Having dealt with the conduct of liberty thus broadly, the apostle now made some detailed application of the principles enunciated, giving an important illustration pertinent to the whole question of the relation between himself and the Galatian Christians. They were to communicate to the necessity of the teachers in all things, remembering that God is not mocked. He is a God of law and order, and as the sowing is, so must be the reaping.
The conclusion of the epistle opened with a personal touch as the apostle referred to the large characters in which he had written. Finally, he summarized the whole subject of the false teachers. The principle on which they had attempted to compel the Galatians to be circumcised was the desire to make a fair show in the flesh in order that they might escape persecution. As against this, the apostle declared that he desired only to glory in the Cross. This glorying is experimental. Through that Cross the world had been crucified to him, and he to the world; and in that very personal crucifixion which had endured persecution and suffering he gloried, and in naught beside.
He then pronounced peace and mercy on those who walk by that rule, glorying only in the Cross, and "upon the Israel of God." What a touch of splendid independence there is in the words, "Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus." The very shame and suffering and persecution which the false teachers would escape the apostle declares have stamped him with the true insignia of his office. The scars on his body left by the stripes and the stones speak of his loyalty to, and fellowship with, his Master, and render him splendidly independent of all human opinion and declining to be troubled by any man. The whole letter closes with a benediction.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25