See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
~ Galatians 6:11-18
Paul, who probably had bad eyesight as was described elsewhere, usually wrote letters through a scribe. Now, however, he is writing with his own hand to them this final warning and benediction. Tying up the letter, he brings the focus back to those who are trying to force the Christians in the region of Galatia to get circumcised and come under the Mosaic law. He accurately points out that it is for the sake of pride that they are seeking to convert these new Christians to Judaism, and so that they may not be persecuted as Paul and many other Christians have been. The issue with trying to keep the law is that not even the those who are born and raised under the Mosaic law can keep it and they know this. Instead of seeking to help them honor God, they are seeking their own gain through the attempted conversion of these well-meaning Christians. They are doing it so that they can “boast” in the number of people they have converted – nothing less than a man-centered, worthless goal.
In whom does Paul boast? Jesus Christ and Him alone! He has, as opposed to those who are harassing the Galatian Christians, by the cross of Christ died to the man he was, who sought after Christians for the sake of his own pride and glory, and now, living in the Spirit, he seeks to see those who are in his care separated from their worldly ties as well. The world system that once ruled his life is now dead to him, and he to it, and it has been replaced with a new system – one that is focused on Christ and Him alone and it is this system that he wants them to be a part of, to the glory of Christ. There is nothing more important in the world than this point: There are only two types of people in the world, saved and unsaved. Christian and non-christian. Not Christians and Jews and the rest of the world, but those who are redeemed through Christ, and those who are not. These are the only two categories that exist which have any lasting bearing. God isn’t going to accept you because you’re an American, just as He’s not going to accept you because you have the blood of Abraham in your veins, but it is based solely on the condition of your soul in reference to Jesus. Did God choose you for salvation before He laid the foundations for the universe? Have you repented of your sinful life and trusted in Jesus Christ alone to save you from your sins? Then you are forever free, totally transformed, and eternally forgiven before the throne of God above. It is not by your own merit, but by the work of Christ that you are now set free from your sins and you are able to stand before God, totally cleansed of your sin, and call out to Him as a child cries to his father.
Paul then finishes his letter with a brief request that no one harass him any longer on this subject, for he, unlike the people who sought to place the Christians under legalism, has suffered for the sake of the gospel. This is not a badge of honor, but a sign to all showing that he, unlike them, was unwilling to bend under the weight of persecution for the sake of his flesh. He has wholly surrendered, in body and spirit, to God above, regardless of whatever may come to him because of it. He reminds them of his love for them by praying that the grace of God be with them all and ends his letter.