"But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
When Paul wrote his letter to the Galatian church, false Jewish teachers were trying to persuade the new Gentile Christians that salvation through faith in Christ was not enough to save them, that they also needed to be circumcised. In truth, these legalists were looking to make a name for themselves. They wanted to show it was their works that saved these Christians, and therefore they could boast in themselves. Paul, a redeemed Jewish man, fought against their heresy. He exhorted the believers, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage" (Gal. 5:1). Paul boasted only in the cross of Christ for his salvation. "What did he mean, however, by the cross? Of course he cared nothing for the particular piece of wood to which those blessed hands and feet were nailed, for that was mere materialism, and has perished out of mind. He means the glorious doctrine of justification-free justification-through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ." (Spurgeon)