In one of his famous sketches, comedian Brian Regan describes the “Me Monster!” Have you ever known a pompous windbag? You know, that person who is always talking about themselves as a “know-it-all” who is always trying to outdo others. A “Me Monster” is that arrogant person who always boasts and brags about their accomplishments, while putting others down. What does the Bible say about “boasting?”
Surprisingly in Galatians 6:14-15, Paul call us to boast: “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. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” The word boast means to express or find ultimate and joyful confidence in the cross. To glory or exult or find your ultimate joy in the cross. To obsess in the cross. 1 Corinthians 1:31 reads, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Think about all the things that our culture boasts in or glories in or puts great stock in! What does our culture obsess over? Physical abilities, great athletics, military power, oratorical abilities, intellectual accomplishments, political influence, monetary success, social status, and entertainment celebrities. But for Paul, his greatest glory and obsession was in the cross above everything else.
There are only really two religious worldviews or systems: glorying or boasting in yourself and your accomplishments or glorying and boasting in the cross of Christ. To glory or boast in the cross is to give up trusting in your merits or accomplishments or what you can do to achieve success and instead cast yourself at the mercy of Christ to save you by grace alone.
Paul gives two important teachings about the radical life-transforming nature of the cross of Christ. First, the cross creates a sharp separation from the world. Paul says that the world has been crucified to him and him to the world. The world is the system of godless values and pleasures of this present age that is dominated by sin. The cross means repentance where you have died to your old life, your old relationships, your old habits, your old affections, and your old priorities that were centered in the world system of sin and lustful desire.
Second, what really counts is a new creation. Paul echoes this truth in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The reality of this new creation involves the entire process of our salvation.
From the regeneration of the Holy Spirit who caused us to be born again which leads to repentance and faith in Christ. To the daily process of crucifying the flesh and killing sin. To the daily process of sowing to the Spirit by walking in step with the Spirit To the final destination where we will have glorified bodies in the new creation—the new heavens and new earth. This is a radical inward transformation that encompasses our entire salvation from first to last.
Paul emphasizes the truth that we are not reconciled to God or made right with God or justified before God by any work of external religion such as circumcision or baptism or church attendance or doing good works or obeying the Golden Rule or trying really hard to be spiritual. Instead, we are only counted right before God by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Titus 3:4–7 says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Has this new birth happened to you? Are you a new creation in Christ? Have you been crucified to the world whereby now you have new desires and priorities and values and have been radically transformed from the inside out? Do you boast in the cross above everything else!