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. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. (Galatians 6:14–15—NKJV)

There are many things men find to boast about. It is pretty hard to keep quiet when you invest several hours of your time to watch your team win a championship with a few good plays. You also know how difficult it is to bite your tongue when your grandchild has done something successful. Boasting about good news, new possessions, promotions, grade point averages, victories, or athletic prowess just seems to bubble out!

In each victorious boast there are certain things that make it difficult to just be still. For one, you have a personal identity with what you are celebrating. You have invested something of yourself in the event; it may be your grandkid who actually did the work, but it was your grandchild! For another, people always make comparisons. We seem designed to compete. Sameness, uniformity, “fairness,” and equal outcomes leave little reason for striving, and little to shout about, because everyone is on the same plain. Grant a longed-for victory and a man cannot contain himself.

Since boasting is so much a part of life, it is no wonder that Paul sees it in the religious world as well. In the context, he is urging the Galatians to recognize that their misplaced religious priorities, in highly valuing an external show in the flesh, are not worthy of boasting. Believers are allowed to boast in one thing, and one thing only. You are to make your boast the cross of your Lord Jesus!

Of all the things to advertise! The cross is not exactly the most attractive thing in the Christian life, when you think of the long list of positives as a result of the substitutionary cross-work of our Savior. Why can’t we just emphasize the joy of salvation, freedom of forgiveness, comfort of Heaven, Fatherly answers to prayer, and wisdom to navigate the uncharted ledges and reefs of life? Must we emphasize the cross which is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23)?

Lest you get the wrong impression of the word “boast,” it is a translation of the Greek word kauxaomai, meaning to glory, exalt, rejoice, boast. It is found in such passages as Romans 5:2–3, 11 (“through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God…we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”), Philippians 3:3, and 1 Corinthians 1:31.

The simple truth of the passage is that a believer is to revel in the change that God has wrought in his life through the saving work of His precious Son. It is the application of the cross to his life that makes a new creation out of him. It is the glory of a personal rescue received from the wonder-working hands of Christ. Every victory Christ wins over sin, death, and hell in the believer’s life is a miracle. Every conquering, renovating, and restoring action received every day warms the believer’s heart, lifts his mind in thanksgiving, and opens his mouth with praise to the mighty power of his Lord.

Upon your first look at the Savior’s cross you saw yourself—deserving of death under the wrath of God, rightly targeted at your sin. You also saw your own helplessness to do anything to help yourself on any spiritual level, pinned down by the very instrument of your death, and being cursed by God for your sin. All this your innocent Lord endured so that you might live. He was your substitute on that cross. As you yielded your life in repentance for your sin, you looked to the very Son of God who died so you might live. From that day to the day you enter into eternal glory, the Lord carries you in His mighty arms and blesses you with “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:4–11). It is wrong to keep silent when He continues to daily load you with blessings (Psalm 68:19). Speak and make your boast in the cross of the Lord, the Son of God. Trust and obey.