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How to boast well (Galatians 6 v 11-18)

Explore God's Word Daily
Explore God's Word Daily

For the last few lines, Paul seizes the pen from his scribe and writes with his own hand…

Bad boasting
Read Galatians 6:11

• What does verse 12 reveal about the motives of Paul's opponents?

People find it insulting to be told that they are too weak and sinful to do anything to contribute to their own salvation.

On the other hand, the world appreciates “religion” and “morality” in general. The world thinks that moral religion is a good thing for society. And Paul says that pressure to conform to the world, to be popular with and respected by it, is what is motivating the false teachers in Galatia.

• What does Paul point out about those who teach salvation by good works such as circumcision (v 13)?
• What do they want to be able to do (v 13)?

These men have got into religion for the fame, prestige and honour it can bring them in the world. They love to boast about their success. Their ministry is actually a form of self-salvation.

Right boasting
Read Galatians 6:14

• Paul boasts too: what does he boast about (v 14)?

At the heart of your religion is what you boast in. What, in the end, is the reason you are in a right relationship with God?
If it is the cross plus your good works, then it's your works that make all the difference—it’s your works you’re trusting in. So you'll “boast in the flesh” (v 13).

If you understand the gospel, you’ll “boast” only in the cross. You find your identity, your confidence and security not in who you are or what you do, but in who Jesus is and what He did.

• What effect has Christ's cross had on Paul (v 14)?

The world has no power over, and its opinion need hold no sway over, the Christian. If nothing in the world gives me my righteousness or salvation, then there is nothing in the world that I must have, that therefore controls me.

• How are verses 14-15 a great summary of everything Paul has been saying in this letter?
• What does living by this “rule” (ie: trusting in and living out the true gospel) bring (v 16)?

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APPLY
• How much do you care about what the world thinks of you?
• How can you “boast” about the cross, both to yourself and in front of others?
Spend some time now thanking Christ for His cross, and for the true gospel of justification by faith.
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This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

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Originally published December 16, 2011.

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