As we have seen, Paul sent the epistle of Galatians to a church that had been victimized by the leaven of false teaching and legalism. The glorious gospel of the grace of God and the cross of Jesus Christ was being attacked by proponents of a religious system who were saying that faith in Christ alone was not enough to save your soul. They were the orthodox religious teachers who were more concerned about the teachings and traditions of the fathers than the truth of Scripture.

Here at the end of this letter, Paul ends on a personal note with an appeal to return to the cross of Christ and the gospel of His grace. Paul is writing with intense passion here because eternal souls are at stake. Legalism, religion and the gospel of the grace of God cannot coexist; don’t believe the bumper stickers, beloved! For a person to be wrong about eternal things when they think they are right is scary stuff, and Paul, under the inspiration of The Holy Ghost, is writing to set the record straight. Not only for the saints under his care, but for those who were lost in their belief of another gospel. He wanted to see them saved.

Paul had a raging thirst and love for Jesus Christ. He had a raging thirst and love for souls. He had a raging thirst and love for the glory of God in His church. Are you here this morning thirsting for God? Is Jesus Christ the supreme love of your life?

This raging thirst and love for Jesus Christ can be summed up in one word: Passion.

  • Galatians 6:11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

Some scholars believe that Paul’s writing with large letters by his own hand could be because of deteriorating eyesight that he mentioned in Gal. 4:13-15. Many others believe that Paul chose to write in block letters as opposed to using the cursive of the scribes, because he was emphasizing the content of the message as being extremely important. He tells us that he wrote this letter with his own hand. Many times he dictated the letters that he wrote, but this time he personally wrote it. Thus, I think it is more probable that Paul wrote the letter himself with the same purpose as he used the block letters- to emphasize the importance of the message.

By today’s standards, Paul would have been considered legally blind. From other Scriptures we know that Paul was not an eloquent speaker. This teaches me that the only handicap that holds any person in the body of Christ from serving Him in some way, shape or form is never one of ability or eloquence, but a divided heart or an unwilling heart.

Jesus taught us parables on using our God given talents. How are you using your God given talents and gifts for the furtherance of the gospel, the edification of the body of Christ, and above all, for the glory of God? Read the parables again. God accepts no excuses from any of us, none.

  • 12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

Paul tells us straight up that these false teachers who were attacking the validity of his ministry were preaching circumcision to appease the Jewish authorities and to avoid the inevitable consequence of persecution of preaching salvation through a crucified Christ.

Compromise and tolerance are modern day virtues of a man without any sound convictions of truth. Beloved, if our mindset in preaching the truth of the gospel is affected in any way by the fear of man or the fear of being rejected instead of well thought of, we will eventually cease preaching Christ crucified.

The preaching of Christ crucified jars our human ego and strips us naked of all merit and worthiness before God. The preaching of Christ crucified reveals our utter depravity and our total dependence on the grace and mercy of God alone for salvation.

The love of God comes to us through Christ crucified so that we can see what our sin really looks like and the punishment that we deserve.

The gospel of Jesus Christ makes it morally impossible to feel good or be proud at the foot of the cross. And so for those who don’t want to humble themselves before God, the cross remains an offense and a scandal.

  • 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

These legalists were not interested in preaching the truth, they were only interested in making a proselyte to their traditional brand of religious beliefs handed down to them from their fathers. These Legalists were the religious orthodox of the day. A legalist will always be spending more time criticizing and proselytizing fellow believers to adopt their system of theology or philosophy of Christian living.

Beware of the leaven of legalism beloved, it is more orthodox and alive and well today than you think.

  • 14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is (Lit. stands) crucified unto me, and I unto the world. {by whom: or, whereby}

To glory in the cross would be equivalent to us saying that we are fond of electric chairs!

Between Paul and the world (this fallen world system) there was a cross. That should be the position of every believer today. Why? Let Scripture interpret Scripture.

1 John 2.15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

There is only One love that will conquer our love affair for the fallen and diseased pleasures and lusts of this world, and that one love is Jesus Christ. Jesus is The Bread of Life. Jesus is The Fountain of Living Water. If Jesus is not our first love, our others loves in life will be diseased and disordered.

The cross and nothing else will have more to do with conforming you into the image of Jesus and cause you to bear fruit for the glory of God more than anything else. A person will be devoted to whatever they glory in.

Saving faith to Paul was not a dry, formal intellectual assent to certain biblical truths. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not called to simply agree that Jesus Christ died for sinners. We are called to actually glory in His cross and let the chips fall where they may. We are called to boast in the mystery and wonder of the cross. We are called to cherish the beauty and benefits of the cross. The cross of Jesus Christ is the pride and joy of our lives.

What else can we glory in beloved, but the cross of Jesus Christ? All that we have and all that we are and all that we look forward to stems from the finished work of Jesus Christ on His cross. The lures of the world had been crucified to Paul in exchange for being crucified with Christ. He counted all loss that He might possess Christ (Philippians 3:7-8). By being crucified to the world, Paul chose rather to be crucified with Christ (2:20).

Hebrews 11.25,26 (Moses) Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward

The cross will interfere with the way that we live in the world. The cross will not allow us to love the world. The cross will not allow us to be conformed to the image of this world. The cross deals a deathblow to our former love affair with the world system. Love not the world is the message of the cross!

