Galatians 6:15


I. EXTERNAL RELIGION COUNTS FOR NOTHING. "For neither is circumcision anything. Religion is wholly in the soul.

1. No rite has any value in itself. Nothing done to the body is of any religious account whatever. Neither is anything done by the body. A rite may be a symbol, and as such a means of grace; but St. Paul plainly teaches that it has no magical efficacy.

2. Ecclesiastical position is in itself of no importance. Circumcision was the seal of membership in the Jewish Church. Yet it was nothing. We may be members of the strictest sect, or we may hold high rank in the most august Church. But before God this is just nothing.

3. Doctrinal orthodoxy counts for nothing. Not that truth is unimportant. But the mere intellectual grasp of theological ideas leaves us where it finds us; and therefore if we go no further it is of no consequence whether those ideas are true or false. Conversely, to dispense with rites, to be in no Church, or to be unorthodox, is no condemnation. Neither, however, is it a merit, as some extravagant admirers of the idea of heresy strangely assert. If circumcision is not anything, neither is uncircumcision.

II. THE ONE ESSENTIAL IS TO BECOME A NEW CREATURE. This great truth implies two others.

1. In religious matters the important question is as to what we are. It matters not what is done to us or what we hold. All of importance is in our own life and character. If we are not true and pure and self-sacrificing, if we have not the Spirit of Christ, all our orthodoxy, Church status, and ritual observances are an empty mockery. If we are thus Christ-like, any further question is irrelevant. The sole essential is then safe.

2. In our sinful condition we are not like Christ, but are so radically unlike him as to need a complete, new creation before we can be in a right condition. The requisite change is so thorough that no ordinary religious influences will accomplish it. Circumcision is nothing, because what we want is nothing less than the crucifixion and death of the whole old life and the creation of an entirely new life. When this change has been accomplished, however, it is the evidence of its own sufficiency. It is impertinent to raise little questions of rites, etc., when the new man bears in each lineament of his countenance, in the very tone of his conversation, and in the bearing of his whole life, the princely character of a son of God.

III. THE CHRISTIAN IS A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST. What circumcision symbolizes faith effects (Galatians 5:6). By their fruits ye shall know them." The gospel of faith proves its claims by the results that it works. Nothing else can make men new creatures. The gospel can do this. For those, then, who are still in the old life of sin here is a warning and an encouragement.

1. A warning. Renewal is necessary.

2. An encouragement. Renewal is possible.

No painful rites have to be observed, no difficult doctrines comprehended, no strict Church entered. All that is wanted is union with Christ in faith. The way is simple and clear; it is not easy and painless, for it is by being crucified with Christ. But it issues in a glorious new life. - W.F.A.









For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Essex Congregational Remembrancer.
I. WHAT THE APOSTLE HERE MEANS BY THE NEW CREATURE. It is not a mere reformation, but a creation — not a partial, but a complete, entire, and radical change. This new creation is of God. It is —

1. Divine in its origin. Its commencement, its progress, its consummation, belong to God.

2. God has various methods in effecting this change. Here we might mention the afflictive dispensations of Providence; the admonitions and expostulations of friends.

3. It is a total and universal change. It is complete in its purpose.

II. IN WHAT WAYS THIS IMPORTANT CHANGE IS DISCOVERED AND MANIFESTED. It is the new world of grace, springing into existence with all its rich furniture, and increasing in beauty. The subject of this glorious change is led to the adoption —

1. Of new views. No new faculties are bestowed. There is what is called the eye of the mind, which is the faculty by which the mind views the objects presented to its notice.

2. In the new creation there is a change in the affections. These, it is true, existed before, but now they flow in a new channel, and are directed to other objects.

3. In the new creation new principles are implanted. The new creature is governed by the principles of the Christian religion. Love and gratitude to God, and benevolence to mankind at large. The principles of the new creature are gathered from his relation to eternity.

4. In the new creation there will be a new and holy life. There the change will be visible. "By their fruits ye shall know them" (see Ezekiel 36:25-27; 1 John 3:9, 10).

(Essex Congregational Remembrancer.)

