23: Make This One Thing Count
**To kick off our Daniel series, and in preparation for moving into our new home on October 18th, the elders have invited our church family to a 28-day season of prayer and fasting. These daily devotionals correspond with the 28-day Bible reading countdown to the day we celebrate our soft opening.**
"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 counts for anything. What counts is the new creation." Galatians 6:14-15
Boasting. We’re surrounded by it. From celebrities to politicians, from sports figures to every other post on Instagram (well, at least it feels like every other post sometimes), we love to boast.
And if we’re honest, all of us have an inner Conor McGregor.
And as for Paul? Paul had plenty to boast about. Think about his résumé: he met Jesus face to face, planted churches around the known world, wrote 13 books of the Bible, was born a Jew, was educated at the most prestigious school of his time, came from the best family, and was surpassing the Apostle Peter in authority and recognition (Galatians 2:14).
Speaking in today’s terms, Paul would’ve been that guy who graduated from Harvard. The guy who started a business and sold it for millions. He would’ve been the MVP at a Super Bowl or won the Crossfit Games. And the Olympics? He would've won the gold medal. Twice.
But Paul said something surprising: he said none of that “counts for anything.” And more specifically, none of my religious works “count for anything.”
If our identity is anchored in what we’ve done (that is, circumcision), we will reap destruction (6:7-8). But if it is anchored in what Christ has done, we will reap eternal life. God’s acceptance of us cannot be gained by our success nor forfeited by our failures. When I need to know that God accepts me, I don’t need to look at what I’ve done; I look at what Jesus accomplished on the cross. The gospel is good news to those who know they don't measure up, and it's offensive to those who think they do.
Here’s the simple formula:
Accomplishments and success on the outside (circumcision) = death and destruction.
Renewed by the Spirit on the inside = new creation and eternal life.
And do not be deceived...if you sow to the flesh, you will reap destruction. But if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life. Paul is so clear: don't turn the salvation clock backwards! Jesus is here! The Spirit is here! The new creation is here! So tell your Conor McGregor to put a sock in it. It all counts for nothing. There's only one thing that counts, only one thing that lasts, and that's the work of Christ on the cross.