“Behold, I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. …every man who receives circumcision, …he is under obligation to keep the whole Law” (Galatians 5:2-3).
It is an ever present temptation — to consider ourselves righteous on the basis of religious performance, while cutting out particular “worldly” enticements. With theological precision, Paul masterfully slices away at such misguided thinking by highlighting the deadly and indicting implications. First, such arrogant and religious self-satisfaction negates any benefit that might be realized from a gracious and merciful Savior. Secondly, whatever religious traditions, laws, or rules one embraces, that gives you such a sense of satisfaction before God, places you in the untenable position of having to observe them all without fail. Cutting out self-righteousness is the starting place for the proper understanding of a Christ-alone righteousness.