Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:36-58
Galatians 6:11, 17-- Paul’s concern affected his life, it’s not just words.
Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Large letter—letters, refers to the size of the characters, not the size of the epistle. Own hand shows his concern, didn’t have someone else write it. Might also refer to closing written in his large print for emphasis. Trouble—argue my apostolic authority, I have the proof of it in my body. Marks—wounds, scars, brand.
As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
In the flesh—outward appearance, for reputation, They want a visible marker you are on their side so they can feel good about themselves. “See, we’re good Jews!” and thus avoid persecution for the cross.
Keep the law—circumcision does not lead to justification.
Glory in flesh—patting each other on the back is enough, why bother keeping the law? Ceremonial conformity.
--Most religion is nothing more than a mutual admiration society. They start with their distinctive rule keeping, letting you know that’s the whole deal for them.
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.15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Glory—no way will I boast of what is external, what I have, am, or do.
Crucified to world—externals don’t matter in my stand before God, what matter is if you are a new creature. No avail—no profit, nothing solid there. They are nothing. New creature—one who knows God, one who sees all things new, one who sees beyond the physical to the spiritual.
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and [namely] upon the Israel of God.
This rule—standard, straight edge carpenter’s tool. glorying in cross of Christ not physical ceremonial conformity. Israel of God—true sons of Abraham by faith.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith
Excellency—superior, supreme, above all others. Knowledge—experiential, to know Him and all He went through. Counted—considered, thought of as. Later all things were loss, not just in thought but in reality.
Win—if you win Christ, you lose all else. Dung—not really loss, because when I see what that stuff truly is in comparison to Christ, it’s throwing out dog poo!
Of the law—external, approved of by others and done for their approval.
By faith—a fountain of righteousness within me granted by God received by faith.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Perfect—fully mature, a true sign of maturity is realizing you’re not perfect! Paul is mindful of what he has not yet apprehended more than what he has.
Otherwise minded—pursuing other things besides excellent knowledge of Christ, those stuck trying to make external shows of righteousness. Walk the same way and walk that way together. Already attained—don’t lose the ground you’ve gained. Keep it and keep going, all marching together for knowledge of Christ.
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look [eagerly wait] for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Followers—imitators. Destruction—loss, perdition, damnation. Belly—for happiness gotten by fulfilling fleshly lusts, sensuality. Mind—relish, desire, seek. Conversation—citizenship, making you a stranger on earth. It exists now in heaven.