Re:Verse passage – Galatians 6:11-18 (day seven)

Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.

As we wrap up this series, we are reminded that Paul was warning the Galatians of legalism. Though we may not struggle with the exact same problem, (circumcision) the root issue that Paul addresses is rampant in our culture: self-promotion and self-preservation.

The legalists here were not promoting a bad thing, but the reason for the promotion was ultimately to make themselves look better. It’s often subconscious, but if we aren’t careful we can do the same thing. Our acts of service, posture of worship, and even our prayer requests can become a performance to showcase ourselves instead of the glory of God. We self-promote and self-preserve hoping that others will perceive our actions as holiness. We think that these things we do today might result in jewels added to our crown in heaven. The truth is there will only be one crown worn in heaven. Whatever crown you had put on your head will fall off as you bow before the King of Kings.

A Voice From the Ancient Church

Re:Verse passage – Galatians 6:11-18(day six)

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

“When Paul writes that the cross is glory, he means obviously “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When in that mystery his body hung from the cross and in it crushed the power of the world, the whole world was crucified through him. In the cross he identified with every person in the world. In doing so he made everything that he suffered universal, that is, he caused all flesh to be crucified in his death. Therefore, I too am fixed to the cross and to the world. I means the one who was living carnally, whose thoughts were of the flesh. Such a one is now “nailed to the world,” that is, the worldly things in him are subjected to death.”

-Marius Victorinus, 4th-century grammarian, rhetorician, philosopher, and theologian. Born in Tunisia (North Africa), died in Rome.

Free but Not Cheap

Re:Verse passage – Galatians 6:11-18 (day five)

“But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

I suspect (like me) your email, texts, and all other forms of communication  have been prepping you to be ready for today- Black Friday. The busiest shopping day of the year. Bargains. Discounts. Sales. “Cheapest prices all year”.

Paul makes it abundantly clear that this perspective and marketing does not apply to salvation. Salvation is the most costly gift- the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. Free gift (to us) but not cheap. Paid in full by Jesus. And if it cost Christ, it will and should also cost us. “Take up your cross and follow me”. Jesus offered no discount to us. No sale or partial pricing offered in obedience. All your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength (Mark  12:30). The cost of salvation is never lessened or lightened- on His end or our end. Yet, is it the only way to find life. Real and joyful life. Just like His.

Christ Alone

Re:Verse passage – Galatians 6:11-18 (day four)

Paul ends his letter with both a literal and a metaphorical exclamation point. After six chapters of unpacking the true meaning of Christian freedom, he makes one last accusation of the Judaizers. He claims that the people attempting to force their rules of circumcision on the Galatians had only one motive: to look good in front of others because they lacked the courage to live by faith, sharing in Christ’s suffering and death.

This is a tough pill to swallow. When we try to add to grace and claim, “Jesus and ___” we are not living by faith in Christ alone. In verse 15 Paul reminds us that a life of faith, and therefore a life of freedom, isn’t about what you or I do, but about Christ – what he has done, is doing, and will do. Adding other explicit rules or unspoken standards make it about us, sending us right back into that life of bondage to sin through our pride. A life of true freedom is a life focused on Christ, and Christ alone.

This is what we remind ourselves of when we approach the communion table. I loved our time of communion a few weeks ago at our combined service, approaching the table in unity to remind ourselves of who Christ is, and therefore who we are. That we are called to participate in Christ’s suffering and death, but also his resurrection and life. Jesus created this practice so that we might be reminded that he is sufficient for us, Christ alone.

As you approach your Thanksgiving table today, may it remind you of the communion table, and your calling to a life of freedom in Christ, Christ alone.

Happy Thanksgiving, church family!


Re:Verse passage – Galatians 6:11-18 (day three)

“See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.”

Could it be that Paul’s penmanship results from a visual impairment caused by an ocular malady? Yes. His earlier reference to the tender attention he received from the Galatians as they cared for him when he was ailing mentions their willingness to give him their own eyes to help him, were that possible. This offhand comment here as he closes his correspondence alludes to that shared history. They have a life together, Paul and the Galatians. Laughter, weeping, sickness, worries, hopes — they know each other in all these ways. They have seen each other in vulnerability and in strength. Perhaps the Holy Spirit would move through this dear life they hold in common to bring them close again in the fellowship and peace of the one true gospel.