This world was created beautiful, and holy, and good. To understand, therefore, in any degree what this moral creation of holiness and God-life is, we must study the characteristics of the first material creation of this world. And that must be in a great degree its type and model. Now the first thing which we may notice in the creation of our system, as recorded in Genesis, is that the Three Persons in the Holy Trinity were all separately and collectively engaged. As then the first creation was the work of each Person in the blessed Trinity, so we are led to believe and feel sure that the moral and spiritual creation of any one soul must be by the whole Trinity. If we may say it reverentially, and venture into those deep mysteries, the Father wills, and plans, and ordains; the Son executes; the Holy Ghost applies and appropriates the restoration, the re-formation of the body and soul. Therefore in Trinity you receive it. Another feature which we may observe in primeval creation is that it was gradual and progressive. Six days it took, which some understand to be six years of time. First the inanimate, then the animate, then the rational, then the spiritual and immortal. Just so we must expect it to be in that new creation for which we look. We must, therefore, have patience. It is a gradual, a slow process. But, remember, it is a sure one. The selfish man will be full of sympathy and energy in good work with all around him. He who thought himself the first will be content always to be the last. The miser will be the generous man. He who seldom had God in his thoughts, and perhaps really never said a prayer, will be in constant communion with God, either silent or expressed. Where the world was once, holy things will be. Heaven and earth will change their places, — heaven being the substance, and earth the shadow. A new creature will testify to "a new creation," and the Creator will be glorified.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

The particle "but," in the front of my text, is exclusive and restrictive; it excludes everything in the world from pretending to avail anything, from being believed to do us any good. The substance of all the apostle's discourse, and the groundwork of mine, shall be this one aphorism — Nothing is efficaciously available to salvation but a renewed, regenerated heart.

I. It is observable, that our state of nature and sin is in Scripture expressed ordinarily by old age, the natural sinful man; that is, all our natural affections that are born and grow up with us, are called "the old man," as if, since Adam's fall, we were decrepit and feeble, and aged as soon as born; as a child begotten by a man in a consumption never comes to the strength of a man, is always weak, and crazy, and puling, hath all the imperfections and corporal infirmities of age before he is out of his infancy. Now, the new principle, by which not the man, but the new man, the Christian lives, is, in a word, the Spirit of God; which unites itself to the regenerate heart, so that now he is said to be a godly man, a spiritual man, from the God, from the Spirit; as before a living reasonable man, from the soul, from the reason that informed and ruled in him; which is noted by that distinction in Scripture betwixt the regenerate and unregenerate, expressed by a natural, or animal, and a spiritual man.

1. Whence comes the new creature? From above. Since Christ's ascension, the Holy Ghost, of all the Persons in the Trinity, is most frequently employed in the work of descending from heaven; and that by way of mission from the Father and the Son, according to the promise of Christ, "The Comforter whom I will send from the Father."

2. Where does the new creature lodge? In the heart of man, in the whole soul, ruling and guiding it in all its actions, enabling it to understand and will spiritually. As the soul of man sees in the eye, hears in the ear, understands in the brain, chooses and desires in the heart; and, being but one soul, yet works in every room, every shop of the body, in a several trade, as it were, and is accordingly called a seeing, a hearing, a willing, or understanding soul; thus doth the habit of grace, seated in the whole, express and evidence itself peculiarly in every act of it, and is called by as several names as the reasonable soul hath distinct acts or objects. In the understanding it is, first, spiritual wisdom, and discretion in holy things; opposite to which is νοῦς ἀδόκιμος, an unapproving, as well as unapproved or reprobate mind, and frequently in Scripture spiritual blindness. Then, as a branch of this, it is belief or assent to the truth of the promises, and the like. In the practical judgment it is spiritual prudence in ordering all our holy knowledge to holy practice; in the will it is a regular choice of whatsoever may prove available to salvation, a holy love of the end, and embracing of the means with courage and zeal. Lastly, in the outward man, it is an ordering of all our actions to a blessed conformity with a sanctified soul. In brief, it is one principle within us doth everything that is holy — believes, repents, hopes, loves, obeys. And, consequently, is effectually in every part of body and soul, sanctifying it to work spiritually, as a holy instrument of a Divine invisible cause; that is, the Holy Ghost that is in us and throughout us.

