Galatians 6:11-16 (JDV)
Galatians 6:11 See what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.
Galatians 6:12 Those who want to make a good impression in the flesh – these would force you to be circumcised– but only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Galatians 6:13 You see, even the circumcised don’t keep the law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised in order to boast about your flesh.
Galatians 6:14 But my boasting is not going to happen except about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me by it, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:15 You see, neither being circumcised nor not being circumcised mean anything; what matters instead is a new creation.
Galatians 6:16 May peace come to all those who follow this standard, and mercy even to the Israel of God!
what matters instead
It is very difficult to apply the principles Paul taught in Galatians. It is much easier to debate whether this or that practice is biblical than it is to live in the new creation reality. But in the end, it is the new creation reality that will make a difference, both in our individual lives, and among our congregations.
Living in the new creation reality at least means allowing others to have different priorities, without disfellowshipping them. We have to stand strongly for the essentials, and allow for diversity in the non-essentials. But we also should have the liberty to discuss and admonish one another even on the non-essentials.
For Paul, the cross of Christ, and the new creation it brought to believers – these were essentials. May that always be the case with us.