Galatians 6:12-15 (CSB) 12 Those who want to make a good impression in the flesh are the ones who would compel you to be circumcised—but only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even the circumcised don’t keep the law themselves, and yet they want you to be circumcised in order to boast about your flesh. 14 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. 15 For both circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing; what matters instead is a new creation.
One of the reasons I love the bible reading plan I use is because it gets me through the Old Testament once per year and the New Testament and Psalms two times per year.
Why is this important to me? Why don’t I use a chronological plan? Well, because I’m a personal legalist.
What I mean by that is that when I read the law and the Psalms, my sin is so clearly before my eyes that I can begin to condemn myself and put laws on me that restrain, in my own mind, God’s love to me based solely on my performance.
I need the balance of the New Testament to help me interpret the Old Testament in light of the lens of the cross. If I don’t have that lens, I’d drop out of the faith.
You see, I’m a sinner who has been transformed and is being transformed by the gospel. I have not arrived at full sanctification just yet, and I won’t until I pass on to be with Jesus awaiting the resurrection or I make it to the second coming. So, in the meantime, as I fight against sin remaining in my flesh, I need reminders that my sin, not in part but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more so that it is well with my soul (Horatio Spafford).
Paul, in the Scripture above, reminds us that there are some who hold onto the Law as the means of salvation, so those not raised with the Law need to adhere to all of it so they can be saved. Some have made the Law the test of salvation, and if one is to be saved and pass the cultural test of salvation so as to avoid persecution, they need to adhere to the whole law.
Well, that’s not how it works. Jesus came to fulfill the whole Law so that if one trusts in him, he fulfills the Law for them, and their sins past, present, and future, are forgiven, the person is made right before God, and they are given the Holy Spirit who will see that they are fully made perfect one day just as they are currently counted as having already achieved. Bam! Good news!
I need that balance of Galatians to help me understand what God is doing by and with the Law so that I can fully embrace the Good News of Jesus’ kingdom and salvation.
So, I can only boast in the cross when I’ve embraced it, am daily feeding myself with it, and living by it.
So, boast only in the cross. Make sure you get some cross-soaked New Testament reading in with your Old Testament reading because the New Testament is the guidebook on interpreting the Old Testament in light of the cross, and will teach you to live in the freedom of having been set free from the law to have the righteousness of Jesus count for you. It’s a game-changer.
Boast only in the cross and in doing so give Satan and his accusations a right “cross”.