One of the basic rules for public speaking is that you should get up and tell the people what you are going to say, then say it, and then tell them what you have said. That is what Paul does in Galatians. After a brief introduction in the first part of chapter 1, he speaks out on the problem of legalism in all of its various forms.

Now that he has come to the end of his epistle, he gives a brief summation of all that he has said. We could entitle these verses: "The Reader's Digest Version of Galatians." It will be outlined in five points.






Paul has written with his own hand

The motives of the Judaizers

Paul's motives

The evidence of Paul's motives

Paul's closing benediction

The issue of motivation


As we read through this section, it is very clear that verses 12-17 form a literary unit. These verses deal with the subject of motivation. But how does verse 11 fit in? What does Paul emphasize the fact that he has written this epistle in his own hand? Is this merely a commercial break? Did ne need to catch his breath before completing the epistle? Not at all.



See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. (Galatians 6:11).

To what is this referring? Galatians is not a particularly lengthy epistle, especially when compared to the epistles to the Corinthians or others of Paul's epistles. Neither is there any evidence that Paul had written any previous letters to the Galatian churches.

This seems to be a reference to Paul's handwriting. Why should the fact that Paul wrote this letter by hand and used large letters be of any particular significance?

Paul's usual habit was to dictate his epistles to a secretary. Then at the close of the letter, Paul would sign his name and write the closing salutation.

But this time Paul does something different. This time he writes the entire epistle in his own handwriting. It may have been that Paul's handwriting was not very good. I have friends who write so poorly that it is easier for me to read their Hebrew than their English. It might have been because of his poor handwriting that he wrote with such large letters.

It has also been suggested by some commentators that Paul suffered from poor eyesight. They take the reference to his "bodily illness" in Galatians 5:13 and their willingness to pluck out and give to him their own eyes in verse 15. If this is correct, then it is conceivable that Paul suffered from a visual ailment that made it difficult for him to write clearly.

But what has this to do with the remaining verses of Galatians? It has everything to do with it. Paul is going to be comparing his motives with those of the Jewish false teachers.

The Judaizers


They want to make a showing in the flesh (6:12).

He wants to sow to the Spirit (6:7-10).

They want to compel men to be circumcised (6:12).

He wants to bring men to Christ so that they can partake of a new creation (6:15).

They do not keep the Law themselves, though they want to place others under bondage to the Law (6:13).

He fulfills the Law through his love which leads him to bear the burdens of others (6:2).

They want to boast in the flesh of men whom they have pressured into being circumcised (6:13).

He wants only to boast in the cross of Christ (6:14).

They want to avoid persecution (6:12).

He bears on his body the brand-marks of Jesus (6:17).


This is not a doctrinal research paper. It is not a light devotional. It is not a sugary sermon for sugary saints. It is a letter from Paul's heart. You do not write this kind of letter through a secretary. This kind of letter is too personal for that. You might write this kind of letter by hand.

Even in his handwriting, Paul reflects the sacrifices that he has made for the cause of Christ. He isn't in it for the money. He isn't in it for the power or the fame. He is in it because he loves Jesus.



Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.

For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. (Galatians 6:12-13).

There was a group of men who were in it for the money. They wanted the power and the fame. And when it came right down to it, they didn't really love Jesus.

I think that there are a lot of people today who go by the name of Christian who fit into this category. They go to church. They say all of the right religious words. The wear the right clothes. But when it comes right down to it, they don't really love Jesus. Their motives lie along different lines.

  1. An Fleshly Showing: Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh (6:12).
  2. The Judaizers are very concerned that they look good. They want people to look at them and to admire them.

    It is interesting that these are the same people who have accused Paul of seeking the favor of men (Galatians 1:10 - For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ). It is a trait of human nature that a person will tend to accuse others of the very sin of which he himself is guilty.

    What bothers you about other people? What faults do you find yourself pointing out in others? What accusations do you commonly lay at the feet of others? Chances are that those are the very things of which you yourself are guilty.

  3. An Fearful Compulsion: Those... try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ (6:12).

At the root of the motive of the Judaizers was a desire to escape persecution. There is a principle here. It is that the message of the cross will always bring opposition. If you take the cross out of Christianity, you will also take out the persecution. You can substitute circumcision for the cross and the world will flock to it.

Here is how you can tell a Christian from a pretender. The pretender will compromise the cross when he is faced with persecution. The Christian will not.



But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:14-16).

Having explained the motives of the Jewish false teachers, Paul now turns to his own motives. This is what made Paul tick. This is what moved him.

