Galatia was a Roman province established in Asia Minor. Either on his second or third missionary trip, Apostle Paul ministered throughout Galatia, and established several churches. Paul left the churches with the confident perspective that each was grounded securely in the correct doctrines of Jesus Christ.
However, it did not shake down to be so. False teachers eventually got into the churches, and effectively led many to embrace legalistic beliefs that essentially denied the freedom in Jesus Christ taught by Paul. Therefore, upon receiving word as to what was happening, Paul dispatched a letter that was circulated among the churches. This letter is in the Bible, which comprises the Book of Galatians.
In the letter, Paul makes one matter perfectly clear. It did not matter what the false teachers tried to teach. It did not matter what legalistic doctrine they tried to get the people to embrace. The spiritual rubber met the road only at one point: “…in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”
Paul’s point was that, as far as Jesus Christ is concerned, when all is said and done, there is nothing more individually critical “but a new creature.” Here stated in the tersest of terms is the most needful spiritual consideration that is as true today for people of the Church as it was then. Look at it, and consider the dynamic of it.
The fierce debate within the Galatian ranks concerned Christians needing to be circumcised to be considered legitimate, or not. But, according to Paul, these were actually non-issues based upon the teaching he had received from Jesus Christ.
This leads us to understand why Paul is being point-specific here. The “new creature” to which he refers is that spiritual entity God creates in us when we enter relationship and fellowship with Him through the salvation experience. The “new creature” is that spiritual presence within the saved person that has the purpose of Godly leadership and influence concerning the principles and expectations of God. Paul also refers to the “new creature” as the “new man,” which is created in the true righteousness and holiness of God. Apostle Peter connects the same in terms of the “divine nature” of God.
Nonetheless, the most critical Christian premium is being declared here. In life, we make choices, and the accompanying focus is placed on them. Each person may choose which church to attend, which college to attend, which job, which car, which hairstyle, or which state in which to live. One can be the new kid on the block, the new national champion, the new blond, or have a new lease on life. Life is full of considerations concerning outlooks and options.
But, for one’s spiritual life in Jesus Christ, nothing is more important than the role and influence that involves the “new creature.” It means that all else pales in comparison to it. This is how God reckons it, and the expectation is that we do the same.
It is apparent concerning the present state of spiritual affairs that the people of the Church have little sight, little touch, and little focus on this important matter for our lives. While our lives should be revolving around the things of God, we have God revolving around our things. God is reduced to relevancy, not primacy. Fellowship with God and obedience to God comes only as it is convenient.
Consider the question: what can you do that will effectively place a greater personal emphasis on your spiritual life? Is the “new creature” in you thriving? After all, Jesus Christ placed a great personal emphasis on it. His willingness to die on the Cross proves how important it was to Him. We should be willing to reciprocate that concern.
“If any man be found in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, and, behold, all things are become new.”
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.