The Essence of Galatians: Circumcision or the Cross? Part 2

In my last post I talked about the main point of Galatians, which was that “circumcision” is directly opposed to the cross of Christ. Only the cross of Christ provides the righteousness that God requires. I had a few more ideas on the subject.

REVIEW: I had said that in Galatians “circumcision” serves as a metaphor for all the man-made attempts of achieving righteousness through man’s efforts and for all the religions which teach that man can become acceptable to God through his works. In Paul’s day, the only religious system that made any attempt at earning righteousness was Judaism, but today there are many such systems. All these religious systems that attempt to achieve righteousness by means of what a person does and that rely on anything that a person is or does would fall under the heading of “circumcision.”

And we had said that “righteousness” as used in the Bible is the required condition of a person where he/she is viewed by God as being completely without sin AND where his/her every thought, word and deed are perfectly in accord with the will of God.

NEW: “Circumcision” points to the self and to what I have done to earn my righteousness, but faith points to the cross of Christ and to what God has done to provide for my righteousness.

“Circumcision” 1) grossly underestimates the offense of your sin and the amount of your sin. My first small sin was an intolerable stench in God’s nostrils and sealed my condemnation. Can any number of religious works erase the offense to the Holy One of even one of my sins? 2) “Circumcision” pathetically overestimates the value of any number of “good deeds.” Do we really think that any number of good works can possibly atone for even the smallest sin? (Micah 6:6-7; Psalm 51:16-17) and 3) MOST IMPORTANT – “Circumcision” despises and rejects the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on the cross as God’s only means of atonement and believes that my sin-stained human works are just as effective as Jesus’ sinless, holy sacrifice to make me acceptable to God.

Why do people naturally prefer “circumcision” over the cross of Jesus Christ? The path of religion and of a righteousness that can be earned appeals to many people because religion (“circumcision”) requires no true confession of sin and no recognition of a person’s abject wretchedness (Luke 18:9-14). There is no self-loathing required and no need for repentance. I don’t have to do any embarrassing begging for forgiveness. I can keep all my pride and my dignity and my good reputation intact. No need to be plunged in the waters of baptism like those sinners. I can continue to be a clean and respectable pew-sitter, admired by others for my holiness and my goodness. The flesh loves “circumcision” and the flesh hates the admission of and the exposure of all of my most filthy sins.

But only the cross of Christ can atone for sin and only the shed-blood of the Lord Jesus Christ can wash away my wickedness,

Galatians 6:14.  “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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