by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Galatians 6:11-18
I. Paul battled much of his life with his own Jewish brethren
A. They insisted on preserving the Law in many ways.
B. A motivation is to be expected - Galatians 6:12
C. It appears some tried to justify it by appealing to Paul.
1. After all he had Timothy circumcised! - Acts 16:3
2. Paul points out, though, that if they agreed with him then they wouldn’t be persecuting him or taking offense at the teaching of the cross - Galatians 5:11
D. Acceptance of the cross and acceptance of circumcision was something even these people understood were contrary purposes.
II. Paul points out they are focused on external details – making a showing in the flesh; that is, circumcision, as if a physical cutting would save a person.
A. It is a milder charge than the one Jesus made - Matthew 23:15
B. The problem is the focus on physical compliance with no thought to a change in heart.
C. Not that circumcision was even required by God in the New Law - Galatians 5:2-4
D. But even those demanding this physical sign from the Old Law don’t keep that same Law - Galatians 6:13
III. It isn’t the outward marks, but the inward change
A. Circumcision does nothing. Faith working through love does - Galatians 5:6
B. It is not some physical mark, but the changed life - Galatians 6:15
C. It is the keeping of God’s commands - I Corinthians 7:19
IV. But if a physical sign is so important, Paul points out that he wears the marks of Jesus on his body - Galatians 6:17
A. The word Paul uses is “stigma.” It means a mark or a brand.
1. Paul has suffered much in the cause of Christ - II Corinthians 11:24-25
2. They would have left scars as reminders. Reminders Paul was willing to collect - Colossians 1:24
B. A stigma was the mark a slave owner placed on a slave to indicate ownership
1. Paul saw himself as the Lord’s slave - Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1
2. Jesus had pick him to bear His word - Acts 9:15
3. It was his job - II Timothy 1:11
4. He preached from necessity, though it was a command that he willingly followed - I Corinthians 9:16-18
C. A stigma was also the tattoos pagans put on their bodies to indicate what god they served. That is why tattoos were forbidden - Leviticus 19:28
1. The practice is referred to in the mark of the beast - Revelation 13:16-18
2. Now Paul didn’t scribed Jesus’ name literally in his body, but his body did show the fact that he served Jesus.
3. But Christians do show the marks of their God - Revelation 14:1
a. It is an illustration long used - Ezekiel 9:3-7
V. But Paul doesn’t speak of external marks on his body, but of marks in his body
A. Sin leaves marks on the practitioner - Jeremiah 2:22
1. God marks those for correction - Habakkuk 1:12; Jude 4
2. If God marks iniquities, who can stand? - Psalm 130:3
3. What misery! - Job 10:14-15
B. But God changes the marks by the blood of Christ!
1. We show new signs - Galatians 5:22-25
2. We put on a changed life - Colossians 3:12-17
C. So what will you choose to show to the world?
1. The scars of a sin filled life?
2. Or, the marks of service to God?
3. James 2:18