Galatians 6:11-18

Sunday, May 27th, 2012



Galatians 1:6-9 - 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Some had come to the churches in Galatia after Paul had established churches there. They infiltrated the churches and began teaching that in order to be saved one had to keep the law, including circumcision.

Paul wrote Galatians to combat this heresy.

In chapters 1-2 Paul shows that the message of salvation he taught did not come from the apostles but was the same message they were teaching. Neither they nor he had never taught that keeping the law was necessary for salvation.

In chapters 3-4 Paul taught that the idea of keeping the law in order to be saved was unscriptural.

In chapters 5-6 Paul dealt with the ramifications of the necessity of keeping the law for the Galatian believers.

In this message we will study Galatians 6:11-18 and draw our study of Galatians to a close.


Galatians 6:11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

Ye see may be a statement of fact or an imperative, meaning notice.

As translated, how large a letter suggests the length of the letter. Inasmuch as letter is plural in the Greek text, it may instead be intended to suggest the size of the individual letters comprising the words in the sense of, See with what large letters I have written to you.

It suggests that the individual letters are large, perhaps, as a result of Paul's failing eyesight or, perhaps, for emphasis.

Most commentators understand this use of large letters to refer only to the conclusion of the epistle, and this is the way I understand it. It is consistent with II Thessalonians 3:17.

II Thessalonians 3:17 - The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.

This suggests that Paul used an amanuensis or scribe to write II Thessalonians as well as his other epistles but that he took the pen from the amanuensis and wrote the conclusion himself in his own handwriting and that the letters of his writing were larger than the letters of the amanuensis.

Again, it could have been a result of Paul's failing eyesight or, perhaps, it was for emphasis.

I have written unto you is simply I wrote to you. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

Paul is actually still writing this epistle to the Galatians when he states I have written unto you. It is intended to be understood from the perspective of the reader rather than from the perspective of the writer. Although he is still composing his letter when he states this, by the time the Galatian believers receive it, it will have been written in the past. This is fairly common in the New Testament.

With mine own hand is with my hand. At this point in the letter, Paul is actually doing the writing.


Galatians 6:12-13 - 12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

As many as desire is all those who are desiring or all those who are wishing.

What they desire is to make a fair shew, i.e. to make a good showing. It indicates that their real motive is to enhance their own reputations rather than their concern for you Galatians.

In the flesh suggests before men, implying in the flesh where men can see this.

The Judaizers were men-pleasers who apparently wanted to build a large following for themselves so that they would look good to others when boasting of their converts to circumcision.

We need to be careful that our real motives in Christian service are not to bring glory to ourselves but to bring glory to the Lord and to please Him.

They constrain you is they are constraining (i.e. compelling or forcing) you to be circumcised. What this means is that these Judaizers were wanting to overcome the Galatian believers and force circumcision upon them. They wanted to have the Galatian believers as trophies of their own accomplishments.

We need to be careful that our motives in witnessing are not just to get another notch in our soul winner's belts but rather that we do what we do to please the Lord and to bring glory to Him to Whom all the glory belongs.

We need to sing, to teach, and to preach in order to bring glory to God rather than to bring glory to ourselves. Although I am to do my best in all that I do, if my real motive is to enhance my own reputation in your eyes, my motive is wrong; and I am guilty of sin.

Only suggests that they have an ulterior motive, and this ulterior motive is lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

Lest is indicative of a negative purpose clause and means in order that they not or for the purpose that they not.

What they want to avoid is to suffer persecution for the cross of Christ or to be persecuted because of the preaching of the cross of Christ.

The reason they are not preaching the cross of Christ is that they are afraid of suffering the persecution their preaching of the cross of Christ would bring upon them, the same sort of persecution Paul is experiencing from them.

Galatians 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

In verse 13 Paul further explains what he has written in verse 12.

Neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law means that these Judaizers who are seeking to get the Galatians to keep the law by being circumcised do not themselves keep the law.

The fact that they are not keeping the law suggests that their real motive is not their concern for keeping (or observing) the law.

Their real desire (or wish) is to have you circumcised.

And their real motive is that they may glory in your flesh = boast in or pride themselves in their accomplishment in having you circumcised.

As believers, we should always beware of wrong motives. Remember, Jeremiah 17:9 says, 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?


A proper motive is found in II Corinthians 5:15 and Romans 12:1-2 .

II Corinthians 5:15 says, 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Romans 12:1-2 says, 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Galatians 6:14-16 - 14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

God forbid is may it never come to pass, may it never happen, or may it never come to be.