3. When does this new principle enter? It comes into the heart in a threefold condition.(1) As a harbinger, it comes to fit and prepare us for itself; trims up, and sweeps, and sweetens the soul, that it may be readier to entertain Him when He comes to reside; and this He does by skirmishing with our corruptions before He comes to give them a pitched battle; He brandishes a flaming sword about our ears, and, as by a flash of lightning, gives us a sense of a dismal, hideous state, and so somewhat restrains us from excess and fury — first, by a momentary remorse, then by a more lasting, yet not purifiying flame, the spirit of bondage.(2) When the Spirit comes a guest to lodge with us, then He is said to enter; but, till by actions and frequent obliging works He makes Himself known to His neighbours, as long as He keeps His chamber, till He declare Himself to be there, so long He remains a private, secret guest. And that is called the introduction of the form, that makes a man to be truly regenerate, when the seed is sown in his heart, when the habit is infused; and that is done sometimes discernibly, sometimes not discernibly, but seldom, as when Saul was called in the midst of his madness, he was certainly able to tell a man the very minute of his change, of his being made a new creature.(3) The third condition in which this Spirit comes into our hearts is as an inhabitant, or housekeeper. The Spirit, saith Austin, "first is in us, then dwells in us: before it dwells it helps us to believe; when it dwells it helps, and perfects, and improves our faith, and accomplishes it with all other concomitant graces."

II. And for the necessity of renewedness of heart; to demonstrate that, I will only crave of you to grant me that the performance of any one duty towards God is necessary, and then it will prove itself; for it is certain no duty to God can be performed without it. For it is not a fair outside, a slight performance, a bare work done, that is accepted by God: if it were, Cain would deserve as much thanks for his sacrifice as his brother Abel; for in the outside of them there was no difference, unless perhaps on Cain's side, that he was forwardest in the duty, and offered first. But it is the inside of the action, the marrow and bowels of it, that God judges by. Be the bulk and skin of the work never so large and beautiful to the eye, if it come not from a sanctified, renewed, gracious heart, it will find no acceptance, but that in the prophet, "Who hath required it at your hands?" In brief, the fairest part of a natural man, that which is least counterfeit, his desire and good affections to spiritual things (which we call favourably, natural desires of spiritual obedience), these, I say, are but false desires, false affections.

1. They have no solidity or permanency in the will, are only fluid and transitory; some slight sudden wishes, tempests and storms of a troubled mind, soon blown over; the least temptation will be sure to do it. They are like those wavering prayers without any stay of faith; "like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and tossed."

2. That being which they have is counterfeit; they are not that which they are taken for. We are wont to say that acts are distinguished by their objects: he sees truly which judges the thing to be that that it is. It is true, indeed, that another man sees that he takes blue for green, but he does not see truly; so also he only willeth a good thing that wills that in it which is truly good. Now the natural man, when he is said to choose spiritual things, as heaven, happiness, and the like, desires not a spiritual but a carnal thing: in desiring heaven, he desires somewhat that would free him from misery in happiness, a natural or moral good, that would be acceptable to any creature under heaven: and so a Turk will desire paradise, and that very impatiently, in hope that he shall have his fill of lust there.

(Dr. Hammond.)

I. LET US EXAMINE WHAT IS IMPLIED IN "A NEW CREATURE." Four explanatory questions may, be asked upon this subject.

1. In what sense is a Christian a new creature? Is it a physical or a moral one? It is only a moral one. New faculties are not given him; but his faculties have new qualities and applications. Compare Paul after his conversion with Paul before his conversion: his body and soul, his learning and abilities, and the ardour of his disposition, continued the same; and yet, was there ever a being so different?

2. How far does this change extend? A new creed, or a new denomination, does not make a man a new creature. The new creation is not a change from vicious to virtuous only; but from natural to spiritual, from earthly to heavenly, from walking by sight to walking by faith.

3. Is this work produced instantaneously, or is it gradually advanced to perfection? Scripture describes Christians as going "from strength to strength:" as "renewed day by day:" as "changed into the same image, from glory to glory."

4. Who is the Author of this new creation? Creation is a work of omnipotence, and belongs exclusively to God.

II. OBSERVE WHAT IS TO BE INFERRED FROM ITS UNRIVALLED IMPORTANCE. And, "if in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature," this should regulate your inquiries — your prayers — your praise — your esteem, and your zeal.

(W. Jay.)

The great difference between the bulk of professors and real Christians is this, the former are patched, and mended, and decorated, and ornamented, and transformed; nay, not transformed, but rather changed, or metamorphosed into the appearance of something that they are not. Will you bear with a familiar simile before I enter immediately on my text? Suppose that in some of our Sunday Schools the children had a doll that they had nursed and dressed very prettily, after their own fashion, and some one had beaten it, and bruised it, and torn its dress, and then painted it again, and put it on a new dress, they could not say it was a new doll, it would only be a mended one. This is just the character of religion in our day — it has no new life. What, then, does avail? "A new creature."

