It was the best of boasts, it was the worst of boasts. By one, all go to direct to heaven, and by the other, all go direct the other way.
For the first boast, false teachers were out for “a good showing” of gaining converts to their gospel-denying truth (Gal 6:12). They preached doing the Mosaic Law as gospel and required circumcision of their adherents so that they might “boast in your flesh” (Gal 6:13). That is, a boast in the flesh of the Galatians would come about were the Galatians to abandon the righteousness of Christ that comes by faith for a righteousness of self that comes by the Law, something that escapes every sinner under the sun (Gal 6:13).
These false teachers in this example show us something true of all of us—we love to boast in ourselves. We all seek the glory of men, whether by abusing others towards that end or by some other means. However we think we might gain status in the eyes of ourselves or others, it is not the call of wisdom but the hiss of Satan that says “you will be like God,” and heeding this hiss will bring us to share his end (cf. Rev 20:10, 14–15).
For the second and better of two boasts, Paul had nothing to say in magnifying himself, even though he had been the one to make disciples of these Galatians (cf. Acts 13–14). As time would go on, he would equate his earthly accomplishments with dung (Phil 3:1–8) and brand himself the chief of sinners (1 Tim 1:15). Rather than in himself, his boast was by far the best: “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14).
Whoever we may be, whatever skills we may possess, whatever accomplishments we may have achieved—nothing compares to what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us on the old, rugged cross. If we have anything good to show the Father or anyone else who has eyes to see, it is found in His only begotten Son, who He sent to die for us, so that we might not perish, but have everlasting life. Only in Christ can we boast of anything, for by faith He is everything to us.
It was said of some, “They loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God” (John 12:43). May it be said of us, “They loved the glory that comes from God and therefore found all their glory in Christ.” And if we do so, all the glory will be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Jude 25).