Gal 6:14-16 “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. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
It is our human nature to want to glory in the supposed accomplishments of men. The brethren that came from Jerusalem to trouble the churches at Galatia were no different. It was their desire to glory in coming to these churches and “getting them straightened out (Gal 6:13).” They could not possible help the Galatians with the straw that was in their eye for the timber that was in their own (Mat 7:3-4).
Paul had his belly full of glorying in the things of men. He had tried that route personally when he was known as Saul. He had witnessed the effects of this glorying in his own life when he was called to follow the Lord, Jesus Christ. He wanted no more part of the vain glorying of men. To that end, he here implores God’s help.
The word translated as “forbid” has to parts to its meaning, according to Strong’s. First, there is the aspect of “negation” (or cancellation) and then the aspect of “cause to be.” Paul is asking God to cause him to not glory in anything other than the cross of Jesus. There is a great truth in this: if we are going to glory in the cross of Jesus and not in man, then we must have God’s direct influence in our lives.
Why should we boast (glory) in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ? It is in the cross that He bore that we find deliverance from the lust of the flesh. More to the point of this letter, it is in this cross that we find deliverance from the world of legalistic service. There is a complete sundering here: the world is crucified to us (made dead to us), and we are also crucified to the world. We don’t want anything to do with it, and it has no use for us.
In the sacrifice or our Lord and Savior, we are brought to understand that our work (circumcision) or lack of work (uncircumcision) is not a consideration. Jesus came to do the will of the Father (Joh 6:38), who without respect of persons (Act 10:34) chose a people in Him from before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). When we are blessed by the Holy Spirit to understand this great truth, we realize that we are now formed anew. We are no more Jew or Greek, male or female, bond or free, but are made one in Him (Gal 3:28, Col 3:11).
This is the standard (rule) that we are to live (walk according to) our lives by. We are new creatures in Christ and should not seek to live to by the bondage of man’s rule. When Christ is our standard, we enjoy peace and mercy at His hand. This is not only true of the Greek (Gentile) but also upon those who first served according to the law. Paul was making a deliberate point here that even those that had come to trouble the Galatian brethren had access through Christ to this same peace and mercy when they ceased trying to be their own standard.
May we look only to Jesus as our guide and trust Him without reservation!