Extremes

12 I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves (Galatians 5).

Located in Phrygia, one of the provinces in the region of Galatia, was a center devoted to the worship of of Cybele, so-called Mother of the gods. The word “mutilation” here literally means “to cut off” which makes sense when you know that included in their worship as a sign of complete devotion was the practice of castration. 

Thus, Paul is obviously taking their argument to the extreme: “So, if you think circumcision is so special as a religious practice, why not do even better and castrate yourselves like your neighbors (who don’t even know Christ) have done?” Yet, because he is wishing “those who are troubling” them “would even mutilate themselves,” his point is that if they did so then the Galatians would easily this as the same folly as their pagan neighbors, and not participate.

God does not desire mere physical body parts to be sacrifices to Him. Actually, He actually goes way beyond this and desires our entire bodies (Romans 12:1-2) as living sacrifices.

Lord, help us This Day to give all of ourselves to You in service and worship. Amen.