Boasting in the Cross
Lesson 14: September 23–29, 2017
Drs. Carl Cosaert and Paul Dybdahl provide the commentary for this week’s lesson. Listen to the audio file below.
"How central is the cross of Christ to Christianity? And how does it relate to your life?"
Galatians 6:11-18 – More than outward conformity to a set of rules, God desires a heart open to Him.
2 Corinthians 4:10 – Accepting the call to follow Christ involves God making us a new person.
Key Points and Questions:
1. Boasting in the Flesh: Although Paul has hinted at it already, in the final verses of Galatians, Paul specifically says that the problem in Galatia was that some within the church were insisting that Gentile believers submit to circumcision. Paul says their motivation was to avoid persecution and to make a "good showing" in the flesh. Here refers to this a little later has "boasting" in the flesh.
A. How would the circumcision of Gentiles enable the Jewish believers to avoid persecution for the cross of Christ? (Gal. 1:13, 5:11, 6:12).
B. How would getting the Galatians to submit to circumcision provide a "good showing" for Jewish believers who were insisting on their circumcision?
C. Since circumcision is certainly not an issue in the church today, what modern day analogies might we see in this situation?
2. Boasting in the Cross: In contrast to his opponents' insistence on circumcision, Paul places the cross of Christ at the center of the Christian faith.
A. We can assume from Paul's repeated references to the centrality of the cross of Christ that his opponents likely characterized him as being too fanatical about the cross. Sure it had its place, they said, but it was not everything. How central is the cross of Christ to Christianity?
B. Paul refuses to boast in anything but the cross? How does someone actually boast in the cross? What does that look like? Conversely, what does it mean to boast in the flesh?
3. What Matters Most: To keep the Galatians from concluding that being uncircumcised is in some way more pleasing to God than being circumcised, Paul says that what really matters is being born again—the divine act by which God makes a spiritually dead person alive.
A. How can a person know if they have been born again? And how does new birth occur?
B. What are some of the external forms of religion that people often mistake for Christianity?
C. It is easy to get so caught up with external forms of religion. What practical steps can a church or an individual take to help them remember that the heart is what really matters?
This Sabbath School lesson & commentary originally appeared on Good Word and is shared here with permission.
Carl Cosaert is professor of biblical studies at Walla Walla University.
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