What moves you? What is it about the Christian faith that motivates you? If it is anything besides that which Paul describes here, then perhaps there is an imbalance in your life.

1. A Boasting in the Cross: But may it never be that I would boast (6:14).

What was the motivating factor in Paul's life? It was the cross and all it represented. What does the cross represent?

Don't miss this! The basis of Paul's motivation was not in himself. It did not depend upon how he felt or which side of the bed he rolled out of in the morning. It did not depend on whether he had gotten his second cup of coffee. It did not depend upon other people and whether they had been nice to him. It did not depend on anyone else. It depended only upon God.

2. A Crucifixion to the World: The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (6:14).

The reason that Paul's motivation does not depend upon the circumstances of the world around him is because he considers himself to be dead to the world. When you are dead, the concerns of the world do not really affect you. I haven't noticed any protestors at the local cemetery. There is nobody there carrying a sign demanding more money, fresher flowers, and better dying conditions. Those who rest in a graveyard are not concerned with the things of this world. Why not? Because they are dead to this world.

Paul says that, in the same way, he is dead to the world. He has been crucified to the world and the world has been crucified to him.

Paul realizes that he has been identified with the death of Christ and that he can now look at the world through the eyes of a dead man. This life has no more hold over him. It is the next life that is important.

3. A Creation of God: Neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision (6:15).

It does not matter to a corpse whether he is circumcised or uncircumcised. He doesn't care what you do to his body. He has had a change of address. He doesn't live there anymore. What DOES matter to a corpse is the new creation.

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17).

When you came to Jesus Christ in faith, trusting in Him as your Lord and Savior, you changed identities. You are no longer the person that you used to be. You have become a new person. You have a new identity. That new identity is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ.

Now there is only one question that remains. Are you going to believe what God says about you? Are you going to walk in the realm to which you have been called?

4. Heavenly Citizenship: Peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God (6:16).

What is the rule to which Paul calls believers to walk? It is the walk of the Spirit that he has described in chapter 5. It is the walk in the new commandment of love. It is the walk by faith.

Those who have entered into such a walk are given a new identity. They are no longer of the world. They are now the Israel of God.

Is this a reference to physical descendants of Abraham or to those who are His spiritual seed as per Galatians 3:7. I think it completely evident from the context of Galatians that the latter is in view. Paul has spent this entire epistle showing that it is not the Jew according to the flesh that is blessed by God, but the one who has a faith relationship with the Lord who is the true Israel of God.

Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. (Galatians 3:6-7).

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:29).

Such a teaching is not exclusive to Galatians. The same thing is taught in Paul's epistle to the Philippians.

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; 3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh. (Philippians 3:2-3).

How did such a thing come about? Does this mean that the promises that were given to Israel have now been given to the church? That is exactly what it means. Jesus made this very clear as He confronted His rejection by the Jew leaders in Jerusalem.

Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, 'The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? 43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust."

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. (Matthew 21:42-45).

The Kingdom was never given to unrepentant people. When the leaders of the nation rejected Jesus as their Messiah, they in turn were rejected by Him. The kingdom that was offered to them would now be taken away from them and given to others producing the fruit of it.



From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. (Galatians 6:17).

Paul has been beaten, he has been stoned, he has suffered sickness and injury, all for the cause of the Gospel of Christ. If you want to know whether Paul is sincere, all you have to do is to look at the scars that mark his body. They are the marks of dedication.

The Jewish false teachers have been glorying in their circumcision. They believe that this mark on they body sets them apart for God. But Paul says that he has a real mark of God. His is the mark of persecution. The very persecution that the false teachers seek to avoid has left its brand-mark upon Paul's body.

Jewish False Teachers


The glory in the mark of circumcision upon their bodies

He points to the marks of persecution on his body

This is a ritual sign of their physical heritage

This is a real sign of his faith and commitment

In the ancient world where slavery was commonplace, it was customary for a master to place a brand upon his slave. It was a mark of ownership. It marked that slave as the property of his master. No one else had the right to give orders to that slave. Only his master had that right.

In the same way, Paul tells those who are giving him a hard time that they are interfering with one who is the servant of God. That is a right that only God has.

There is a promise of protection here. If you are a Christian, then you have become the property of the Lord. He considers you to be His prized possession. He does not let anyone else mess with His possession. Are you going through hard times? Take heart! The God of the universe is aware of your situation. He cares. Stand tall. Be free.




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