response to this apostacy was emphatic, only through the new birth can a person be saved (Gal 6:15). As for glory, the only person Paul would glory in is Jesus Christ, the same should of course be true for us. The very best that we can bring to God are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) – as the old hymn goes; “nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the Cross I cling”. Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, let us boast of His glory, His majesty and His righteousness!
Paul continues, “by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world”. “Paul and the world could agree together on one thing: they didn’t like each other. “The world is crucified unto me”, means that I condemn the world. “I am crucified unto the world”, means that the world in turn condemns me” (Luther). We cannot walk with God and at the same time court the favour of the world, friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). As Christians we should be dying to self but be dead to the world. If something is dead to us (in this case the world) then it cannot influence us. However if we are allowing the Holy Spirit to rule and reign in us then we can influence the world and be the salt and light that we have been called to be. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world”. (1 John 4:4).
Once Jesus Christ becomes our Lord and Saviour we see the world for what it truly is – a filthy thing. Cast your mind back for a moment to the time before you were saved and recall how you viewed the world. Didn’t we think it to be so important? I suspect this was because our world back then revolved around ourselves! We had eyes but we could not see, blinded as we were by the god of this world, Satan. How wonderful it is for us now to be able to thank the Lord for removing the scales from before our eyes and showing us what the world really looks like. And all of this because of His grace, not because of any innate goodness in us (it doesn’t exist), but by His grace alone, Praise the Lord! Now that we have come to know the Truth let us not look backwards but press forward like Paul; “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). The world, that is to say sinful humanity, is making it very clear to us how they feel about God, let us make it equally clear to the world how we feel about Him! Is that an “Amen!” I hear?! I hope so! Let us speak the truth in love so that these lost people may also come to know how great our God is and how much He loves them and wants to reconcile them to Him through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
As we have noted before, we are ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and we serve Him in a foreign realm. However this realm is not some neutral kingdom that we can snuggle up to, it is a realm that is openly hostile to our King and wants us to conform to its worldview much like Babylon wanted to conform Daniel to its customs. News events this week confirm to us what we already know to be true, that the Enemy is intensifying his attacks on the Church to the point where it is now deemed criminal for us to hold some of our Biblical views. In the midst of this adversity let us keep our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus and love and serve Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
“To live to serve men is one thing, to live to bless them is another; and this we will do, God helping us, making sacrifices for their good. But to fear men, to ask their leave to think, to ask their instructions as to what we shall speak, and how we shall say it – that is a baseness we cannot brook. By the grace of God, we have not so degraded ourselves, and never shall”.(Spurgeon)