Galatians 6:11-18

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IT is important to bear in mind, in reading every part of the word of God, that there is nothing brought in without the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost. There is one particular passage in 1 Cor. 7 where the apostle asserts expressly, that it was not the Lord but himself who gives a certain judgment about the natural relations of believers. But even the apostle did not write thus without the Holy Ghost. He was inspired to say it was not the Lord but himself. Hence there is not the slightest contrariety, even in so exceptional a manner of speaking. Again, take the book of Job, where you have Satan speaking, as well as elsewhere. But then, while no intelligent person would assert that what Satan said was inspired, yet the writer of the book was inspired to give it to us perfectly; the writer was thoroughly led of God to present just so much of what those concerned said, good or evil, man, Satan, or the Lord Himself, as would accomplish the divine object in that writing. Thus there is no exception whatever in the Bible to the grand truth that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” This is not a mere deduction of man, but the positive doctrine of God Himself. Everything coming under the designation of “Scripture” (πᾶσα γραφή) is inspired of God. Such is the express statement of the Apostle Paul in his last epistle (2 Timothy), not limiting, I apprehend it, to what was already extant, but leaving room also for what was to be written; such as the Apocalypse. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” &c. Whether what had been given, or the little that remained in order to close the canon of the Bible, all was equally from God; not all is equally lofty in its character, not all taking the form of doctrine, not even all revelation-for revelation and inspiration are two different things. In giving the account of our Lord's life, the writers occasionally, of course, reported what they themselves saw and heard. It was inspired, but a revelation is that which man never knew. When the Apostle Paul says, It is by the word of the Lord I declare unto you, that the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout, that is not merely an inspired portion, but a revelation. So, of course, all prophecy is necessarily a revelation; and it was only in case of a positive revelation that there was any license to hinder a person who might be speaking; no matter how important what he was communicating, if something was revealed to another who was sitting by, he was entitled to stop the speaker. This is necessarily, it seems to me, at an end now. Revelation being complete, any attempt to act upon it would be not only irregular and indecent, but a virtual pretension to a new revelation, which is positively false, and a dishonor to the old. When there was still a part of the mind of God yet to be imparted, God maintained the sovereign right of His Spirit to introduce a revelation. But when all the mind of God was thoroughly revealed in His word, such a line of conduct would naturally terminate. Accordingly, although a person might have what was most truly from God, it would be his duty to wait till the due time came; flesh, Satan, might hinder, but God is above all difficulties. I make these general remarks in reference to the first verse, which comes before us.
It might seem somewhat surprising in an epistle so full of statements of doctrine, and appeals to the conscience and heart. In the midst of all this, the apostle says, “Ye see how large a letter I have written to you with mine own hand.” Or if you take it, as it may very well be taken, “Ye see with what large letters,” &c., it makes it still more striking. It was something unusual, even for the Apostle Paul. To write an important document was not common, save through a secretary; it was a trade or occupation to itself. Therefore it was the habit of those occupied actively and arduously otherwise, to employ some one to write for them. In this instance, however, the apostle wrote it himself, and, from not being used to writing, he drew attention to the large characters in the epistle. It was comparatively a short letter, but it was all written by him; and, from not being used to write his own compositions, the letters seem to have been in this large handwriting, executed probably with considerable difficulty to himself. For we must remember that there was a great difference in the facility afforded for writing then, and at the present time. But there is something connected with the manner and bearing of the whole epistle in this simple fact. It is not a mere isolated circumstance, but the apostle lays stress on it, because of the state and dangers of the Galatians whom he was addressing. The Holy Ghost led him out in the strongest and most ardent desire for their deliverance. He therefore put aside any thought of employing a medium between them and himself; no matter what the difficulty, he will write to them himself. On other occasions, he might employ Tertius; but the case in hand was so urgent, the question at stake so all-engrossing and momentous, that every other task must give way. It was an hour so full of grave peril, that he takes no account of time, trouble, or anything else. It was a testimony of his intense interest in these Galatian saints, and so much the more striking, because of the marked absence of his customary greetings of personal, brotherly kindness. There we have a beautiful confirmation of the remarkable way in which the Holy Ghost mentions facts that bear the impress of God's own mind, His care and love for His people, His deep concern in them. The apostle himself draws attention to the circumstances of this epistle. He had written by others, and to others far more freely; for, as I said before, there is not a single salutation in the epistle. Not that he was straitened in desire before God; but he could not let out his Christian affections towards them. There was that in their conduct which, though it might be mingled with good, was so disastrous and contrary to Christ's glory, that he stood in doubt about them; he hoped about them, and that was all. He had confidence in the Lord touching them; but if he looked at themselves-at what they were doing and saying-he had none.
