“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”
– Galatians 6:14-15
An edited entry from this morning’s journal:
The false teachers want to boast in the flesh of the Galatians, that is to say, they want to glory in / put glad confidence in the fact that the Galatians have been brought under the yoke of the Mosaic law through the rite of circumcision. But Paul says that he will not even entertain the idea of such “boasting” in anything except for the cross of Christ (that is to say, the crucifixion of Christ, or—to draw out the personal element—the crucified Christ).
Paul will place no confidence in the flesh or anything that the flesh can work or do (and by “flesh” I mean anything apart from the Spirit of God), rather, his only confidence, his only glory, his only spiritual boast is in the crucified Jesus, through whom the world—and all of its demands and accolades and hierarchies and expectations—was crucified to him, and he was crucified to the world. Again, as with 2:20, Paul’s point is that he no longer lives but that Christ lives in him as he lives by faith in Christ.
But then notice why Paul says he boasts only in the cross,
“for neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”
The implication here is that Paul boasts only in the cross because all that matters is “a new creation,” and this happens only when we are crucified with Christ by grace-given faith in Christ.
To be united to Christ by faith, and so to have been crucified with Him, and so to have risen with Him, is to truly be—in our spirit now, in our whole selves at the resurrection—a new creation. We have becomes sons of God through faith, filled with the Spirit of the Son, hidden in and united to the Eternal Son, and this all comes because we have been crucified with Him and raised with Him.
This is all that counts before God. This is all that matters before Him. Are we in Christ or not? Are we trusting wholly and only in Him? Is our old, righteousness earning self crucified and buried with Christ? And is our current life of right-standing before God carried out only by faith in the one who loved us and gave Himself for us and rose again? This is what it is to be a “New Creation.”
One last note…in 5:6, Paul said that only “faith working through love” counted for anything…..so, what “counts”? New Creation or faith working through love? I think the answer is simply that if we are new creations in Christ, then we will be marked by faith that bears the fruit of love. If we have been crucified with Christ and if He is living in us by the power of the Spirit of sonship who has been given to us, then we will walk by the Spirit, we will seek the things of the Spirit, we will more and more gratify the desires of the Spirit—which is to say, we will be marked by faith working through love….
The cross of Christ….the cross of Christ…..where our old self was crucified along with all the allure of the world…the cross of Christ where our old world died, where—in a very true sense—the world ended for us, judgment day happened, the sky went black, the earth dissolved, and we–Christian–were damned as we deserved….condemned in the flesh of the Beloved Son.
And then, with Christ, we rose again to new life as a new creation. Spiritually Speaking, this has happened and the life we now live in the still-to-be-redeemed flesh is lived by faith in the living Son of God, in whom we are hidden, who loves us and gave Himself for us.