The Position of Paul—the Way of the Cross (6:14-15)
In contrast to the prideful boasting of the false teachers, Paul quickly reaffirms his own commitment to the cross of Christ (v. 14) and the new creation in Christ (v. 15).
All prideful boasting is excluded by the cross of Christ, because identification with Christ in his death on the cross results in the death of all reasons for such boasting: 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. The world is characterized by prideful boasting about national identity, social status and religious practices. When I live in the world, my life will inevitably be characterized by such boasting. But when I die, the way of the world will no longer govern my life. My belief in the cross of Christ includes not only the realization that he died for me to rescue me from judgment under the law of God, but also the constant awareness that I must reckon myself to have died with him. My participation in Christ's death means that I no longer have any reason for boasting in myself, since the old self characterized by the values of the world is dead. This absolute renunciation of all prideful boasting because of total identification with the crucified Messiah is the aspiration of every true believer.
Belief in Christ leads not only to death but also to life: Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. The reality of life in this new creation has been a theme of the entire letter. We have a new relationship with God: we are no longer slaves; we are his children and are free to address him by the Spirit as Father, Abba (4:6). We have a new relationship with one another: we are no longer imprisoned and divided by racial, social or gender barriers; we are now free and one in Christ (3:28).
The gospel is the rule for Paul's life; it determines both the spiritual and the social dimensions of his life. No longer does he relate to God or to others on the basis of his Jewish identity, but on the basis of his union with Christ in his death and resurrection.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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