The two facts, then,-the absence of personal salutation, and his writing the letter himself,-both bear a remarkable testimony to the manner of God's love working through man's heart. All the mere interchange of the fraternal amenities is at an end. People would have said, How unkind of Paul! But brotherly kindness is not love, though people often confound them. Had the apostle, as things were, sent friendly messages to one or another, it would have been merely human, and not of God. He could do that in writing to the Romans, and even to the Corinthians, but not to the Galatians. What an idea this gives of their state! And yet there were to be greater abominations than these: things incomparably worse must creep in, but these were reserved for John. And though of all others, he was (may I say it?) the conspicuous champion of love, yet so far was John from direct personal references in his first epistle, that it is not addressed to an assembly at all, but introduced without heading in the most general form; and therefore it is commonly called a catholic or general epistle. It was perhaps so written that it might be pre-eminently a sort of circular letter to the whole Church. I gather from this, that where there is that which touches the work of Christ, as in Galatians, or the person of Christ, as in John, all personal considerations must give way. As the Lord, in His final mission to Israel (the seventy, Luke 10), forbade the disciples to salute any man by the way, so here the Spirit carries out something analogous, because Christ's glory was at stake, and the foundation of all blessing was menaced. Another thing to be observed is, that the children of God generally do not understand how the mingling of the law with Christ lies at the root of a thousand difficulties. It is a rare thing to find a Christian who is not in principle where the Galatians were. In the present state of Christendom, we have been all trained to it from childhood. We shall not find it only in particular spots, here and there, but in one form or another it is the universally prevalent, the settled, chronic, fatal complaint in Christendom, insinuating itself into men's thoughts and ways, and everything.
Having so spoken, with that remarkable abruptness which marks his character-for we must all have noticed the exceeding rapidity of transition from one subject to another which so frequently characterizes the writings of the apostle-he turns to the subject that agitated his spirit, and sums up in these last verses both the danger and the blessing. “As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.” He does not mind what people may say. They might call it imputing motives-but no matter. It is in vain to deny that legalism fraternizes with the world, and loves its own ease, loves present reward, boast as it may of piety: it is after all only a desire to make a fair show in the flesh. This is very important; because, I ask, What is it now that men look for, and that men would be gratified with? If you had all the world attending churches and chapels-persons walking soberly and in a decent, orderly way otherwise, what universal rejoicing over the improved state and prospects of Christendom! And what would all this be in the sight of God? I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that if there were no more, it would only be “a fair show in the flesh.” What we, as Christians, are entitled to look for, and what we ought never to be satisfied without, is, that souls pass from death unto life-that souls should be delivered from the power of Satan and be translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son. Until they have passed the boundary, from the regions of men into the presence of God, what has been done that could be a positive ground of Christian joy and thankfulness? It is not a question now merely of society or the world. We know that the world is under condemnation-that ever since the cross of Christ, judgment has been impending, as decidedly as after a criminal has been tried and found guilty; as he is waiting in his condemned cell for the sentence to be executed, such is man's condition. Do Christians realize it? Most imperfectly. If they did, could they be upon common ground with the world? Could a person go into the convict’s cell and talk to him as if nothing were the matter? We must think such a speaker destitute of all right feeling. So it is in a far more awful way than the execution of a single criminal. We know well that in the day which is coming, there will be no escape then and for eternity. “As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot: they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” God looks that all His children should bear their testimony in the world that they know from Himself that all hangs on the uncertainty of a thread; that judgment is suspended over it; that Christ is ready to judge the quick and the dead. He awaits the will of His Father. All simply turns upon that. But we are told and know that He is coming, and coming shortly; and we wait for this. Yet in the midst of this scene of a condemned world, with the Lord coming to execute judgment upon it, there is such a thing as a number of souls who have passed through the faith of Christ into life everlasting, and who know it-at least who ought to know it. They belong to Him who is going to judge, not to the scene that is going to be judged.