That I should glory is for me to boast, for me to exult in, or for me to pride myself in or about.

Save is unless or except.

In the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ indicates the one and only place that the Apostle Paul thinks is proper to glory or boast. It is always proper for believers to boast in what Christ has accomplished for them on the cross, but it is never proper for believers to boast in anything which they have accomplished.

By whom is through Whom and refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The world is crucified unto me is the world has been crucified to me or the world has been nailed to the cross for me. The tense of is crucified implies an action that has been completed in the past whose results continue into the present. Hence, Christ has been crucified in the past, and He remains crucified as a result. Its resultant state of being is emphasized by its translation.

And I unto the world implies that Paul has been crucified unto the world and that as a result, Paul is now in a state of having been crucified unto the world.

Paul's relationship to the world has now changed just as the world's relationship to Paul has changed. The fact that each has been crucified to the other means that they no longer have anything to do with each other. Both Paul and the world are dead as far as each other is concerned.

Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Verse 15 is reminiscent of the first half of Galatians 5:6 which reads, For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision. The only difference is that Galatians 6:15 refers to Christ Jesus; whereas, Galatians 5:6 refers to Jesus Christ.

The difference between Christ Jesus and Jesus Christ is only one of emphasis. Keep in mind that whichever name appears first is being emphasized. Thus, Christ Jesus emphasizes His role as Christ or Messiah; whereas, Jesus Christ emphasizes His role as Jesus, which means as Savior.

In Christ Jesus implies in the realm of Christ or in the person and work of Christ. Thus, it means in the realm of Christianity or as a Christian.

Neither circumcision . . . nor uncircumcision refers to the two states of being that are possible.

Availeth is a legal technical term which means has meaning or is valid. As a Christian, neither circumcision or uncircumcision has any validity. The state of having been circumcised or of not having been circumcised makes absolutely no difference in Christianity.

What counts, matters, or has validity in Christianity is being a new creature, i.e. a new creation. It speaks of the believer in Christ being a new creature.

A new creature reminds one of II Corinthians 5:17 , 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Galatians 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

As many as is all those who.

Walk according to this rule = are in line with this rule, stand beside this rule, hold to this rule, agree with this rule, or follow this rule

By this rule Paul means that the only thing that avails or gives validity is a new creature (or a new creation) which comes as a result of the new birth. In other words, the only thing that matters is being genuinely born again. Salvation is by grace through faith in the blood of Christ shed on the cross at Calvary.

Upon this group of people who have been genuinely born again and are new creations in Christ, Paul pronounces peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Peace be on them is may peace (or harmony) be upon them.

Paul also wishes mercy upon them by which he means pity or compassion.

Paul also wants mercy upon the Israel of God, which suggests saved Jews as the true Israel of God in contrast to those Jews who require circumcision for salvation.


Galatians 6:17-18 - 17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

From henceforth means from now on or in the future.

Let no man trouble me is an imperative whose tense forbids an action already going on from continuing.

No man is no one or nobody and is not limited to males.

Trouble is a combination of two words, a verb meaning to cause or bring about, and a noun functioning as its direct object meaning troubles or difficulties. It means nobody is to be causing me troubles or no one is to continue bringing about difficulties for me. As a result of his preaching the gospel of faith in Christ, much trouble had been brought to Paul by those who proclaimed that circumcision was necessary for salvation.

For I bear in my body is for I am bearing (or carrying) in my body.

The marks of the Lord Jesus = the brands of the Lord Jesus. Paul regards all of the scars and damage he has incurred in his body (as a result of the physical abuse he has endured as an apostle) as the brands or marks of the Lord Jesus. They are marks of the Lord's ownership of Paul. Paul's scars mark him as belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ rather than as a man-pleaser like the Judaizers.

Galatians 6:18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Paul addresses the believers as brethren by which he means brothers or fellow believers. It indicates that he regards them as fellow members of the family of God along with himself, i.e. as genuinely saved people.

Paul then wishes upon them the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

By grace Paul means favor.

Of our Lord Jesus Christ may be possessive, indicating that it is Christ's grace that Paul is wishing upon the Galatian believers. It may instead indicate the source of this grace as being from our Lord Jesus Christ. There is really no difference in meaning because Christ's grace comes from Him.

Our before Lord Jesus Christ makes this very personal for believers.

With your spirit implies that Paul wants the grace of Christ to be with them, i.e. with these Galatian believers.

Paul concludes his epistle with amen, which means truly or so be it.


What are you trusting in for salvation?