I. THE TITLE OF A REAL CHRISTIAN. A new creature — a new creation — the workmanship of God. The prominent characteristic of this new creature is spirituality. It is the reigning principle, and it will manifest itself wherever he goes, whatever he does.

II. THE HOUSEHOLD WHICH ALL SUCH NEW CREATURES CONSTITUTE. The living Church of the living God. The Temple of Jehovah. The Body of Christ.

III. THEIR EMPLOYMENTS AND THEIR DESTINY. Now if God has made you a new creature, the first end and employment He has in view, is the glory of His own name. Ye are not your own, says the apostle, but ye are bought with a price — wherefore, glorify God in your bodies, and in your spirits, which are God's." Again, "Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God, giving thanks to His name." Look again, for a moment, at the very salvation of the soul itself. More ought to be said and taught about the perfections of Deity being glorified when I get home, than the mere fact of my escaping hell and getting into rest. The latter is glorious to me, but the former is glorious to Him. Moreover, among the employments, and the end of God's new creation, is the obtaining of spiritual blessings. Are you, a new creature, employed thus in God's vineyard? Then do you ask how every day is employed for such a purpose? One thing more, and I close — the destiny. I dwell upon that with especial delight, and it fires my soul with sacred joy. What is it? Why just to dwell with my God. I do not want any other explanation. I know I must enter heaven to understand it.

(Joseph Irons, D. D.)

"A new creature" does not mean that one clothes himself differently, and puts on a different air from before; but it means the renewal of the mind which is brought about by the Holy Ghost. From that there follows an alteration of the outer life. For where the heart through the gospel obtains a new light, there it never fails that the outward senses also are altered. The ears have there no longer pleasure in hearing human dreams and fools' tidings, but God's Word alone. The mouth no longer boasts of a man's own works and righteousness, but of God's compassion in Christ Jesus. This, then, is an alteration, which consists not in words, but in work and in power.

(Luther.)

This spiritual renewal springs out of living union to Christ, and it is everything. For it re-enstamps the image of God on the soul, and restores it to its pristine felicity and fellowship. It is not external — neither a change of opinion, party, or outer life. Nor is it a change in the essence or organization of the soul, but in its inner being — in its springs of thought and feeling, in its powers and motives — by the Spirit of God and the influence of the truth (2 Corinthians 5:17). This creation is "new" — new in its themes of thought, in its susceptibilities of enjoyment, and in its spheres of energy; it finds itself in a new world, into which it is ushered by a new birth.

(John Eadie, D. D.)

There is such a thing as what we call reformation. This necessarily presupposes the indulgence in some bad habit, or the following in some wicked course of life. When it is said a man has reformed, it is well understood that he has abandoned his previous evil habits, and become a different man. And you may suppose this reformation to be so complete and radical, that the man may be regarded as being a new creature as touching all his relations to human society. He will, if he is thoroughly reformed, be a different husband, a different father, a different friend, a different member of society; and his influence, in all these relationships of life, will be for good. In this sense we understand what reformation is. He may be all this without becoming a religious man. He may be all this, and yet remain an absolute stranger to the renewing power of that Divine grace which alone constitutes him a Christian, and places him in a condition of safety before God. If we were to trace the origin of this reformation, we should see that it sprang from some prudential policy; we should see that the man had been influenced by the power of external relationships, or that such influences were brought to bear upon him, that he was enabled to realize the terrible end to which the course of life he was pursuing must inevitably lead. Or he may have felt the growing effects of these vicious habits, and that they were taking away even the power of self-indulgence, and the capacity for relishing forbidden pleasures. And so he changes his course of life. But that does not constitute him a religious man. Many mistake reformation for reformation, a new creation; but there is a great difference between the two. The change of which we have spoken does not constitute a man a new creature. It merely affects his relations with his fellow-men; it does not produce the slightest change in his relationship to God. He is no safer in his virtue than he was in his viciousness. If he is to be saved, he must be made a partaker of God's renewing grace.

(Wm. Y. Rooker, M. A.)

ty: —

I. THE NON-ESSENTIAL.

1. No ritualism is of any avail.

(1)Not even the most ancient.

(2)Not even the most Divine.

(3)Not even the most significant.

2. Not that ritualism is to be wholly condemned; but that it is of minor importance.

3. The same applies to the isms of men. Neither Catholicism nor Protestantism, Conformity nor Nonconformity, availeth anything. Christianity is

(1)independent;

(2)older;

(3)greater;

(4)sublimer than all denominations.

