Day 19

Concluding Exhortation

from the Galatians reading plan


Galatians 6:11-18, Jeremiah 9:23-24, Matthew 23:1-36, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

BY Rebecca Faires

At summer camp, I won an award for having curly hair. The curliest, naturally curly hair. I felt pretty proud of myself that night. The next morning at breakfast I assumed everyone was whispering, “Is that the curly hair queen?” Yes, yes, it is I!

Sigh.

And goodness, isn’t this about the level of all the things we boast about? Things we truly have no control over? We can certainly work hard and make good choices. But our eye color and our physical achievements, our successes and our relationships—aren’t all these things really just gifts from God?

Instead of boasting in what amounts to little more than circumstances from our birth, we are called to boast in the Lord (Galatians 6:14). And “the one who boasts should boast in this: that he understands and knows me—that I am the LORD, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the LORD’s declaration” (Jeremiah 9:24).

The Hebrew word for God’s “enduring, covenantal love” is hesed. In his book Inexpressible, Michael Card defines hesed beautifully as, “When the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything.” Our boasting then, is to be in the undeserved and overwhelming love of Christ, who—while we were His enemies, helpless in our sin—gave His life for us, so that we could be children of God (Romans 5:6–11).

Paul’s benediction appeals to this same hesed, as he speaks to the Galatian church that had foolishly followed after the false teachings of the Judaizers, and wandered from the life of the Spirit. As he had earlier called on them to deal gently with those who are overtaken by sin, so also Paul deals gently with the Galatians. Why? Because Christ has dealt gently with Paul. And so Paul can boast in one thing only: the hesed of God, seen most clearly in the cross of Christ. He exhorts the Galatians to do the same.

The apostle then blesses the Galatians with a benediction that can only result from the steadfast love of God. Because of God’s undeserved and faithful love, we have fellowship with one another. We have restoration when we are overtaken in sin, and reconciliation with those we have offended, including Christ our Lord. Because of His love for us, we are part of the family of God, brothers and sisters, and co-heirs with Christ to the inheritance of God’s eternal kingdom.

Paul goes on to bless the Galatians with the grace of Christ, for it is His grace alone which saves, restores, sustains, secures, and transforms us into His own likeness. This He does by the work of His Spirit in our spirits, in our hearts, and in our minds. In Him, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The final note of Paul’s epistle to the Galatians is a resounding praise of Christ, in whom alone we boast. Next time you get ready to toot your own horn over your own achievements, remember that there’s no need to rejoice over ourselves, because our Creator already rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Let His rejoicing over us be enough, and may we instead glory in Christ alone.

Post Comments (19)

19 thoughts on "Concluding Exhortation"

  1. Audrey Flores says:

    Wow this hit home today. I tend to toot my own horn when I feel a lack of support from those around me. BUT He is cheering for me!!! Isn’t that more important?? I’m so thankful for His gentleness with me. May I show other the same grace He gives me.

  2. Amy Westendarp says:

    I love this….. ‘it is His grace alone which saves, restores, sustains, secures, and transforms us’

  3. Churchmouse says:

    Thank you Angie and so many others who have commented and are praying for our family during this monsoon. The wind howls. The waves rage. BUT our anchor remains firm. Riding through this storm is exhausting but we know we do not ride alone. The Captain remains at the helm. Thank you for helping me keep my eyes fixed on Him and for giving me strength when I feel weak.

  4. Angie says:

    Ashley P. my heart aches for you and your friend. The fire she plays with will destroy and cause injury to more than just herself.

    Isn’t this the way of the devil…convince us that what we have is not enough. He started it way back in the garden with Eve, we’ve read about it in regards to the Galatians, and it continues today.

    If I read your post correctly, your friend is not a Christian and therefore relying on her own limited wisdom in her situation. Keep praying for her (as we pray for you). I would encourage you to keep being present. Keep asking her questions that would lead her to share positive thoughts about her husband or children, if you are able. She will possibly try to avoid time with people who remind her of anything other than what she wants right now – and yet it is exactly what she needs. You have shared truth. You will be a reminder of it. She needs Jesus as her Lord and Savior…that is what is missing, that is the hole she is seeking to fill, but these other lusts are being tried. They may seem to fit/feel good right now but it is only a matter of time before they distort the whole puzzle. We’ve all struggled with, done, or do the same type thing, just different circumstances. The big difference is she doesn’t have Jesus as Lord and Savior to lean on, or the Holy Spirit living inside to guide her.

    Be encouraged dear sister. God’s love and His heart are evidenced in you…keep it up. She may not realize the blessing in it right now, but I pray she will. Either way, Daughter of the King, you are sharing Him. Praise God!

  5. Angie says:

    Sharon Smith, from your words I wonder if you are in a place similar to where I found myself last year during the aggressive cancer and death of my mother-in-law. So many people go through this. Everyone, will experience death, unless Jesus comes to take us home first (come quickly Lord Jesus). The umbrella is the same, but the rain that pours upon it is very different. Some experience a sprinkling, others a steady patter, and at times a torrential down-pour. It is not easy. It is a step by step process. It almost feels like a tight-rope walking as every step matters and needs perfected timing and placement. And while you are walking the wind blows against your face, or someone bumps the line and adjustments need to be made. The thing is, my tight-rope is not high above a deep space – it was stretched across the hands of Christ. Yes I walked it, step by step, but He guided and kept me safe. Those steps on my journey were both difficult and glorious. Opportunities to show Christ’s love were upon every inch of the way, every moment of the day. I have asked to be more like Him, certainly that tight-rope required me to lay down my balancing pole and solely depend upon Him. She still died – except, I have the assurance that she is with Jesus! I am here, walking on. Will I pick back up my balancing pole? I pray not…instead may I keep my focus on Christ. So my sister in Christ…my prayer is that your focus will be on Christ and that His strength will empower you each step of the way. I also pray that you will surround yourself with God’s people to nurture and encourage you, reminding you of His love and care. May you be showered with His blessings along the way.

  6. Angie says:

    Churchmouse, I read your heart-post yesterday and thought of Moses. When the battle raged, as long as he held up his arms, God battled for him. When from exhaustion he lowered them, the tide would turn. I pray the Lord will use the love of your SRT sisters in Christ to lift your arms for the battle. I pray that a rock will be placed beneath you, strong, secure, and just the right height to give you the rest you need and strength to continue lifting your arms. This world is not our home and yet into our hearts, along this journey God places Little Loves; our children, our grandchildren, friends, and neighbors and we are blessed. And yet, their pain is ours as well. Thank you for loving. Thank you for lifting them to Jesus. And may your spirit be refreshed with the knowledge that He loves them even more than you do. It seems incomprehensible – because our love is so great-could anyone love them more, and yet not incomprehensible because He. Is. God. Lift your arms sister. You are a child of the King and His love and care are there, for you and those you love…even before the prayers leave your heart.

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