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An Audience of One – Boldly Declaring Truth Even When It Hurts (Galatians 6:11-18)

Galatians 6:11–18 - 11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 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. 13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 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. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. 


What does today’s passage say?

In this conclusion, Paul writes in his own large, emphatic script to authenticate his words (v. 11). He exposes the false teachers, who insisted circumcision was required, cared only about avoiding persecution, and impressing others (v. 12). He says that he can only boast in the cross of Christ, which freed him from worldly approval and transformed him by grace (vv. 13-14). He makes it clear that only the gospel message creating new life in Christ matters, not the outward displays like circumcision (v. 15). All who embrace this gospel are blessed with peace (v. 16). Though bearing scars from trials for preaching this message, Paul delights in suffering for its eternal purpose - making the world crucified to him as he lives for God’s kingdom instead (vv. 17-18).


How can I apply Galatians 6:11-18 to my life?

Paul concluded his letter to the Galatian believers by diplomatically contrasting himself from the false teachers that had infiltrated the church. Although his writing was typically difficult to read, he intentionally penned this section in large letters with his own hand to highlight his ending emphasis. Paul skillfully elevated key truths from the gospel message he was called to proclaim to the world.  Even in the face of persecution for Christianity, which was spreading like wildfire, he refused to alter the good news that salvation comes only through faith in Christ. Just as Paul bore visible wounds from suffering for the sake of the name of Jesus, believers today identify with Him when they courageously endure mistreatment rather than compromising core truths from God’s word. As recipients of the endless grace that transformed us from dead in sin to alive in Christ, we live for an eternal perspective rather than to please other people. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

1.    Boldly Proclaim the Gospel for the Glory of God and Not the Acceptance of Men (vv. 12-13): The false teachers were compelling the Galatians to be circumcised in order to avoid persecution for preaching salvation by faith in Christ alone. As believers today, we too may face temptation to water down or alter the gospel message simply to gain more acceptance from others around us. However, like Paul, we must proclaim Christ and Him crucified without shame, embracing any persecution that comes as a privilege and opportunity to identify with Jesus. Rather than diluting truth to be respected by the culture, we boldly yet humbly declare that salvation is found in no one else but Christ. This requires fixating our eyes on the eternal impact of sharing Jesus versus any temporary social consequences. As we openly tell others about the only Name under heaven by which people can be saved. We trust the Spirit to empower our witness and soften hearts. We speak the truth without malice, leaving any rejection or backlash in the hands of a sovereign God. The trials we face for lifting up the cross only serve to grow our dependence on grace alone. May boldness, not people-pleasing, mark our gospel declarations, for we live for an audience of One (Acts 4:12; 2 Timothy 1:8; 1 Peter 4:14).

Food for Thought: When have you been tempted to alter how you communicate biblical truths to avoid potential anger or disagreement? What are some practical ways you can grow in speaking God's word courageously yet compassionately this week?

2.    Boast only in the Amazing Grace of the Cross and What Christ Is Doing In and Through You (vv. 14-15): Paul proclaimed that he would boast only in the cross of Christ, through which the world is crucified to him and he to the world. It’s easy for believers to boast in our own works, talents, or knowledge as if our spiritual growth originates from ourselves. However, like Paul, our sole boast should be in what Jesus has already, is currently and will continue to accomplish in and through us. His sacrifice and endless grace alone transform us day by day. Rather than pride in personal disciplines or strengths, we humbly recognize that any fruit of righteousness in our lives stems from Christ’s power within us. As we grow in godly character, it is not our achievement but the Spirit’s. Our spiritual transformation causes people to see Jesus, not our own excellence. We were dead in sin, unable to please God. But by grace we are being reshaped into His image for good works. May our words and lives clearly reflect that the cross and His endless grace receive all glory, praise, and credit. We can’t save ourselves and we can’t sanctify ourselves. As recipients of undeserved favor, we boast only in His work, not ours (Philippians 3:3; Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 2:20).

Food for Thought: Do you more often praise God for saving you or sanctifying you? Why? What area of growth could you surrender control of to Christ this week?

3.    Rest in the Joy and Peace that Come from persevering even to the Point of Suffering for the Sake of Jesus Christ (vv. 16-18): Paul chose to bear the marks of Jesus on his body through suffering – being beaten, left for dead, thrown in jail, ship-wrecked - because the world had been crucified to him and he to the world. Like Paul, when we identify completely with Jesus, we willingly embrace hardship for the sake of serving Him. Despite mistreatment, we persevere in living for the One who died for us. Our citizenship is in heaven, so momentary earthly affliction results in an eternal glory beyond comparison. We accept necessary trials not with gritted teeth but overflowing joy, keeping eternity's perspective. Suffering teaches us dependence on Christ alone, as we learn to be content whether well-fed or hungry, living in plenty or poverty. His all-sufficient grace transforms perceived limitations into opportunities to showcase the all-satisfying nature of knowing Jesus. Rather than self-protection, we rest in God’s faithful provision amidst pain. Our scars, physical or emotional, represent badges of honor declaring that our endurance stems from the Spirit's power. May we view each spiritual battle scar as a bold statement that this world is not our home. Through tests and trials, Jesus empowers us to say with Paul, “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” (Romans 8:18; Philippians 4:11-13; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Food for Thought: When have your scars from ministry served as a ministry to others? What “marks of Jesus” could you thank Him for enduring this week?

When believers embrace suffering for the advancement of the genuine gospel like Paul, the marks on our lives point directly to Jesus. Rather than watering down truth to avoid conflict, we uphold salvation by grace through faith alone, boasting only in Christ’s sacrificial work on our behalf. As recipients of endless mercy, we proclaim the message of the cross with bold humility, leaving outcomes in the Almighty’s hands. Despite hardship in this temporary home, we serve God for an eternal audience of One.


Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that You would give me boldness from your Spirit to declare the truth of the gospel courageously without compromising it to secure the approval of other people. Protect my motives so that I proclaim Christ out of reverence for You rather than desire for any worldly praise or recognition. Create in me an eternal perspective to view any earthly trials in light of the coming glory with You forever. In both times of ease and moments of suffering for the sake of Jesus, help me to anchor my identity completely in what He accomplished on the cross. Enable me to boast only in that endless grace which transforms me each day into Christlikeness by the power of your Holy Spirit within me

I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.


Galatians 6:14 – “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.”


With His Blessings,

Pastor Corby

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1 Comment

Thank you Pastor Corby, may we be daily reminded we ought to be about trusting " the Spirit to empower our witness and soften hearts". Not to be foucused on ourselves and be about the His business as we go through our daily lives. -roman

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