The Israel of God — Galatians 6:11-18
The closing of Paul’s letter to the Galatians summarizes some of the main points he was trying to impress on the young churches. These Christians obviously know that there is a group trying to persuade them to add circumcision to the requirement of faith in Christ in order to be saved. These legalists, Paul argues here, actually are doing so out of bad motives; a desire to escape persecution from fellow Jews and a desire to glory in the “conversions” they have swayed to submit to their legalistic form of religion. On the contrary, those who promote this return to law-based justification do not follow the law themselves. Indeed they cannot as sinners.
Instead of boasting in numbers or persuasion, the true believer can only boast in one thing: in the cross of Christ. Without the effects of the cross, the believer literally has nothing. With the cross, he is a new creation in Christ and has been crucified to the world. It is no longer the things of the world that are important but the lasting things of the Kingdom. No longer do the distinctions of Jew and Gentile (or other distinctions) matter but only those who believe in the Messiah. All believers now make up the Israel of God. Paul himself bears the marks, the stigma of Christ to show this is the case. In the cross, there is grace. In Christ, there is life!