Now, in these last sentences, I want to emphasize in the bold scrawls of my personal handwriting the immense importance of what I have written to you.
These people who are attempting to force the ways of circumcision on you have only one motive: They want an easy way to look good before others, lacking the courage to live by a faith that shares Christ's suffering and death. All their talk about the law is gas.
They themselves don't keep the law! And they are highly selective in the laws they do observe. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast of their success in recruiting you to their side. That is contemptible!
For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.
Can't you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do - submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life!
All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God - his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!
Quite frankly, I don't want to be bothered anymore by these disputes. I have far more important things to do - the serious living of this faith. I bear in my body scars from my service to Jesus.
May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours, my friends. Oh, yes!
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)