II. THE NECESSARY.

1. Unless a man is a new creation it matters not

(1)what theology he accepts.

(2)What ceremonial he observes.

(3)What church he attends.

2. Every man who is in Christ Jesus is a new creation.

(1)He has a new life, new loves, aims, hopes, fears.

(2)He has a new sphere.

(a)He is no longer materialistic but spiritual.

(b)Even the material in him is full of spiritual significance.

(c)He walks after the Spirit.

(d)His citizenship is in heaven.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

is —

I. GOD'S WORK and therefore —

1. Complete as being by the activity of the undivided Trinity,

(1)The Father (2 Corinthians 4:6).

(2)The Son (Ephesians 2:6).

(3)The Holy Ghost (2 Corinthians 3:18).

2. Present (John 11:25, 26).

3. Glorious.

II. EFFECTED BY UNION WITH CHRIST.

1. This is not —

(1)Membership in any ecclesiastical society.

(2)The mystic sprinkling of water.

(3)To be attained or tested by ritualistic performances or theological beliefs.

2. But by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).

III. NOT PERFECT, BUT IS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW LIFE WHICH IS TO GROW TO PERFECTION.

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

I. NEGATIVELY.

1. It is not a common work, but a creation.

2. No innovating humour.

3. Not the restraint of the old man, but something new.

4. Not moral virtue, and what we call good nature.

5. Not outward conformity to the law of God, but something inward.

6. Not a partial change of the inward man.

II. POSITIVELY.

1. A new mind —

(1)New apprehensions.

(2)New judgments and assents.

(3)New valuations.

(4)New designs.

(5)New inventions.

(6)New reasonings and thoughts.

(7)New consultations.

2. A new will.

(1)New inclinations.

(2)New intentions.

(3)New elections.

(4)New determinations.

3. A new heart, affections, etc.

(D. Clarkson, B.D.)

I.The EFFICIENT CAUSE of it — God (Ephesians 2:10).

II.The ACT — creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

III.The EFFECT.

1. New qualities (2 Corinthians 4:17; Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:23, 24).

2. Gracious qualities.

(1)Not the natural endowments or moral qualifications, but

(2)Divine, and hence holy (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).

IV. The SUBJECT — the whole soul, not one part or faculty (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

(D. Clarkson, B. D.)

I. CHRIST HIMSELF, a new Person: His Being and character were unique.

II. THE WORLD, BY CHRIST'S ADVENT: a new era: new thoughts, hopes, aspirations, possibilities, institutions, for the race.

III. THE CHRISTIAN: the new man through Christ's crucifixion: a new heart, view, purpose, interest, and attainment in life.

(Dean Stanley.)

There is a churchyard where the passenger who reads the inscriptions on the tombs, that stand up amid the long rank grass beneath the shadow of waving elms and an old gray steeple, will find one to surprise him; which, though quaint in form, I doubt not is true in substance. Here no angel flying through the heavens sounds a trumpet; no figure of old Time, with bald head, shoulders a scythe or shakes an hour-glass; no crossbones rudely carved, nor sexton's spade, nor grinning skull, give point to the trite "Memento Mori." Stranger still, the monument which is raised to the memory and virtues of one person bears the date of more than one birth: with long years between, it says, speaking in name of the dead, I was born the first time on such a day, and born the second time on such another day of another year.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

A vicious horse is none the better tempered because the kicking straps prevent his dashing the carriage to atoms; and so a man is none the better really because the restraints of custom and providence may prevent his following that course of life which he would prefer. Poor fallen human nature behind the bars of laws, and in the cage of fear of punishment, is none the less a sad creature; should its Master unlock the door we should soon see what it would be and do. A young leopard which had been domesticated, and treated as a pet, licked its master's hand while he slept, and it so happened that it drew blood from a recent wound; the first taste of blood transformed the gentle creature into a raging wild beast; yet it wrought no real change, it only awakened the natural ferocity which had always been there. A change of nature is required for our salvation — mere restraints are of small value.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Links
Galatians 6:15 NIV
Galatians 6:15 NLT
Galatians 6:15 ESV
Galatians 6:15 NASB
Galatians 6:15 KJV

Galatians 6:15 Bible Apps
Galatians 6:15 Parallel
Galatians 6:15 Biblia Paralela
Galatians 6:15 Chinese Bible
Galatians 6:15 French Bible
Galatians 6:15 German Bible

Galatians 6:15 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Galatians 6:14
Top of Page
Top of Page