I lifted this piece from a longer Q&A so that I could include it in the New Testament Bible section
But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting IN REGARD TO HIMSELF ALONE, and not in regard to another. Galatians 6:4
The context of the Galatian letter bears out the same simplicity that you suggested in your statement. While you might have religiously learned to assume that such a lack of validation among others is a reason to DOUBT the reality of God’s life in you it turns out that it provides the only real testimony to that reality! The truth is that it not only makes no difference that others might judge you outwardly but that such outward judgment becomes used as a standard by which to validate those who judge by it. And while it may produce a sense of validation for a time it will eventually turn us into hamburger … and we will in turn try to put another into the same grinder in an attempt to regain that former sense of validation!
Don’t get me wrong, I do experience a hidden joy, but I worry that by now I should be ‘seen’ to be ‘used’ by God in some way.
Ugh, “used by God” has to be one of the more detrimental concepts spewed out by the religious mind! Once again, I notice you can’t help but recognize the miraculous working of God within you by referring to the “hidden joy”, but you also question it based upon how others might judge you! When it becomes compared to something more grand, something more spectacular, something more OBVIOUS (like how others might judge the quality of your divine usefulness) the miraculous inward testimony of God’s desire toward you seems to pale to insignificance, doesn’t it?
What if I’m hiding behind a Gospel of Grace as an excuse not to be doing something?
Actually, this is a very good question, except that we often ask it after we’re made to feel guilty for even momentarily contemplating that the good news of Christ might be gooder than we previously thought. The gospel is the only truth that proclaims we have no reason to hide because of the flesh’s lack of performance! After all, why would someone in Christ use grace as an EXCUSE for not doing something when grace itself has rescued him from the former NEED to make excuses … unless maybe he had fallen back into a false perception based upon a need to perform?
There is only one meaning behind the concept of hiding behind grace as an excuse for anything and that is when the very reality of what grace is has been perverted into something else, namely LAW. Just consider how contemporary Christianity professes a belief in grace while at the same time hangs all kinds of conditions upon it so that the resultant grace is actually defined by the CONDITIONS that are preached. Who has reason to hide behind the loophole of leniency that most preach as gospel? Those who sense the condemnation of that kind of grace! Consider another thing Paul wrote to the Galatians:
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:3
This statement comes after a long and vivid description of how law causes contention and destruction amongst those who have been removed from the law’s domain so that the ONLY true recourse is to deal with one another according to the freedom found in Christ. Especially those who are trying to justify themselves by what they do. You see, in referring to one who is “caught in a trespass” (Galatians 6:1) Paul described one who had been snared back into the former insanity of living by law. Yeah, for outside of a legal structure there is no such thing as a trespass.
It is the legal mindset that produces the deception that one is something he is not, which is not to be confused with the something-out-of-nothing of the grace of Christ. For one is real; the other is a fabrication. One has taken the emptiness and filled it with life; the other merely puffs up the nothing to make it appear full. One leaves no room for boasting; the other is nothing but boasting.