What is the effect of all this? They have in spirit abandoned the circumstances in which men are striving to keep up a vain show; they have repented towards God; they have bowed down to the Savior, the Lord Jesus, and have found eternal life and peace in Him. All is settled between their souls and God. With Christ the light, the truth, the life, the fair show has vanished. And while this great transaction is going on, a large part of the world seek to be as religious as they can; i.e., to reconcile religion with the world. And as the effect of this strategy of the enemy, and of their own unwatchfulness, very many of God's children descend to it, because great names are there, appearances are there, and even the word of God may be quoted to show that it is right to walk there. This is commonly done by taking what God says to Israel (who were God's people after the flesh, governed by the law), and applying it to those who are God's people now, called to walk under grace and Christ alone, who have the Holy Ghost that they may walk in the Spirit, and not yield to anything of the flesh. The mingling of the two things beguiles Christians into what is after all only the religion of the flesh. They think that an earthly system of religious forms must be right now, because it had His sanction in the Old Testament. They see that God acknowledged “a worldly sanctuary” once, and they reason thence for all times and places. Thus they get drawn into the “fair show in the flesh;” the more easily, as it habitually entails an absence of persecution, nay, credit with the world. People are sensible that you cannot raise the world to walk with you above its own level of sight and reason. But the moment you come down to meet the world, you are off Christian ground. A new nature is required. Faith is indispensable. The world has not this, You must descend to the world's path, if you will take common action with the world. It is not that the world becomes Christian thereby, but that Christians thus become worldly. Such is the only issue of the attempt to join Christians with those that are not Christians in the service and worship of God.
Hear the solemn sentence:-"As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised, only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.” They want you to submit to these religious forms. The reason is that they dread suffering for Christ. The cross is the term of the old world, where the flesh was acknowledged; and the introduction of the new state of things where nothing but what is of the Holy Ghost is of value in the sight of God. He shows that selfishness, after all, is at the bottom. When persons are walking with the world, there is never an easy conscience. Nothing so much pleases the world as to get real Christians to walk with them. How humbling is the success of Satan in this; for what God called out Christians for is to manifest a people happy in Christ, and yet having nothing but tribulation in the world. I am not speaking now of our common, every-day trials. If saints do foolish things and suffer from them like others, they have their share of the results of their own folly. But there are the trials that come upon a Christian because he is a Christian—to be despised and rejected, evil spoken of and calumniated, because he walks with God and has taken the side of God against the world; because he is a sharer of Christ's cross and waits for His glory, refusing therefore not only the world's bad but its best things. This it is that the world is so angry at. They may talk about the faults of Christians; but were the same faults committed by the world, how soon and easily they would be got over! But where it is a Christian, there is that which makes them feel that, though the person may be weak and foolish, yet there is a something above the world; and it is really this which makes them uneasy. If the Christians in question here would only have submitted to be circumcised! But any one could be circumcised, even if unconverted. Only take a pledge with a worldly man, and he will be pleased, because you come down to a level that he can occupy with you. I am not meddling with the world's trying to reform the world; but I have much to say about the sin and the shame of Christians joining with the world in their efforts to stay the plague by means of man's promises and vows. It is altogether false ground and contrary to the gospel, which starts upon the utter badness of man's nature. Whereas the moment you do a work to improve that nature, which the worldly man can equally do (and he can sign the pledge as well as you), it is plain that you have reached ground where the Christian gives up Christ as his one divinely-tempered weapon for dealing with man in the flesh, and is gone back to the bow and arrows, if I may so say, of moral restraint. Indeed, I cannot but view it as a lower thing even than circumcision, which was the type of a most blessed truth-the entire putting away of the flesh. But when Christ died, all that had been merely types, and had entirely failed as adequate remedies, were buried in His grave; and now he is risen and there is a new life in resurrection, which has nothing to say to the old, save to mortify it. The reality of life has come out, and this what the Christian has to do with now. Christ has become his life and his object too. It is the great object of the devil to get Christians to write some other name along with Christ on God's children: so that no matter what it is, whether you take circumcision as a type of spiritual blessing, or the mere natural moral restraints of the present day, it is altogether a mistake as to the object for which God has called us in this world. The Christian is outside that sphere; he is called into the place of grace. The magistrate's place is not one of grace, but of government, which, of course, calls for the punishment of evil. That is not grace. Grace is not this, but “If a man smite thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other also.” There would be an end of all justice if magistrates were to attempt to act thus. But while the Christian has no business out of the place of grace, he is bound to respect the government, and never to speak loweringly of dignities in the world. The better he knows his own privileges, the more he can afford to maintain the honor of the magistrate. He owns it so much the more, because he does not covet it himself. He has a much better place himself; but if he know the secret of his own joy and liberty in this world, let him at the same time acknowledge the higher powers which God has ordained in earthly rule. When persons are in the same sphere, there may be more or less rivalry: people prefer to rule other people rather than to be ruled themselves. But when a soul is entirely delivered from the world, he can the more heartily own what is of God here below, and see the wisdom of His order there. It is on this ground that the Holy Ghost always presses the Christian's obedience of the law, and honor to the king or other governor he may be under.
