“As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh … that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ”Galatians 6:12
The apostle Paul is addressing those Christians who are not living in a manner consistent with what he has written in this letter. The reason they are not living that way is that they are trying to avoid criticism and persecution from those who choose to live by moral and ritualistic law. They were boasting in their carnal achievements in keeping that law. To avoid criticism they conceal their faith in Christ alone and speak of their fulfillment of the law. Paul denounces that as hypocritical. All any Christian has of which to boast is Christ crucified and risen again (v 14).
Obedience to a code of law or disobedience makes no difference. What is absolutely essential is “a new creation” (v 15). Unless one is born of God he is not saved. The new creation that we are in Christ is what God does and not what we do and therefore we have nothing of which to boast.
Jeremiah, in accord with Paul, wrote, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me” (9:23-24a). The one who strives to appear wise in the world is a fool before God. The one who is wise before God will appear foolish to the world. To avoid the persecution of criticism we can boast of our moral and ritualistic performance. That may make us appear wise to carnal, nominal Christians and the world but it persecutes Christ’s people who choose to identify with Christ.
Paul tells us that there is no fence-sitting here. We are either with Christ or persecuting Christ. He ought to know because he had persecuted Christ by persecuting His church with religious zeal. He only had a change of heart when he met Jesus and it was revealed to him who Jesus is and what He has done for him. It was then God was able to make him a new creation.
We may boast that we sing the right songs, pray the right prayers have communion at the right frequency, use the right translation of the Bible and have the right doctrines but these avail nothing unless we are born of God and are therefore a new creation in Christ. “… who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).