Small Group Questions: Week of 1/30/22

Galatians 6:11-18

Final Warning and Benediction

"11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen."

The start of our passage this week refers to “large letters”. This likely telling us that Paul, up until this point, has been using a scribe for the letter due to his own eyesight problem. Here at the end of the letter, he takes the writing task upon himself, resulting in literal large letters, as that is what his eyesight requires. In verse 12, Paul gives an overview of reasons why people might preach false and/or distorted gospels. First, people do this “to make a good showing”. Motivated by the fear of man, people trade the eternal approval of Christ for the fleeting approval of others. Second, people seek to avoid persecution. It is important to distinguish between bad things that happen to us because we live in a broken world, and persecution, which is something that comes against us because of the cross of Christ.

In verse 13, Paul reminds us that no one is able to perfectly keep the law. The false teachers of this time were promoting strict adherence to the law (circumcision specifically) for the sake of building up their own pride.
 
Verses 14-15, the emphasis is on boasting in the cross alone. If anyone had reason to boast in himself, it was probably Paul (consider Phillipians 3:1-11). But, he instead urges us that the only thing we have to boast in is the cross of Christ. The core values of Cross Fellowship reflect the heartbeat of what Paul is getting at here. The fellowship we have with one another is rooted in the cross.

CFC Values:

  • The message of the cross
  • Humility before the cross
  • Sharing the cross
  • Living in light of the cross

Paul closes the letter by reminding them that he underwent suffering in order to bring the gospel of grace. Baring the marks on his own body. May we be encouraged to ourselves, bare the marks of Christ as we walk by the Spirit, boasting in the cross of Christ alone.

Questions: 
  • The false teachers at this time were teaching that all needed to be circumcised, focusing on outward signs rather than an inward reality. What are ways this is done today?
  • Two of the main motivations for the false teachers were the approval of man and the avoidance of persecution. Have you ever been tempted to compromise for mans approval? To avoid persecution? 
  • Paul only boasts in the cross. What other things are we tempted to boast in? 
  • In verse 15, Paul says the only thing that “counts” is being a new creation. What does it mean to view yourself as a new creation? How does this change the way we live? 
  • Have there been key takeaways for you from our study of Galatians? Is there something you learned/understand now that you didn't prior to this series?

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