Finally, Paul calls attention to the fact that he himself is writing, possibly the entire letter. But in view of his practice of utilizing a scribe, as noted in other letters, it is more likely that he takes the pen from the hand of his scribe and adds his own concluding comment. Once again he denounces false teachers as he accuses them of trying to force circumcision on the Galatians, only that they may boast in the number of converts they have won rather than glorying in the cross of Christ. By making converts their way, they avoid persecution at the hand of others of like mind. The Judaizers saw the Galatian Gentile believers as potential proselytes, whereas Paul sees these same Galatian Gentiles as brothers and sisters in Christ, by God's grace. Therefore, to become a Jewish proselyte meant to turn away from grace.
In conclusion Paul says that, for the believer, circumcision or uncircumcision is of no importance. What does being a Jew or a Gentile matter, as long as one is a new creature in Christ? In v. 17 Paul seems to contrast the mark of circumcision on the body with the marks of Jesus, possibly scars on his back from the beatings at the hands of the Jews. (If the South Galatian theory is accepted, some of the readers could well have been among the apostle's early converts who witnessed the stoning at Lystra, Ac 14.)
Peace, mercy, and grace are bestowed on all who are of the new creation, as Paul brings his explosive letter to an end. These blessings are directed to the “Israel of God”—the new Israel, which is the church. In spite of all he has said, Paul still calls them brothers.
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Beacon Bible Commentary. Vol. 18. Kansas City: Beacon Hill, 1965.
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Burton, Edgar Dewitt. Epistle to the Galatians. ICC. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1921. Rep. 1962.
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