The Offense Of The CrossDr. Ronnie Wolfe - Galatians 5:11
Galatians 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
The Apostle Paul was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He was, however, a full-blooded Jew. He said in Phil. 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; He had been known to say that Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God (1 Cor. 7:19). Now he directs his attention to the Galatians concerning circumcision with the condition "if I yet preach circumcision . . . "
Circumcision is "but the keeping the commandments of God," and Paul knew, as well as we, that the keeping of the commandments of God is not sufficient for salvation; therefore, why would he be persecuted if he preached circumcision. Circumcision was a practical matter to the Jews; it was an everyday affair to them. If Paul preached it, he would have no persecution from the Jews concerning his theology. His theology would be no different from that of the Judaizers. They preached that one "must be circumcised" (Acts 15:24).
But Paul did receive persecution from the Jews, partly because he preached the doctrine of Christ without the Law. The gospel does not include the law except for its job to bring us to Christ as a schoolmaster. We are condemned by the law, not saved by the law.
The offense was that which came as a result of the dying of our Lord on the cross. At the cross was our meeting place for the transaction of blood that washed our sins away. "It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day."
Paul needed only to continue to teach the Law for salvation, as he did in the past, in order for the persecution, or the offense of the cross, to cease. No one would care if he preached Law, but Paul was committed to preach grace and salvation by faith in Jesus Christ without the deeds of the law, Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Notice also Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
When Paul said "I have fought a good fight," he meant in part that he was preaching the gospel against the grain of the many who were preaching works for salvation. But he did not care for that; he only desired to be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He said once in 1 Cor. 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
Notice in closing, Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: