_It is advisable that you prayerfully and meditatively read the text first_
*A NEW CREATURE*
*TEXT:* GALATIANS 6:11-18.
_*KEY VERSE* "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, not uncircumcision, but a new creature" (GALATIANS 6:15)._
The 19th century theologian, Soren Kierkegaard, identified two kinds of religion - Religion A and Religion B. The first is "faith in name only". It Is the practice of attending church without genuine faith in the Lord. Religion B, on the other hand, is a life-transforming, destiny changing experience. It is a definite commitment to the crucified and risen Saviour, which establishes a relationship between a forgiven sinner and a gracious God.
Apostle Paul in our text summarised his epistle to the Galatians. He reminded them of the chief aim of his writings - to warn the Galatian converts of the pretence and error of false traditionalists who were advocating a return to circumcision and observance of Jewish ceremonies before one could be saved. He emphasised the need to become new creatures by faith in Christ's finished work at Calvary rather than parading empty religion and observances that cannot save. He committed them unto the grace of God while praying for the preservation of their faith.
Those who believe in outward religion without inward change are present in our day. They market what they refer to as "articles of faith" and involve in practices and rituals that cannot transform those who are engaged in them into new creatures. The devil will be delighted to have people outwardly committed to religion while living an inwardly corrupt and defeated life.
If we are to produce genuine believers, zealous of good works, who act as salt and light in our corrupt world, we must preach and lead people into the experience of the new birth. And as believers, we are called to shun all attempts of religious people to pull us away from the confidence and assurance we have in Christ.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY Christ came to reestablish a relationship between God and man and not to step up a religion.
*BIBLE IN ONE YEAR* GENESIS 38-40.
The problem with salvation by works
*1. Fleshly circumcision or our "good" works can never earn genuine salvation*
a. Circumcision was a token of the covenant made with Abraham and no Israelite can be saved in the Old covenant without it, Exodus 13:48.
b. However, circumcision must be accompanied by keeping the whole Law, both moral and ceremonious, before salvation by works can be realistic, Galatians 5:3.
c. The so Judaizers could not even fully obey the Law but concentrated on physical circumcision to be acceptable to God and compelled others to follow the same step, v13.
*2. Reasons for wrongly emphasizing circumcision in addition to salvation*
a. It is easier than keeping the whole law, v12.
b. It was a way of avoiding persecutions from unbelieving Jews, v12.
c. Just for external show to impress people and show that they belong, vv12,13.
d. Wilful ignorance of the fact that circumcision, like other "good works" cannot really transform heart which is the real essence of salvation, v15.
e. It agrees with the ego and pride of the natural man, v12.
*Q* What makes you to wrongly think that "good works" is enough for salvation?
*3. Reasons why seeking salvation with works is dangerous*
a. Salvation by works and salvation by faith are totally incompatible and irreconcilable. You pick one, v14.
b. None can actually keep the whole law and earn salvation. So salvation by keeping the Law is not possible, v15. If it is possible man will not need a Saviour.
c. Salvation is all about a new heart given by God. It is only possible through faith in Christ, vv14,15.
d. If you can boast or glory on any other things outside the cross of Christ for your salvation, then you don't have the real salvation experience, v14.
e. Every thing we can receive from God, particularly salvation, comes *exclusively* through the cross. The truly converted boasts or glory on the cross alone and not on any other thing, v15.
f. The most important thing in religion is a transformed heart and only Jesus can give it on His own merit. No man merits it.
*Praise God* for the unaffordable salvation that Jesus has made free through His cross
Pray, in full surrender, that your *boastings will be only on what Jesus did on the cross* and nothing else
Once, bow before the cross and ask *Jesus to take you closer* to the cross
Pray for those in the Church who could not get salvation because they rely on their own efforts that they will know the truth