by Wayne BarborThe Cross Crucifies Us Too
What a message we have to share with the world! The message of Grace is the only message! Religion is not what Christianity is! Christianity is a relationship with the living God through His Son Jesus Christ. It all goes back to the cross. In fact, the whole message of the book of Galatians could possibly be summed up in the message of the cross. In the closing statements of this great epistle Paul says in Galatians 6:14: "But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
The cross is the message of not only Christ dying for us on the cross, but is also of our dying with Christ and being raised to walk in the newness of life. The hinge of the whole epistle to the Galatians is v. 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 delivered Himself up for me."
Paul's answer to refute the error of the Judaizers that were plaguing the Galatian believers was simply to preach the cross. The cross is where the flesh-and all it's efforts to justify itself or to earn a right standing with God-was put to death! The Judaizers did not have a leg to stand on when the message of the cross was preached.
In the last part of v. 6:14, the message of the cross is clearly defined. Paul says, "through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." It is at the cross that we are separated through death to the world and all it's influences. Paul stands dead to the influence of the world that he was once such a part of. The phrase "has been crucified" is perfect passive: "I am in the condition that I'm in because of what happened to me back there at salvation."
The word for "world" has no definite article before it. It qualifies something, which the context defines as the world of Judaism-Paul's former world. Now it has been crucified to him. The Judaizers could not in the least tempt Paul to return to their world. It has no claim on him, and he has no attachment to that world anymore.
What was your world before you were saved? What was it that you received your praise and identity from? What claim do you think it still has on you? You and the world you used to know parted company when you put your faith into Christ.
The next sentence shows clearly Paul's point: "For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (v. 15). Circumcision means absolutely nothing towards salvation or sanctification for the Jew, while the Gentile has missed out on no blessings of God because he has not been circumcised. Trusting Christ is enough for both.
Believers are "new creations" in Christ. "New creation" is a wonderful term. "New" is the word kainˇs, meaning qualitatively new-something never seen before and which will never cease to be new. New forever! Now, put this "new" with the word ktÝsis, "creation." KtÝsis refers to that which is created, but the emphasis is on the process of creation, not on the finished product.
Now, look at the context again: "But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (vv. 14&15). The process of making a new creation in Christ will never change or be replaced. The only way we are new creations is through what Christ has done in our hearts. We are products of the cross. No effort of the flesh can produce new creations. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, when it comes to producing new creations.
Paul is just summing up what he has been teaching all through Galatians. He has taught us that it is only through our dying to the Law that we can become new creatures and live unto God. Remember back in 2:19 when he spoke of his own conversion? "For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God." Aorist indicative active. Paul turned his back on the Law, knowing it could not save him, no matter how many laws he obeyed. It was at that time, when he only trusted Christ, that He was crucified to that world, which trusted only obedience to the Law as the way to earn righteousness.
Galatians also teaches us that it is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we are made new creatures in Christ. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (3:26). There is no other way. This will never change.