Listen:  122.2

This is an interesting verse.  Let’s read Galatians 6:17, “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”  In previous verses in this chapter, the Apostle Paul clearly stated and explained the doctrine of justification, showing that it is not by works, but by faith.  He points out that circumcision has nothing to do with obtaining salvation. Now, he demands that no one give him trouble concerning his teachings about salvation.  Paul was firm in his teachings and in his position.  At one point, it seems that some of the Corinthian saints had questioned Paul’s credentials as an apostle.  He wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:1-2, “Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.”  So, as far as the teachings and position of the Apostle Paul, he stands fixed.  There is no use in arguing with the things he taught.  Paul had encouraged the Ephesian saints themselves to grow and stand firm in Ephesians 4:14-15 where he says, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”  As saints today, we should grow in the Word and stand firm in its truths.  Consider the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:20, “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.”

Let’s continue in Galatians 6:17 where Paul goes on to say, “…I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”  The Greek word for ‘marks’ here is ‘stigma’.  It refers to “a mark incised or punched for recognition of ownership.”  Slaves were often marked to identify their owner.  Paul often referred to himself as a slave or servant of Christ as we read in Romans 1:1, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.”  In James 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1, Jude 1:1, and Revelation 1:1, James, Peter, Jude, and John all referred to themselves as servants of Christ.

What marks did Paul receive that would identify him as a servant of the Lord?  Let’s read 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”  Certainly the experiences of Paul left him with many marks.  Those marks received in service to the Lord would identify him as a servant of the Lord.  Scourging, beatings, stoning, imprisonment, chains, and every kind of dreadful treatment; he had experienced these in bearing testimony for the Lord and the Gospel.

In spite of his tremendous sufferings, Paul writes in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  My fellow believer, have you suffered for the cause of Christ?  Have you felt persecution?  Have you been abandoned by friends and family because of your service to Christ?  These are but markings that identify you as a true servant of the Lord.  Do not despise these marks, but consider the words of Philippians 1:29, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”  What a blessed calling; to be able to suffer for Christ’s sake!  (122.2)