But to return to our subject. The apostle further shows that, after all, these zealots for circumcision did not keep the law. They only observed it in part, with no little inconsistency, however hot their feeling against the advocates of Christian liberty. This is always the case. Those who insist on the perpetuity of the sabbath, how do they keep it? It is not only that they never heed the true day; but supposing the Lord's day were really the same as the sabbath, do they observe it according to the law? Not at all. They will tell you that Christianity, besides changing the day, has modified the mode of its observance, that the gospel mitigates the severity of God's law, &c. If this be not to make void the law through unbelief, it is hard to say what is. I deny their facts, doctrines, and conclusions. Christianity, so far from attenuating the law, or reducing its sanctions, is that which alone gives the law its full value-"By faith we establish the law.” (Rom. 3:31.) The doctrine of faith, instead of weakening the obligation, illustrates and maintains it to the utmost. But the establishment of the law, of which the apostle speaks in Rom. 3, has no reference whatever to the question of a rule by which the Christian has to walk. The chapter treats of man's ruin and God's righteousness, not of practice, and shows that faith upholds the authority of the law in the cross of Christ, which owns man's just and total condemnation, and is the basis of divine justifying righteousness, which is revealed to and becomes the portion of the believer. The law's curse fell upon Christ, which has thus been magnified to the uttermost, its full sentence having been exhausted upon the head of the Son of God. Hence, whether you look at God or man, or the Savior, faith establishes the law, as nothing else could. But as to the Lord's day, far from being the same as the sabbath, it is the first day of the week, not the seventh, and rests on quite different foundations. When you come to test the would-be teachers of the law, their zeal is soon seen to break down in practice; and they are easily convicted of introducing changes and modifications in order to suit the tithe, country, climate, and people; i.e., to suit themselves in the things of God. This theory of mitigation, and of a flexible law, can never stand a fair scrutiny. On the other hand, those who hold that the Lord's day is a new thing, in no way connected either with creation or with the law, are under no difficulty; because they see that the same God who sanctified the sabbath originally, and gave the law to Israel, was pleased to put special honor on the first day of the week, in commemoration of redemption accomplished—of the death and resurrection of Christ; but they see it as having its own proper character, and not as confounded with the sabbath. The Lord's day calls for no mere rest which you may share with your ox or your ass; and so far from its due honor consisting chiefly in bodily quiet, I believe that if a Christian were on that day enabled to walk twenty sabbath-day's journeys on special services for the Lord, he would not only be at liberty to do that work, but that it would be most acceptable to the Lord. Each day is separated from other days by divine authority; but in other respects they differ as decidedly as law from grace, or the old creation from the new. “For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law, but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.” That is most true in the present time. The truth is not the test in the religious world, nor Christ Himself, nor His service. Refuse their party or their idols, and be prepared for reproach, calumny, scorn, and hatred. Yield to their Judaizing, and you may hold blasphemous doctrine with impunity as far as they are concerned. Touch their abuse of the law, and their cry is, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” The law is their Lord yet more than Christ. I am now alluding to a literal fact in the most popular organ of the so-called Evangelical, but in truth a legal, party of the day.
