We reach the end of St Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and our passage today is Chapter 6 verses 11 to 18.
The beginning and the end of this final section remind us again of something of Paul’s pastoral heart, and the emotion involved.
Verse 11 about large letters might be literal, because as some suggest he had poor eyesight, or symbolic because the importance to him of the content of this letter.And then verse 17 speaks of his own suffering for Christ, what he calls ‘the marks of Jesus’.
Also note the 2 contrasting things to boast in, verses 13 and 14.
He reveals the wrong motives that the Judaisers have to get the gentile Galatian Christians to be circumcised (vs.12-13). By insisting on it, they were less likely to experience opposition themselves from the Jewish opponents to Christianity. They were thinking only of themselves when they were boasting about the outward signs on these Gentile Christians, and not really thinking through the spiritual implications.
In contrast, Paul says the only thing he wants to boast in is the cross of Christ (v.14), because it is in Christ’s weakness and sacrifice that he/we are made right and reconciled with God; and because having faith in the cross also acknowledges our own weakness, both that we cannot get right with God ourselves, and also marks us out as different from others, and therefore potential suffering from others.
Finally, do note that despite the sometimes very direct tone of this letter, Paul calls the Galatians in v.18, brothers. Despite everything they are fellow Christians, whom he loves and cares for.
A Bible commentator, who I have been following during this series, writes this at the end of his little commentary,’May every reader of this letter acknowledge the grace of Christ, the freedom of the gospel and the power of the Spirit. And may all of us attend to the circumstances in which God has placed us, so that our faith indeed will work through love in the lives of those around us.’AMEN.
From our extended church address list, let us remember today in prayer former church members who we have reconnected with during Zoom services, Vikkie & Robbie and baby Nora, Champa, Tina Tibbett.