Create in me a pure heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
I truly believe that God’s Word has answers for even the things we consider trivial. I believe His Word is inspired by the Holy Spirit and is the very Word of God. On that basis, the following paragraphs provide some thoughts on Galatians 6:14.
To begin, lets review ;Romans 3:23, a very familiar passage. That verse says, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. I have been considering the word “short” in this passage. In the flesh, man considers “short” to mean that, in spite of all he has done in this life, whether for good or for evil, he is never really very far from God. After all, God is love! Right? I find that statement or position by some to be the epitome of fleshly pride and arrogance. As I carefully considered what Paul was saying in Romans 3:23, it would appear that the “short” to which he refers is the great distance that lies between heaven and hell. This is biblically supported by the account of the beggar Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. In this passage, both Lazarus and a rich man die, with Lazarus joyfully residing in heaven and the rich man condemned to hell. In his torment, the rich man begs that Lazarus be allowed to dip his finger in water and cool the tongue of the rich man. But the answer given is clear in Luke 16:26 which says ”…..and besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here [heaven] to you can not, nor can anyone cross over from there [hell] to us” (emphasis and explanations mine). This is one of those scriptural passages I find straight-forward in meaning. There clearly is a great distance between heaven and hell and it is fixed. Every individual, on some future day, will have one of two things happen. They will either come to realize just how “short” they have fallen from the glory of God or they will realize the blessedness of the saving life of Christ.
But then the question comes to mind that if “all have sinned”, how does an individual avoid being on the wrong side of the great chasm with God now so that the eternal gap fixed between heaven and hell mentioned above is never experienced? Biblically, the answer is found in Jesus Christ, the righteous one of God, pure, holy and majestic, who himself declared in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost”. His sinless life is declared in Hebrews 4:15, “….but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin”. And that sinless life, the “one act of righteousness” the Apostle Paul eloquently describes in Romans 5:18, has been imputed to us who believe by the grace of God. Ah, such a truth, for if it is not so, Jesus Christ cannot be a Savior for you or me. So where does this lead us?
In II Corinthians 5:21, we are told, “God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (explanation mine). This passage describes what I call the “exchanged life”…….something about which I become overwhelmed and joyful. By faith, and faith alone, my sin can be laid upon Jesus Christ and, in exchange, God imputes to me the very righteousness of Christ, the holy lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). In his letter to the Romans, Paul calls this exchange process “justification”. Carefully read with me all of Romans 3:21-27, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies the man who has faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded…..” (emphasis mine).
This matter of the exchanged life makes my soul leap for joy and brings me to the point of Galatians 6:14, which says, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (emphasis mine). Did you grasp the matter of “God forbid…..”? Listen carefully. If I have a clear understanding of the “great chasm” between heaven and hell fixed, and if I have a clear understanding of the truth of an exchanged life, then God forbid that I should glory in anything but Jesus Christ whose saving life, death and resurrection make it possible to avoid the reality of the great chasm between heaven and hell and make it possible to rejoice in obtaining justification by faith, i.e. the exchanged life. God forbid. Let that not so easily slip from your mind. Hide this truth deep in your heart.
As I have examined my own life, it was not difficult to identify those times I have gloried in things like a successful business career, like being able to run half- and full marathons, like living with a wonderful wife, like having the best looking daughters, grand-daughters and grand-sons in the whole world, like having the smartest sons-in-law and on and on and on. The “God forbid” hit me like a bucket of cold water and dropped me to my knees in repentance before the Lord. My soul groaned as I realized the times that pride had consumed my thinking, evidenced by time spent glorying in me. As I found myself in prayer, with my Bible open to Galatians 6:14, I conducted what I call “;1 John 1:9 business” right then and there with the Lord. I expressed my thankfulness that, by faith, His only begotten Son many years earlier had removed the great chasm from ever impacting my life and, by faith, had given me his own righteousness in exchange for all my sin and had declared me justified before the Father. And I covenanted with the Lord, with a permanent covenant, never to be forgotten, that I would glory only in the cross of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
So how does that covenant play out in actual life?? What does it look like as I walk through life? I am sure I have a lot yet to learn but this one thing I know. As I walk through life, the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ will be real. My dependence will be upon him, whether I am perplexed by personal finances, or my relationship with my wife, or even perplexed in my business relationships. My own actions and responses as I walk through the valley of the shadow of life will be covered and controlled by the very righteousness of Christ given to me by God Himself, through faith believing. God forbid that I should glory in anything other than the very redemptive cross of Christ Jesus my Lord.