And now the apostle, having spoken of the evil, turns to the blessed side: “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.” They were glorying in what would exalt human nature; because in that way they could get the world and its multitudes to unite with them. In chap. 3 the cross of Christ is viewed as deliverance from the law, because Christ was thereon made a curse for us. A man who believed in Christ, who owns Him as the Son of God—would you deny that he had everlasting life? But unless such an one receives the doctrine of the cross intelligently, and applies it to his position, he is still more or less under the law, and does not understand that he is completely brought out of the old condition of things into a new ground.
In chap. v. the apostle applies the doctrine of the cross to the flesh, and shows that they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Here I find that my flesh is a thing I am entitled to regard as done with before God, no less than the law. Now, in chap. vi., comes in the third thing, the world. You have a regular gradation—freed from the law, which would affect the conscience of a godly person; then, when a man is free from that anxiety, comes in the question of the flesh, with its affections and lusts. But fins, he is told, was all judged in the cross of Christ. Therefore, as a part of the comfort God gives me, I am entitled, as a matter of faith and not of mere feeling, to know, “They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts.” It does not say, “They are crucifying it,” as if it were something going on; but it is done in receiving a crucified Christ. In God's sight, and now to faith also, their nature was nailed to the tree, and is done with before God; and now they have got a new nature: as Paul says, “Not I, but Christ liveth in me.” The old nature that we have still exists, of course; but to faith God has already done with it in the cross of Christ; so that the business of the Christian man is to occupy himself, not with mere restraints, but with Christ; which fills the soul, by the energy of the Spirit, with all that is good, draws it out into what is lovely, and, in short, is the true power of Christian holiness. If a man is occupied with what is good, he will hate his flesh; but it is only occupation with Christ that gives the soul power thus to put the sentence of God upon the flesh. Now comes the third and last thing in Christian experience; for you will find men who know somewhat of deadness to the law and to the flesh, but who still think that it is the duty of the Christian man in this world to serve God in his generation. But how would God have Himself to be served now? Never by anything that contradicts the cross of Christ. The service of the Christian is to be founded on the cross: and what does the cross declare about the world? That it is now at open war with God. Ever since the cross of Christ, God has no alliance with the world. Before that the world was allowed: and therefore it was not wrong for Joseph to be governor in Egypt, nor for Daniel to sit in the gate of the king of Babylon. But it is utterly ignorant to reason from what was tolerated then to what pleases God now that the cross of His Son is a fact.
God does not ignore the cross, if Christians do. The very same cross of Christ that is my salvation, my deliverance from the law and the flesh, shows me that I have no part with this world, save as a blessed stranger passing through it. We may have occupations that are all quite right; but that is not at all what you can call a thing of the world. The Lord lived here, died here, rose here, ate and drank in this world; but He never was of the world: and so it is and should be with the Christian. Our Lord did not form such a part and parcel of this world as that His appearance in it or departure from it ruffled the stream for a moment. He would not have been missed in the world; and the moment that a Christian becomes an integral part of the motive power which carries on the wheels of the world, all is out of course, as far as his allegiance to Christ goes. A Christian ought to be the means of constant blessing in this world. But how and of what character? Bearing the testimony of Christ, of his Savior; but as He never sought His own things—was always doing good, yet doing it as the will of His Father—always acting upon motives that were not of the world, but from above—never uniting with men's plans for the purpose of bettering man, but realizing that the world was God's enemy, and yet that God's love was sending Him into it to do them good; such was Christ, and so should it be with the Christian. A Christian's business is to be the epistle of Christ. So that the one clue and test for what comes before a person is this: will my doing this or that, be acting as an epistle of Christ? But in order to know what is consistent with an epistle of Christ, I must search His ways in the words of the Holy Ghost. There is always light in Scripture to show what is His mind for the present moment, and what it is that has passed away with the olden time, which belonged to the law and the world and to Israel, who were God's ancient witness in the world. But the Christian is the present witness of Christ, and is not of the world, although in it. This is the great means of trying our ways, and thus finding out how far we glory in the cross. That is, you have them on totally opposite principles. The cross of Christ is that which first of all crucifies the Christian to the world, puts him entirely outside it as one saved out of it; but also the world is crucified to him. There you see the world with all its unremoved guilt, ignorant of the Father spite of the coming of the Son. So there cannot be the least common ground between a Christian and the world; any more than there could be for this country if it were at open war with any of its neighbors. If this be true, does it not show how little God's children realize their Christian position, as thus defined by the cross of Christ!
