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. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.
In much of the world it is generally considered inconsiderate to go to visit someone in their home without bringing some gift – flowers, chocolates, or something. When we come to Christ, must we bring something in our hand? Must we bring also our good intentions or good deeds?
This is not a minor issue, for not only does our salvation depend on Christ and Christ alone, our assurance of salvation and our fruitfulness in the Christian life also depend on Him. Through Christ we are redeemed, saved from sin and saved for a new life. We cannot boast in our goodness or in our promises or in anything other than the Lord and in His grace.
None of this removes the need for courage and determination on our part, but it must always remain the courage that says, “Not I but Christ.” It need not come out of our mouth upon every occasion, but it needs to be in our heart at all times that we are what we are by the grace of God.
“What counts is a new creation” is the NIV translation of verse fifteen. The original was given in this order: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision has power, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” Even though the word carries some idea of validating, the word “counts” downplays the importance of power that this verse is intending to communicate. The word was used in James 5:16, for example, where we read “the prayer of a righteous man avails much.” And the emphasis here is what overcomes, wins, prevails, sustains, gains the victory against sin, against temptation, against the world, the devil, and the flesh. The answer is not our religious rites, whether we opt in or opt out, but the fact that we have become new creations in Christ.
We will either stand in our own righteousness or in the righteousness of Christ. If we constantly stand in Christ, then we have the power of God at work in us to redeem us and cleanse us and strengthen us.
Lord, we stand in You and in Your grace and power. Let our confidence be always in You. Though we have reasons to be discouraged in ourselves, let us see how powerful and great You are. Let us walk in You daily. Amen.