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Tuesday-Go All the Way

 

Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

 

Galatians 5:11,12

 

Chris Berman wasn’t one for living life in the comfort zone. He joined ESPN even before its first broadcast in 1979. He’s been with the network for more than 40 years and is still broadcasting.

 

While he has many memorable broadcasts and phrases, perhaps none is more famous than “He could…go…all…the…way![1]” He says this in the middle of a play while someone is running for the endzone. He hasn’t crossed the goal line. He hasn’t scored yet. But it looks like that’s what’s going to happen.

 

While the Apostle Paul isn’t quoting Chris Berman, he certainly is thinking the same way. These agitators were more than my brother poking me in the back seat of our car. They were doing anything and everything to ruin the faith of the Galatians.

 

They wanted to drive them from faith and liberty in Christ and back to the false hope that doing all the rules and regulations could bring them back to God. They were driving the Galatian Christians like Hurricane Ian did.

 

When Hurricane Ian took dead aim on Florida, people were driven from their homes. They evacuated. Some made the decision on their own, others were forced. The roads heading east, away from the Florida coast were jammed with people trying to escape.

 

The early Christians were being driven into a corner. Back to their former way of life where it was all about their own works, their own efforts to reach God. Back to the slavery of trying to do enough good things to get God’s attention. To earn his blessing.

 

And the symbol of this was circumcision. Removing the foreskin from a man was the original act of faith that God asked of Abraham[2]. It was the one, true way that you showed your dedication to God. This put you in the nation of Israel, in the family of God.

 

And once in, there was no way out. There was no undoing circumcision. Once removed, there was no going back. There was no procedure to reattach it. I think that Paul might have been thinking something like this.

 

These outsiders were constantly agitating the Galatians, trying to get them to move from faith alone in Christ. The Judaizers were telling the Galatians that to be truly spiritual, to be fully a person of God, they had to follow their rules. And the one at the top of the list was circumcision.

 

Because this is so serious, Paul doesn’t beat around the bush. This is such a big deal that he doesn’t play footsie with them. He goes right for the throat.

 

Paul says that if circumcision is so good. Why stop there? If cutting off your foreskin gets you nearer to God, why not completely mutilate yourself to get closer yet? If taking off part makes you more spiritual, then removing your testicles will certainly move you closer to God.

 

While this brutal-sounding illustration sounds harsh, it cuts to the heart of trying to work your way to God. The question is: how do you know if you’ve done enough? How do you know when you’ve done enough? What kind of measurement do you use to show that you’ve made it?

 

The short answer is that there isn’t one. There is no possible way to know that you’ve done enough. Some people think that all you have to do is more good stuff than bad stuff. That enough good works will offset the bad. That the good can outweigh the evil that you’ve done.

 

While this might sound attractive, it’s a death sentence. When we’re honest with ourselves, we know that deep-down inside, we’re really rotten to the core. And there is no good in us[3].

 

Yes, it’s as desperate as it sounds. There’s no way out on our own. We all are that wretched person[4]. That’s why God had to make a way. That’s why God had to step in. That’s why God had to pay the price for us. It’s God who does the delivering, not us.

 

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

Romans 7:25

 

So, what’s our response when we see that God does the delivering? That he pays the full price for us? That he’s made the way for us to be reunited back with our creator. Our heavenly Father. The one who gives us meaning and purpose.

 

The natural response is to fall down at his feet in worship. We are to be so thankful for who he is and all he’s done. We’re to forgive because he’s forgiven us. We’re to give because he’s given so much for us.

 

Since he went all the way for us, shouldn’t we be willing to go all the way for him?


[2] Genesis 17:10

[3] Romans 3:10-12

[4] Romans 7:24

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