Peace made by the blood of the cross is more or less preached: but as to the moral power of the cross and its bearing upon the law, the flesh, or the world, there is hardly an atom save in the way of motive. The consequence is, that such Christians can, with a good conscience, talk about the cross, and, at the same time, still maintain what God has already judged and put away forever. Hence the importance of full Christian deliverance is unknown—the ground-truths which ought to be understood by the babe. For the Epistle to the Galatians does not take up the highest branch of Christian truth, but rather the indispensable foundations of Christianity.
The apostle now begins in another point. To speak merely of being crucified to the world would not have been enough. There is more than that in Christ. “For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” People may boast about their forms or their no forms, but whatever it may be, it is all wrong, unless you have got positive, substantial blessing from God; unless you have the cross of Christ and the new creation. As a Christian, I belong to a system already set up in Christ, in the presence of God. I know what my new nature is when I think of Christ. I see Him risen from the dead and in glory; the perfect delight of God and of all who surround God. And there all Christians are going to be, and this in substance they have got now, the Holy Ghost Himself being the earnest of glory. For it is not merely what they are going to shine in, but we have the blessing before the blessing is manifested. The Christian possesses the new creature in perfection in Christ. “He that hath the Son hath life.” It is called here the “new creation,” because it is not merely looked at as life found, but contrasted with the old, which had to do with the world. This implies not only the person, but the work of Christ. The grand work of redemption was accomplished; God's law had its free course, and righteousness established; the voice of condemnation never to be heard again by virtue of the cross of the Just One, who had suffered for our sake. But then He was risen from the dead, and had entered upon a new and blessed existence as a risen man before God. And this is the nature which He communicates to us. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” The consequence is that, having died, but being risen, He communicates that very life which was in Him. “I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it more abundantly.” The more abundant life is this “new creature,” or life in resurrection.
“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” In the first expression, “as many as walk according to this rule,” he specially looks, I think, at the Gentile believers, such as the Galatians were. “This rule” is the rule of the new creation—Christ Himself. He adds, “peace be on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” The only part of Israel acknowledged consists of the real believing Jews. “Israel of God” seems to be not used here as a general phrase for every saint, but for the believing ones in Israel—those who had repudiated their own works and found shelter only in Christ Jesus... Two parties are spoken of, and not one only. “As many as walk according to this rule,” are rather the Gentile believers; and the “Israel of God” are the Jewish saints, not the mere literal Israel, but “the Israel of God;” the Israelites indeed, whom grace made willing to receive the Savior.
He then adds, “From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Their fleshly wisdom had brought in confusion and every evil work, law instead of love, questions about his ministry, &c. “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” He had been scourged and put in prison. What mark of indignity had not been put upon him? These (not circumcision) are “the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Just as a slave in olden time used to bear the name of his master burnt into his flesh, so, he means, he bore in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Let others bear or seek what they may, these are the marks that I value. They were the sufferings that he had endured for the sake of Christ and the gospel. Nothing more sweet and touching, but at the same time what a sweeping condemnation of those self-exalting men who took their ease in the presence of one whose life was suffering for Christ! “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” It is indeed most gracious and dignified. He asks not that they might feel the thunders of that law under which they desired to put themselves; but that “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ should be with their spirit,” showing how thoroughly he felt the vantage-ground which grace gave him—how he could meet all these attacks upon himself—how he could point to the scars of his honorable warfare, if they talked of their circumcision, though he would boast of nothing but Christ's cross. Our wisdom is Christ, as our folly is ourselves. The Lord grant then that we may learn better to know our true wisdom and to walk in it; and, while holding fast the truth, that we may desire earnestly the blessing of those who oppose it, and seek the deliverance of every soul around us. The Epistle to the Galatians is the death-blow to the religions world, root and branch, as it is to the revival or continuance of the same system, which the Apostle Paul was there so strongly denouncing, and which he shows to be the enemy, not of the saints only, but of the cross of Christ.
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