It doesn’t make any difference now whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people. May God’s mercy and peace be on all those who live by this principle. They are the new people of God. (Galatians 6:16 NLT)
How would you like to be known as the new people of God? Well that’s who you are if you choose to accept God’s grace. Most versions translate Paul’s words here at the end of Galatians as “the new Israel,” and some think because of that that he is referring to the Jewish Christians. But I think it’s pretty obviously not the case since he has been bashing the circumcisionists throughout the book of Galatians and stating as he does here again, that circumcision is nothing and living life in the Spirit as a changed human being is everything. So it makes sense that the “new Israel” would be the new people of God, living by the new covenant of Christ in us, the hope of glory.
And here’s the thing. Though it was new 2,000 years ago, it’s still new today for two reasons: 1) God’s mercies are new every morning (great is His faithfulness), and 2) the new covenant will always be right on the heels of the old covenant. The covenants are not new and old in relation to time and history, they are new and old in relation to how we live. The old covenant is always close by because we are actually more familiar with it because we’ve been operating under it since birth. The old covenant makes more sense to us than the new. It works with our make-up. We earn our way to God, we compare ourselves to others, we judge others so we can appear better to ourselves. All these things come naturally to us. We’ve been doing this all our lives.
The new covenant, however, is totally against our nature. It’s free, it’s unearned and undeserved, it’s all completely given to us. And none of that sets well. The only way you can really embrace the new way is to have completely failed over and over again at the old one. You finally give up, and that’s when grace shows up. We are new people of God because God has changed us. It’s all through what He has done. Everything from God and nothing from us.
We are the new people of God; now live like it!