Galatians 6:15

15 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!

Galatians 6:15 Meaning and Commentary

Galatians 6:15

For in Christ Jesus
These words are omitted in the Syriac and Ethiopic versions; (See Gill on Galatians 5:6), (See Gill on 1 Corinthians 7:19), they contain a reason why the apostle gloried in a crucified Christ, and looked upon the world as dead to him, and he to that, in every state of it; particularly as it may design "the worldly sanctuary" of the Jews, and all the rites and ceremonies appertaining to it; and among the rest

circumcision, which availeth not anything;
neither as a command, type, or privilege; or in the business of salvation, being abolished by Christ:

nor uncircumcision;
being now no bar to the Gospel, Gospel ordinances, or a Gospel church state; or to any of the blessings of the everlasting covenant, which come upon the uncircumcision, as well as the circumcision. But to apply these words to baptism and non-baptism is a wretched perversion, and making a very ill use of them, whereby the minds of men are worked up to an indifference to a Christian institution; for though baptism is of no avail in the business of salvation, yet it cannot be said of it, as of circumcision, that it avails not anything as a command; for it is a standing ordinance of Christ; or as an emblem and sign, for it is significative of the death and burial, and resurrection of Christ; or as a privilege, for it is of use to lead the faith of God's people to his blood and righteousness for pardon and justification; for he that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved; and it is necessary to church communion: and, on the other hand, it cannot be said that non-baptism avails not; it is a bar to church fellowship; and a neglect of baptism in those who are the proper subjects of it, is resented by Christ, and is a rejecting of the counsel of God against themselves; which was the case of the Pharisees, in the time of John the Baptist:

but a new creature.
The phrase is Rabbinical; (See Gill on 2 Corinthians 5:17) by which is meant, not a new creation of a man, as a man, of the members of his body, or of the faculties of his soul; nor of an external reformation, or a walking in newness of life, which is the fruit and effect of this new creation work; but an internal principle of grace, a good work of God begun in the soul, called the hidden man of the heart, the new man, Christ formed in us, of which faith that works by love is a part: this is called a "creature", and so not of man, but God; for none can create but himself; and in which work man is purely passive, as the heavens and the earth were in their creation: it is "but" a creature, and therefore needs divine support, fresh strength from God, and frequent supplies of grace to maintain and preserve it; nor is it to be trusted in, but the grace which is in Christ, from whence it comes, and by which it is secured. This is a "new" creature, in opposition to the old man; and because it is a principle in man, which never was there before; it consists of a new heart and spirit, of new eyes, ears, hands, and feet, expressive of new principles and actions, of new light, life, love, desires, joys, comforts, and duties: now this is of avail; it is a branch of the new covenant of grace, which God has therein promised to bestow on his people; it is an evidence of interest in Christ, the new and living way to the Father, and eternal life; such are newborn babes, regenerated persons, and have a right and meetness for the kingdom of God; shall possess the new Jerusalem, shall dwell in the new heavens and new earth; they are called by the Lord's new name, the adopted children of God; and have a new song put into their mouths, which none but redeemed and newborn souls can sing; and shall drink the new wine of endless joys and everlasting pleasures with Christ, in his Father's kingdom. These words are said to be taken out of the Apocalypse of Moses, a spurious book, but without any foundation.

Galatians 6:15 In-Context

13 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!
14 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.
15 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!
16 All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God - his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!
17 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.
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.