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The Cross of Christ

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whichthe world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

The Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone. In Ephesians 2:4-10, we see that salvation is not a product of man’s own doing, but the result of what God has done for us. And yet, despite the Bible’s clear message about salvation, many have fallen short in their understanding of it. Instead of seeing salvation as a gift from God, they view it as something that man can obtain by himself. Many have been led to wrongfully believe that salvation is earned through personal works. But God’s Word is crystal clear that salvation is gifted through the divine work and person of Christ.

The Galatians were not exempt from encountering false teachings on salvation by human achievement. So when this had been made known to the apostle Paul, he knew he had to address this issue by taking them back to the truth of salvation. In Galatians 6, Paul shows us a contrast of salvation by works and salvation by grace through faith in Christ. In the wrong concept of salvation by works, people rely on doing good works or on bearing seemingly righteous evidences of religion, such as circumcision, in order to make a good show of the flesh. This is the complete opposite of what the Bible tells us about the true and only salvation we can have.

Salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone shows us that there is nothing we contribute to our salvation but our sin and our helplessness. Our sin does not just reflect in our choices, but even in our nature. Even our seemingly good deeds are tainted with our sin. And the consequence for our sin and our sinfulness is eternal separation from God and eternal judgment in hell. The very fact that we are sinners makes us completely incapable of saving ourselves from the punishment of sin and the wrath of God towards sin. And that is why Paul starts in Galatians 6:14 by saying, “May I never boast”. Paul knew that there was no reason for him to boast in what he can do in the flesh because all that he had done in the flesh is only to earn condemnation and death.

But Paul continues, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here, Paul points us to the center of redemption: the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the cross, the greatest exchange was made. On the cross, Jesus Christ, the perfect and spotless Son of God, bore our sins upon Himself and died the death we deserved. And if anyone should put their faith in the finished work and perfect person of Christ, they shall bear Christ’s righteousness and inherit eternal life with Him.

Dear believer, the cross of Christ is a humbling reminder of our utter helplessness on our own and our utter dependence on Christ. On the cross of Christ, we see God single-handedly accomplishing our salvation. No wonder Paul said that he cannot boast except in the cross of Christ. Because on the cross of Christ, God’s grace toward sinners and God’s power to save were displayed.

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