Re:Verse passage – Galatians 6:11-18 (day two) 

From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. vs. 17

Paul’s body literally told a story. Paul’s last defense of his book-long argument is his own willingness to endure the persecution, suffering, and pain associated with an uncompromising commitment to follow Jesus. Brand-marks is a term that is exactly what you think it is. As we mark livestock, it was common to ‘mark’ those in slavery with an identifiable brand on their flesh. Paul reminds the Galatians, and us there is often a physical cost to obedience.

And yet, he is willing to bear it. That testimony is astounding in itself. If Paul is willing to endure, and point to those lasting scars as a testimony to God’s greater truth, there must be something to it. Think back one chapter and frame it this way. Paul’s spirit also bears the brand-marks of Jesus. He has been set free to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The physical marks cannot, themselves, produce that good. It must be Jesus.

What brand-marks have you endured? What have they produced in your spirit?

Re:Verse Blog – 11/20/23

Re:Verse passage – Galatians 6:11-18 (day one)

Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty, and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Galatians 6:11-18 in our Fall Re:Verse Series: “Galatians – Jesus Sets Us Free.”

Share the Load

Re:Verse passage – Galatians 6:1-10 (day seven)

There is an important sequence in the story line of “The Lord of the Rings.” Samwise Gamgee has been a faithful companion to Frodo Baggins on his journey to Mordor to destroy “The One Ring.” Yet, the ring begins to come between them. It is visibly evident that the weight of the ring is taking a toll on Frodo. Sam, the good friend that he is, offers to share the load and carry the ring for a bit so Frodo can have a break. Frodo, under the the spell of the ring, believes that Sam is selfishly trying to take it for himself, propelling an argument that sends Sam back home. Frodo proceeds on the route by himself and is unable to bear the burden alone leading to his capture.

We know Tolkien was a devout Catholic. I believe he wrote this scene with Galatians 6 in mind. The ring is very clearly a symbol of sin in our own lives. We often believe that our struggles are internal, but what we don’t realize is that as much as we try to keep the pain to ourselves, it will eventually bleed over into other places and impact our relationships. We have been created and designed by God to be dependent on others. Anytime we try to bear our own load, it will almost always lead us to more pain and more problems.

Spoiler Alert: Sam didn’t go home. He followed Frodo at a distance and rescued him. This is the importance of community. Be more like Sam. Be like Christ.

Salvation is Serious Business

Re:Verse passage – Galatians 6:1-10 (day six)

“…you who are godly…” Galatians 6:1

By “godly,” Paul means walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

Beginning in 5:16, Paul provides the Galatians with a field guide on “walking by the Spirit.” He concludes his guide with some very practical advice in Galatians 6:1-10, covering two connected Spirit-led efforts. The first effort is internal (managing our own temptations and reorganizing our life around Jesus), and the second is external (restoring and sharing each other’s burdens); neither is mutually exclusive.

Perhaps these verses have two overarching declarations: You must take responsibility for your own spiritual growth (6:1b, 4), and you can’t fake it (6:7-8).

Paul never does “salvation” light; he expects us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil. 2:12)


Re:Verse passage – Galatians 6:1-10 (day five)  

“For each one will bear his own load.” Paul is eliminating the “comparison game”. The word for load (kind of a backpack) is different than the word for burden (heavy weight). Paul is teaching that each of us is given a load to bear by God- difficulties, opportunities, weaknesses, gifts. If they are given by God, we are accountable to Him for the way in which we bear the load. The expectation, His expectation, is our obedience in bearing our individual loads. Is there community, fellowship, sharing?  Of course, yes. But, with the emphasis on obedience, our focus moves from ourselves (conceit, selfishness) and from others (envy, jealousy) to the Lord. We seek and strive to please Him. Then as we look at our own progress in that light, we can be both humble (not comparing) and generous (knowing others have a load they must bear).

“Our task is to carry our individual load… in a way that pleases God.”- Tim Keller