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What Matters Most

Galatians 6:14-16
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule – to the Israel of God. (NIVUK)

People, who trust in their religion, point to all the things they have done, and are proud that they have observed the rules. Paul was different. He knew that he could never achieve favour with God by anything he did; his previous religious pedigree and fervour had no value to God (Philippians 3:3-7). But he could point to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ with great confidence; trusting that His death was the atoning sacrifice for his sins (1 John 4:10).
 
Instead of Christ’s cross being a focus of shame (as the world sees it), Paul saw it as his only route to glory. Instead of the world being the opportunity for self-achievement, Paul saw its boasting as eternally hollow. He saw no value in being alive to its demands, and it saw no value in him. The only thing which mattered to Paul was that, through the death of Jesus Christ, he had been given life. He had become a new creation. He had personally experienced peace with God, had received mercy for sins and knew he was accepted into God’s family.
 
Naturally, we want the world to admire us and congratulate our achievements – including our religious achievements. But it is a deadly delusion. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35) If you like to boast about what you have done, then repent and start valuing what Christ has done for you. It is the only way forward; every other way will fail. That change of mind will transform your way of life and brighten your eternal horizon (Romans 12:1-2).

Prayer 
Saviour of the world. How I thank You for what You have done for me, for the peace I have received through the cross. Forgive me when I still hold proudly to my religious achievements and the vain values of this world. Please help me to see how none of that really matters compared with the joy of knowing You, receiving Your grace and choosing not to respond to the empty promises of the world. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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