In Galatians 6:14, Paul writes, “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.”
We can either “boast” in ourselves in some way, or we can boast in Christ & His cross. It’s really that simple – we all do one or the other. We can have a religion of our own accomplishments (self-salvation) or of the work of Christ on our behalf. There is no in-between. There is no both-and. Let us make sure that in our worship, witness and work, we are boasting only in the cross of Christ, not ourselves.
If we are boasting in the Cross, we are admitting that the only thing we truly contribute to the equation is our sin. And if that is the case, all that there is to boast about is another – Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God who came to seek and save sinners, who died in our place & was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25).
Of course, if we are boasting in the Cross of Jesus Christ, it will sound like anything but boasting, won’t it? There is a simple word for what it will sound like – worship.
If we are boasting in the Cross of Christ our witness will not sound like we are recommending to the “great unwashed” that they really ought to consider becoming more like us. It will sound like what it is supposed to be – one sinner telling another sinner where he or she can find grace, mercy & life – in the Lord Jesus Christ. Until we are convinced (like Paul) that we really are the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15) our witness will sound more like judgment than evangelism. Until we ourselves are amazed by grace, our neighbors won’t be either.
And boasting in the Cross of Christ is the only thing that keeps our work from turning into mere legalism. If we are boasting in Christ, we will not be boasting in our work. And we will not be jealous of the accomplishments of others. If we are truly boasting in the Cross, we will finally be set free to really work, to throw ourselves with abandon into the work that God has given us without an eye toward how we might look to others.
By faith in Jesus we have the ultimate bragging rights – we have the privilege to boast in the Cross!