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Boasting Only in Christ

Having preached the gospel to millions, the Rev. Billy Graham created an outstanding legacy. How does someone so well-known stay humble? To remind himself to always give Jesus Christ the glory, Graham kept Galatians 6:14 posted on the walls of his bedroom, dining room, bathroom, and in several other spots throughout his home: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (NKJV).

At the end of his letter to the churches in Galatia, Paul reminded his readers that what matters was not being circumcised but rather being part of the new creation. Throughout his letter, with deep passion and frustration, Paul was teaching the Jewish and non-Jewish Christians the true gospel of Jesus. He wanted them to know how the gospel creates a new, multiethnic family which transforms people by the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul was calling out the Jewish Christian leaders on their wrong and confusing message regarding the Jewish law as well as their cowardly lifestyles (vv.12–13).

Then in verse 14, Paul contrasts himself with those who stress the need for circumcision. They wanted to boast in their accomplishments before others, while Paul wanted to boast only in what Jesus Christ has done through His saving work on the cross. Verse 15 summarizes his letter nicely: “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.”

We shouldn’t be surprised that Billy Graham’s life verse was about boasting only in the Lord Jesus Christ. Similar to Paul, Graham surrendered his life to the Lord’s will, and God used him mightily. It is hard to imagine what the world would be like without Graham’s passion to “never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 14).

>> What would it look like to boast in God’s work instead of your own? Try to become more aware of ways you can exalt the name of Jesus and God’s work in your life.

BY Chris Rappazini

Chris Rappazini is the associate professor and program head of the BA and MA in Pastoral Studies at Moody Bible Institute and Moody Theological Seminary. He is the vice president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and previously served as the associate minister of preaching and teaching at Southside Christian Church in Spokane, Washington. Chris and his wife, Ashley, and their three children reside in Northwest Indiana.

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