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A Tale of Two Boasts (Galatians 6:12–14)

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).

David Huffstutler

About David Huffstutler

David pastors First Baptist Church in Rockford, IL, serves as a chaplain for his local police department, and teaches as adjunct faculty at Bob Jones University. David holds a Ph. D. in Applied Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His concentration in Christian Leadership focuses his contributions to pastoral and practical theology.

One Response to A Tale of Two Boasts (Galatians 6:12–14)

  1. David

    Thanks for the post – and esp. the Gal6:14 passage – which, prior to my reading here, had never really had life – but, by I expect the Spirit of God, this text unveiled itself pulsating with life and power – the life and power of a man who went all the way with God. The cross – not in itself to be focused on (I would dispense with the “old, rugged” as distractions – but as a symbol of a man who in obedience went to death (Phil2:7ff). Awesome – and in this – thanks for the post. We boast in the full obedience of another man who had like passions as we – yet went ALL the way with God… In what else would we be drawn – or in what else would we want to boast??

    The above being said – I find the traditional notion of Jesus – not as a genuine man – but as a deity working through an impersonal nature – even more difficult to find any meaning – and certainly no motivation. For, if being a divine being who goes all the way ultimately with his ownself (so to speak – or one of themselves more specifically) – this leaves little to motivate and sort of a yawn really.

    I will take the man Christ Jesus as the one in whom to boast – with the fullness of His actions – in obedience to His God and Father – going all the way – giving all the way – despite His will otherwise – despite strong crying and tears…. (an odd thing for a person of God to be doing is it not…:-( ).



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