But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.Galatians 6:14(NASB)
Paul was passionate for His Lord and equally passionate that we understand and apply the truth of the whole counsel of God, but he knew that many would be tossed about by the chill winds of deceptive doctrines and that many false teachers and doctrines of demons would enter the Church to confuse the flock, to lead astray and entice many to return to the path of legalism and worldly pursuits.
Paul wrote six passionate chapters to expose the dangers of legalism, to explain the delights of the gospel of grace, to equip the saints to recognise deception, to exhort against the self-exultation of ill-taught men, and to encourage believers to apply the truths that he himself had received from the Lord, and had painstakingly taught to them.
Near the conclusion of His expose on the dangers of legalism and the glories of grace, Paul nails his whole argument on the Cross of Christ. He explains that the gospel is being distorted by the boastings of man who, in their pride, seek to draw other believers back under Law, which was nailed to the Cross of Christ at salvation. It is so much more acceptable for prideful man to do SOMETHING to add to Christ's work on Calvary: 'For if I keep some man-made rule,' we argue, 'what wonderful credit I will receive!'
If my old, fleshly nature reverts back to the Mosaic Law or some other legalistic rules and regulations, how good the old sin nature considers itself to be, when I compare my excellence with the miserable attempts of other Christians! But when my imperfections are compared with Christ's perfect life, then I realise what a wretched man I am trying to keep God's impossible law when, as a result of Christ's finished work on the Cross, I have been clothed in Christ's perfection – by grace.
Because Christ fulfilled the whole Law in His life and death, the whole Law was nailed to the Cross. And because I am in Christ, the righteousness that He gained was also gained for me. I did not need to do anything to be clothed in His righteousness, except believe in Him as Saviour. If I now try to keep the Law, I am effectively saying what Christ did was not enough – which allows me to boast in my own efforts. What a foolish man I am if I think that I can add to the Cross of Christ.
No wonder Paul passionately proclaimed: "But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the Cross, and I to the world."
Loving Father, thank You that Christ's work is complete and I do not have to keep the Law to please you, but simply trust in Him as Saviour. Thank You, in Jesus' name, AMEN.