Galatians 6:13-18
Gal 6:13 (KJB)
For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
This is the typical false teacher placing all the burden on those they are trying to deceive. These false teachers will not keep the law but they want to place the Galatian Christians back under the law. If that happens then these false teachers will be glorying that they were able to bring these Christians back under the law again and that they were successful in their task. If these false teachers can cause others to come back under the law, then they would escape any assumption that they too are converts of the sect of the Nazarene. These Judaizers were not concerned about the spiritual welfare of these Christians, all they wanted was to get them back under the law to show Jerusalem their zeal for the law. Their main concern was probably to escape any persecution by having any association with the cross.
Gal 6:14 (KJB)
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
In contrast to the false teachers who glory in the converts they make to the bondage of the law, Paul does not glory in his own works but he glories in the cross of Christ. The cross of Christ has caused the world to be crucified unto Paul, that is, the world holds no attraction for Him. Crucifixion means that Paul’s only reason for living is no longer tied to the world and the law, but is tied to Christ. Paul also states that he is crucified unto the world, that is, he has no affinity to the things of the world because he no longer preaches the law or the things of the world. His entire being is in Christ and therefore the world does not hold him in honor nor does he hold the world in honor, because the world is in opposition to Christ and the cross. That is what the main teaching of Galatians is all about. We are not to bring ourselves under the bondage of the world since Christ has freed us at the cross.
Gal 6:15 (KJB)
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Availeth - Power in action or to prevail
Here is the equality of all at the cross. It does not matter whether a person is of the Jews or if a person is a Gentile, if they are in Christ they are a new creation. These Galatians may have been told that they needed to be circumcised to complete their salvation. Circumcision would add nothing to a person’s salvation. There is no power in circumcision to make it of any effect toward a person’s salvation. It was only a sign and symbol and did not add to a person’s salvation. The only thing that matters is that a person is born again by the blood of Christ making them a new creation. (2 Cor 5:17 KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 speaks of all things becoming new and old things are passed away. This would include all the signs and symbols required under the law including circumcision. Since circumcision has passed away it would definitely not be effectual toward anyone’s salvation.
Gal 6:16 (KJB)
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Rule - Standard or measuring rod
The rule which Paul is speaking of is that of Justification by grace alone and definitely not keeping of the law. Those who are truly born again will have the peace of God ruling in their hearts. (Col 3:15 KJV) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Those who are truly born again are the ones that God has had mercy on for eternity. (1 Pet 2:10 KJV) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. The truly born again people are the ones who have obtained mercy. Then Paul states that this grace and mercy be upon the Israel of God. Now it is very important to know that Paul is not speaking of national Israel but Spiritual Israel which is the body of believers. God bestows peace and mercy through grace and not race. There are many verses in the New Testament which speaks about the Israel of God being the body of believers and not physical Israel. The name “Israel” means “Prince with God.” The only ones who are a Prince with God would be His children. He is the King of Kings and we are His children making us Princes.
(Rom 2:28-29 KJV) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: {29} But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Romans 2:28-29 reveals to us who a real Jew is, he is not one who is according to the flesh but one who is according to the Spirit, in other words God states that the true Jew is one that is saved.
(Phil 3:2-3 KJV) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. {3} For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Philippians 3:2-3 states that the believers are the true circumcision which means we are the true Israel of God. (Deu 10:16 KJV) Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. Deuteronomy 10:16 speaks about circumcising the foreskin of our hearts which is another synonym for salvation by grace.
(Rom 9:6-8 KJV) Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: {7} Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. {8} That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Romans 9:6-8 tells us that not all Israel is of Israel. This means that the physical nation of Israel contains another Israel which is the true body of believers. Notice in verse 7 how specific God gets and states that just because they are the seed of Abraham does not mean they are children and only through Isaac shall the seed be called. This is very plain in that those who are saved are the true children. The Lord Jesus Christ came through the lineage of Isaac and not Ishmael and this is why God specifically points to the descendants of Isaac. Then God states the children of the flesh, those born in physical Israel, are not the children of God. Those who are saved through the Lord Jesus Christ and by grace alone are the true seed, that includes the remnant from Israel and all the Gentiles. (Isa 10:22 KJV) For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
(Rom 11:25-26 KJV) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. {26} And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
Romans 11:25-26 speaks of all Israel being saved. Many Pre-Tribulational preachers state that all national Israel will become saved at a future point. As usual, they are reading prophecy books without analyzing the passages. The passages above state that all Israel will be saved when the fulness of the Gentiles come in. This means that the Israel in view is spiritual Israel or the body of believers because it is made up of Gentiles and Jews and when the last one becomes saved that God plans on saving, then all Israel will be saved, that is, the body of Christ will be complete.
Gal 6:17 (KJB)
From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Paul winds up the letter to the Galatians knowing that he has fully covered the situation of the false teachers. Therefore, he feels that from this point on, of reading and heeding this letter, they should be obedient to the Lord in the area of grace alone and should send the false teachers out. This would mean that the Galatians would not be troubling the Apostle Paul because of being affected by false gospels. Paul then goes on to state he bears the marks of Christ in his body. These marks could be identified with the beatings and persecutions he faced and faces as he brings the gospel to different churches. Those who are beaten for Christ show they are the real thing for if someone is not persecuted at least minimally, then they are not the real thing. These marks could also identify Paul as a slave of Christ as the Galatians would have been familiar with this because many times slaves were branded to identify them as slaves.
Gal 6:18 (KJB)
Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Paul gives his benediction of grace to these Galatians. He also desires that they experience the grace of God in their hearts and hopefully never turn away from it again to try and go under the law. Amen>So let it be!
The Epistle to the Galatians was written from Rome.