Galatians 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Our understanding of the cross of Christ is generally far too shallow. We tend to recoil at the horror of it (once we understand how it was actually done) and/or we think of it in strictly physical terms. However, the Bible makes it clear in many places that the physical connects to the spiritual, and vice versa. Even in the 1st Century there were those who said that the two were completely separate, so it didn’t matter what we did physically, but the whole Bible testifies against that idea. The horrors of Jesus’ physical crucifixion point to the magnitude of the spiritual realities that were accomplished in that act. Crucifixion was not an unusual method of torture and execution for the Romans. If Jesus had been merely a very good man, just a Bible teacher, His crucifixion would have been just one more on the long Roman tally. If Jesus had merely appeared to be physical, like some sort of persistent hologram, then He couldn’t really have died. The cross cannot be understood apart from grasping that Jesus was both fully God and fully Man, taking the penalty for the sins of mankind on Himself as the divine sacrificial Lamb. It is only with that understanding that what Paul wrote here is manifested in our lives. We weren’t physically nailed to that cross, but by faith we participate in the reality that Jesus was. Someone nailed to a cross doesn’t care about any of the things in the world that consume our attention. That’s why Paul wrote to the Romans, “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11) That’s exactly what he’s talking about here.
I’ve certainly done my share of boasting over the years, about all sorts of things. I too need to meditate more on the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ, to grasp more fully what it means for me and for the world. As Jesus prayed just before His crucifixion, I am in the world but not of it anymore. (John 17:14-16) The devil and my flesh conspire to try to make me forget that, but it is established spiritual reality. I have seen many people transformed by God, and I see it going on even now. I need to let that transformation be completed even in me, so that nothing will hinder my fellowship with my Lord, nor hinder others seeing Him through me.
Father, thank You for this reminder. We don’t often think of the cross as we enter the Advent season! Help me indeed remember why Jesus was born, and rejoice to communicate Your full Gospel to all who will receive it, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!