Spring 2010: Galatians 6:14 - Glory
Author: Dan Gabbert
Publish date:

Boasting and bragging are a normal part of today’s communication. In the beginning of her book, Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, author Peggy Klaus says, “In today’s business world, bragging is a necessity—not a choice.”

For many of us, this statement causes the warning flags to go up. The Bible is abundantly clear that self-centered, self-exulted boasting is very dangerous. In Daniel 4, for example, a mighty king exults his power and prowess but is humbled by God. And in Jeremiah 9:23 God gives definite warning about self-glorification:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches.

CC magdalena on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/25182350@N03/2981062354/in/faves-133359478@N05/

However, there is boasting in which a follower of the Most High can, and must, find great delight. This is the boasting the apostle Paul practiced with gifted boldness. We find it recorded in Galatians 6:14: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” The original Greek verb translated “glory” in this text simply means to praise, to rejoice in, or to boast about. What is so valuable about the cross that led Paul to this unique conclusion?

First of all, the cross of Calvary is the very foundation of Our Testimony.

What I praise, rejoice in, or boast about is my testimony—the authentication of my personal experience. It reveals what I consider to be valuable and important in life, and quite often occupies a large chunk of my time and energy. Matthew 6:21 and 12:34 give credence to this idea:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

People ought to consistently hear and see the peace, joy, and healing restoration we are personally experiencing because of what Christ Jesus accomplished for us in His death upon Calvary’s cross. Most Christians consider the cross to be a symbol of salvation—which it is. But it is also a symbol of separation. For it was at the cross that Christ Jesus experienced, by choice, the separation from eternal life that sin brings, the penalty for sin each of us deserve (See Deuteronomy 21:22-23).

Source: Dazzie D on Flickr.

It was by this choice, so far beyond human understanding, that Christ made a way for us to be forgiven and freed from our past mistakes, failures, and sins! We are freed not only from the guilt of our sins, but also from the bondage of unhealthy habits in all three dimensions of our life (See Romans 6:23; Titus 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

Praise God for His everlasting love revealed through His Son Jesus Christ! Because of Christ’s unselfish life and substitutionary death, every one of us may choose by faith to receive Him as our personal Saviour from sin, the Lord of our lives, and the Transformer of our responses to the events of daily living.

Every one of us may be freed from the condemnation, guilt, anxiety, anger, fear, and unhappiness that sin brings. We can be freed to experience the healing hope-filled life God offers His blood-bought children (John 1:12; 8:36; Romans 6:23; 15:13). The cross truly becomes the testimony of every one of us who make this faith-filled choice.

The second thing the cross communicates is Our Value in God’s eyes.

When we purchase something, we exchange it for the amount of money necessary to acquire the item because we consider it to be of equal value to the price we pay for it. That’s what Christ’s death on the cross teaches us. In God’s sight, we are equal in value to the very life of the only begotten Son of God!

Regardless of what you presently think of yourself, no matter how badly broken you feel you are, in spite of how many mistakes you’ve made in the past, please understand, and by faith accept this fact: God considered you so valuable that He was willing to purchase your redemption with the lifeblood of His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

Consider this glimpse of God’s heart:

The Lord is disappointed when His people place a low estimate upon themselves. He desires His chosen heritage to value themselves according to the price He has placed upon them. God wanted them, else He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive errand to redeem them (Desire of Ages, 668).

Recognizing and accepting the value God has placed upon each one of us encourages us to respect and care for our bodies and minds as God’s blood-bought possession, and the temple of His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

Beyond this, consider the fact that God desires our companionship in His presence for eternity. This companionship with God will be unimaginably wonderful:

In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11; see also Revelation 21:3-4; 22:3-4).

Along with establishing our testimony and communicating our value, there is something else the cross offers us: Mental and Moral Protection.

Those words in Galatians 6:14, “by Whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world,” are loaded with power! Notice what the apostle John says about the world in 1 John 2:15-17:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever (emphasis added).

It is through the things of the world that Satan lures us into disobeying God. These are the very same things the devil tempted Christ with at the beginning of His ministry: the lust of the flesh, which is appetite; the pride of life, which is presumption; and the lust of the eyes, which is covetousness. These things can lead us to forget who we are as God’s blood-bought children, who we represent in this world, and what God has planned for us as “the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8).

I’m convinced, dear friends, that in order to place the world in its proper perspective, we must keep fresh in our memory the amazing scene when Jesus, the Lamb of God, hung on the cross and experienced the eternal separation from God our sins have earned us. Choosing to recall our loving Lord dying so that we might live fortifies our minds and hearts against sinful thoughts that would “put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:6).

The story is told of two brothers who once lived completely opposite lives. The older was a God-fearing man, good to everyone. The younger was rebellious, even violent. The older brother tried to influence him, but in vain.

One evening, while the older sat quietly in his home, the younger brother stormed in with blood on his clothes, shouting, “Save me! I have killed a man and the police are after me!”

The older replied, “Quick! Let's change clothes.” They did so. The murderer donned the white garment, and the innocent put on the blood-stained one. Scarcely had they finished when the police arrived. Seeing the older brother in bloody clothes, the police dragged him from his home. They had no doubt he was the one they sought. Brought to court, the accused admitted his guilt. The judge sentenced him to death.

The sentenced brother had one last wish: “At the moment of my execution, please give my brother this letter.” His wish was granted. Later, when the brother opened the letter, he read: “I died in your place, in your bloody garment, for your guilt. I was happy to make this sacrifice for you and ask only one thing, that you live a life of love and goodness.”

The innocent man was dead. Nothing could change that fact. But as former comrades asked the younger brother to participate in violence, he replied, “I cannot do it in the white garment I received from the brother who died for me.”

Friends, this is exactly what Jesus did for each one of us. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV). Jesus, the sinless Son of God, took upon Himself your sins and mine, and then took our punishment—complete separation from God and life—through the death of the cross (1 Peter 2:24).

When we glory, boast, and rejoice in the cross of Christ—where God’s everlasting love in all its intense immensity is revealed—the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life lose their appeal.

Our whole spiritual life is molded by our notions about God. Outside of Christ’s self-sacrificing life and death, no other events so clearly communicate the mercy-filled everlasting love the Creator and Sustainer of our existence has for each of us. That love melts our hearts, moves us out of our comfort zones into healing responses to life situations, and urges us into Christ-like ministry to the lost and hurting (See 2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

It is reported that three missionaries visited Mahatma Gandhi. During their visit, Gandhi requested that they sing a hymn for him. When they asked him which one, he replied, “The one that expresses all that is deepest in your faith.”

They thought for a few moments and then sang with hearts full of deep conviction:

When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of Glory died;
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

As with the apostle Paul, Christ’s earnest 21st century followers will find that the very foundation of all they enjoy glorying in, boasting about, and rejoicing over, will become increasingly centered in the life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ (See Colossians 3:1-3). In Him is found our testimony, our value, our mental and moral protection, and even our identity.

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