Monday, 20 June 2016
For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. Galatians 6:13
This is the second reason that the Judaizers insisted on circumcision. The first was so that they wouldn’t have to suffer persecution. By continuing to practice deeds of the law, they wouldn’t be faced with rejection by those who held only to the law. They could say, “I’m a follower of Jesus, but I am also a follower of Moses.” The “Moses” part would then gloss over the offensive “Jesus” part and save them from being persecuted.
The second reason is now given. He first says, “For not even those who are circumcised keep the law.” This is speaking specifically of the Judaizers who claim they are followers of Jesus, but the premise holds true with anyone under the law. Paul clearly shows in Romans that no one is able to keep the law. This is the reason why there was an annual Day of Atonement. Anyone who didn’t observe the Day of Atonement was to be cut off from the people. This is because no one ever met the law, even for a single year of their life.
Thus, it demonstrates that even the Judaizers, who demanded that the Gentiles be circumcised, didn’t keep the law. And so their demanding circumcision in the Gentiles wasn’t at all for what they claimed. Rather, it was because “they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.”
Boasting in the flesh means “works.” Works are contrary to grace. Therefore, they are boasting in doing what Christ was implicitly unable to do. To them, if Christ can’t save by grace alone, then their idea is that it is “grace plus works.” For these people, the cross is insufficient; God failed; they need to overcome God’s deficiencies. It is that simple. Anyone who insists (or even implies) that we need to do things from the Law of Moses in order to be pleasing to God has rejected the grace of Christ. In our walk, it is all Christ or it is a rejection of Christ.
Roman Catholicism is similar to the teachings of the Judaizers in that they says works are necessary because justification by grace alone is insufficient to save. This is found in the canons of the Council of Trent. One of several such canons is Canon 9. It states –
“If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”
This is heresy. One cannot cooperate in grace. Reject this stupid, heretical stuff.
Life application: Cling to the cross of Christ.
Heavenly Father, apparently doctrine matters. You have given us an entire book of doctrine to teach us what You expect of us. However, it is so much easier to make stuff up out of our own heads and to claim that You are still speaking out Your will for us today. Help us not to get caught up in that kind of nonsense. Instead, give us hearts that are willing to search out Your precious word and to adhere to what You have given us for our life and practice. Help us in this, O Lord. Amen.