Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we considered Paul’s word in 6:15: “For neither is circumcision anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” The new creation is altogether different from any kind of religion. Religion is part of the old creation. All the practices of today’s religion are, therefore, of the old creation. Only that kind of living and walk which is by the Spirit is part of the new creation. In order to be the new creation, we must enter into an organic union with the Triune God. Everything outside this union, whether religious or nonreligious, is part of the old creation.
In this message we shall consider the brands of Jesus (6:17) and the grace of Christ (v. 18). It is rather strange that, at the end of this Epistle, Paul inserts a word about the brands of Jesus between the mention of peace and grace. In verse 16 he says, “And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.” But instead of following this immediately with a word about grace, Paul refers to bearing in his body the brands of Jesus. Then he says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers” (v. 18).
It is important to know the reason Paul inserted a word about the brands of Jesus between his mention of peace and grace. When we write a letter, we express the concept, feeling, or sense we have within us. Likewise, when Paul wrote to the Galatians, he was expressing the concept and feeling within him. As he was writing about peace and grace, he had the realization within him that he enjoyed peace because he was bearing the brands of Jesus. The brands of Jesus kept him in a peaceful condition. Through the enjoyment of grace, Paul was brought into a peaceful state. He was maintained in this peace by bearing the brands of Jesus.
In order to understand Paul’s concluding word, we need a certain amount of spiritual experience. As he was drawing this Epistle to a close, he greeted his readers with peace and grace. As he was extending this greeting to them, he spontaneously had the realization that he could enjoy peace because he was bearing the brands of Jesus. It seems as if Paul were saying, “Brothers, I am at peace. I am maintained in this peaceful condition because I am bearing the brands of Jesus. Let no one trouble me.” Not to trouble a person means not to disturb him, not to deprive him of peace. The word trouble in verse 17 stands in contrast to peace in verse 16. After saying that peace should be on all those who walk by this rule, Paul asked that no one trouble him, for he bore the brands of Jesus. This indicates that Paul’s peace was maintained by the brands of Jesus he was bearing in his body. Therefore, Paul could say, “Since I am bearing the brands of Jesus, I am at peace. Let no one bother me.” Paul knew that the Judaizers and the persecutors could not take away his peace. Not even the whole system of Satan could trouble him, for he was bearing the brands of Jesus. However, if he cast away these brands, refusing to bear them any longer, he would have immediately lost his peace. Then he could have been troubled by anything or anyone. But because he was enjoying peace through bearing the brands of Jesus, he could say, “Let no one trouble me.”
In principle, our situation is the same as Paul’s. Bearing the brands of Jesus will also keep us at peace. But if we refuse to bear these brands, we shall be troubled, and our peace will disappear. Then, having lost our peace, it will be difficult for us to continue in the enjoyment of grace.
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