Philippians 3:17-19 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.

There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Which cross? The old cross slew men; the new cross of today’s church entertains them. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it and even promotes it. The old cross taught self forgetfulness; the new cross promotes self esteem. The old cross pierced hearts and produced God fearing holiness; the new cross preaches a heady gospel that puffs up the intellectually elite with devilish pride and spiritual snobbery. The old cross produced God fearing prophets who were ridiculed and mocked; the new cross magnifies eloquent speakers and writers who are applauded and esteemed by men. The old cross-focused on gospel based, spiritual transformation and our relationship with God; the new cross focuses on social reform and our relationship with one another.

There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

There is no such thing as a cross less disciple, because the very essence of discipleship is a matter of “taking up one’s cross and following Him.” (Matt. 10:38; 16:24; Luke 9:23).

“We, who preach the gospel, must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, or the world of sports, or modern entertainment. We are not diplomats, but prophets; and our message is not a compromise, but an ultimatum.” The Biblical Evangelist, November 1, 1991

  • 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Paul knew the truth of the all sufficiency of Christ. He knew that in the eyes of The Father, he was complete in Christ. •

We could say today that neither religious affiliation or good works counts for anything. A pure legalist and religious person does not believe that God will forgive them or love them through faith in Christ alone, so they attach works or rituals to the cross.

The bottom line this morning is this. Have you been born again? Are you a new creature in Christ Jesus? •

The real issue is whether or not we are a new creation in Christ in the inside. Religion and legalism are outside jobs. Religion and legalism are spiritual corpses with makeup on. The gospel of grace is an “inside the heart” job that is done by God Himself beloved. There is no other message like it in the universe.

2 Corinthians 5.17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This new creature is the new birth as spoken of by Jesus Christ to Nicodemus. This new creature is described in Titus 3.5,6 as the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

The question is not is you are a member of a church. The question is this. Are your names written in heaven?

Luke 10.20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.

Why is this so important that your names are written in heaven?

Revelation 20.11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Those not written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire.

  • 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God

The Israel of God may mean: (1) the Gentile church, which through faith has inherited the promise God gave to Abraham ( 3:29 ) or (2) more likely, the “remnant” of believing Israel “chosen by grace” ( Rm 11:5 ), as opposed to the “false brothers” among the Jews ( Gl 7 8 2:4 ), who were seeking to be justified by “the works of the law” ( 2:16 ).

The Israel of God are those who are governed by God through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. God fills your heart and life with peace and mercy; and these things are due to His gifts of grace and love, not my efforts or righteousness. Like the tax gatherer in the temple, the mercy and peace of God is given to those who simply cry out, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

  • 17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

In the times of Paul, the Greek word for “marks” was used for the brand that identified slaves. He is not talking about the Roman Catholic stigmata. Paul’s marks were not from some religious ritual, but from opposition due to his uncompromising commitment to The Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 11.23-27 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

Every yielded saint bears marks of following Jesus. *

2 Timothy 3.12 Those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.The marks of persecution 8 9 may be marks of rejection, marks of loneliness, marks of ridicule and mockery.

Are you and I individuals that are marked for Jesus in our families? At work? School? At the gym?

  • 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Grace, God’s favor and love upon you. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Don’t frustrate that holy grace by living carnal….don’t frustrate that saving grace by rejecting the work of Jesus Christ because of what some religious institution has lied to you about for generation after generation. •

Paul closes this letter as he began it, by calling these people to live their Christian life on the basis of God’s undeserved favor and blessing through His Son, Jesus Christ. Beloved, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Live graciously, love graciously, serve graciously. The importance of preaching the centrality of the cross of Jesus Christ.

  • The cross of Christ alone redeems from the curse of the law
  • The cross of Christ alone brings reconciliation and justification with God
  • The cross of Christ alone destroys the power of Satan in your life
  • The cross of Christ alone unites all believers in Jesus Christ
  • The cross of Christ is God’s one and only plan for rescuing sinners. those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
  • The cross, not legalism conforms you into the image of Christ.

Paul used to be a religious legalist. He saw legalism clearly because he used to be one. According to Paul, legalism was a message that was more concerned about observing dead traditions than speaking and living out the truth of God daily. Legalism’s objective in any century is to conform others to a certain religious mold, philosophy or appearance on the outside, that has absolutely nothing to do with being crucified with Christ or real holiness on the inside.

How does one know if one’s name is written in heaven? Like Adam and Eve, some of you came walking in clothed with the fig leaves of religion or self righteousness. You haven’t fooled God, but you are fooling yourself. Take off those fig leaves of self righteousness and good works and put on the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Isa 45:22 Look unto me (nobody else, nothing else), and be ye saved (freed, delivered, defended, rescued), all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter preached the crucified, buried and risen Lord Jesus. He declared: Acts 2.36,37 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Please note what happened next. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Here is the answer…. Acts 2.38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 16.30, a Roman jailer asked the apostle Paul and Silas this question.  Sirs, what must I do to be saved? Their answer? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is no sin so awful that the blood of Christ cannot cleanse. He makes the vilest sinner clean. Nothing-not your worst offense-stands between you and the Cross. . .between you and forgiveness. . .between you and a loving Heavenly Father-nothing but your hesitation. Come to Him.