March 29, 2024

Glorifying in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ

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“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” (Galatians 6:14).

Against the backdrop of the Judaizers who distracted some in the churches in Galatia from Christ’s perfect and powerful Gospel of salvation, and misled them to put their confidence in their own achievements in keeping the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, Paul testified by declaring: “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Here, he told the Galatians how ludicrous it was for him to boast about anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The false teachers of Judaism gloried in their legalism and in their success in turning some Galatians from the Gospel of Christ to follow their insistence on practising Jewish ceremonies. He rebuked this erroneous, conceited thinking in the previous verse – “For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh” (Gal. 6:13). Paul had understood that without God’s grace that provided Christ to be his Redeemer and Justifier, he would have remained as a condemned sinner (cf. Romans 3:27-28). 

Paul truly knew he had nothing to glory in himself or in his achievements. Rather, Paul’s glorying was only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was not speaking of the cross as a piece of wood or an ornament of precious metal. Neither was he exalting the cruelty and suffering symbolised by the cross. He was speaking of the cross of Christ, on which He bore our sins and died to pay the price of our redemption, so that we may be reconciled to God. There is no other means of salvation but Christ’s death on the cross. Hebrews 10:12 says, “But this man (Jesus), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God”. 

Paul also testified to the effect of rejoicing and glorying in Christ’s cross—“by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” In view of all that Christ has achieved for him through His death on the cross, the “world” (with all its sinful pleasures, earthly treasures, and honours) has been “crucified” or put to death, and is no longer fascinating for Paul to pursue. The world has no more charm for Paul. Christ alone is his passion and pursuit on this earth. As the hymn, “All for Jesus”, teaches us to sing:

Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus, I’ve lost sight of all beside,
So enchained my spirit’s vision, Looking at the Crucified:
All for Jesus! all for Jesus! Looking at the Crucified;
All for Jesus! all for Jesus! Looking at the Crucified.

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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