Galatians 6:14 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.
We have little grasp of the absurdity, on the face of it, of speaking of “boasting” in the cross, but Paul’s immediate readers understood it very well. Movies give us a picture of crucifixion but it is a sanitized one at best, because the Romans generally didn’t waste any clothing on someone they were crucifying. Such a horribly cruel execution was the furthest thing possible from something to “boast” of. However, the cross of Christ was the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for us. What Paul was boasting of was how much God loved him, and each of us. What he continues to say is also vitally important. It is actually a restatement of something he said earlier in the same letter: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) The cross is really our only hope of living truly holy lives, because death is the ultimate answer to temptation. Through His cross Jesus took the penalty for our sin, so we are freed from it. It is as we allow that cross to be operative in our lives that we are freed from the power of sin, even in this life. It is as we graduate from this life to the next that we are freed from the presence of sin. That’s what Paul was talking about with “the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”
I am as much in this process as anyone. None of us has anything to boast of except God’s overwhelming, amazing, grace and love. If I forget that even for a moment I fall into pride and hypocrisy. Those who look at me and think they could never be like me don’t know that I am just like them, apart from the grace of God. My calling is to be a witness of Christ, by His Spirit. (Acts 1:8) If I try to do that on my own, my flesh gets in the way and I make a horrible mess of it all. If I rest, relax, and rejoice in God’s grace and love toward me, then that joy becomes a powerful magnet to draw others to Christ. I need God’s wisdom and guidance each moment, because He’s smart and I’m not, but if I will trust Him obediently, that wisdom and guidance are fully available. The biggest risk is of my thinking I’m doing it, instead of Him doing it through me. I’ve had more than enough of trying to do it myself!
Father, thank You for this reminder. I have no words to thank You enough for Your grace and love. As David said, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) Thank You. Praise God!