“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29 NET).
What a great privilege we have to be sons of God! The idea of being a “son” of God is no mere accident nor is it discriminatory. In fact, this was a very liberating concept! In most societies, up until fairly recently, it was the sons – the male descendants – who inherited. Yet in Christ, we all inherit, no matter who we are, through faith. We are all sons!
It is through faith that we are “sons of God.” But to be a son we must be “in Christ Jesus.” How do we get into Christ? The apostle gives us the answer: “all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Think about this for a few seconds. If I put on my coat, I get into my coat and I am then in my coat. If I do not put on the coat I cannot be said to be in the coat. And it works the same with being in Christ. Baptism – immersion in water for the forgiveness of our sins – is the way we put on Jesus. We are then “in him.” And if we are in him we are sons of God. Perhaps we can begin to see how important baptism is because it is the way we put on Jesus.
The Jewish Talmuds recorded a morning prayer and dawn blessing that Jewish men in the first century would pray: “Blessed are you O God, King of the Universe, who has not created me a goy (Gentile), a slave, or a woman.” In today’s society, we would shudder to hear such a prayer!
But in Christ, these distinctions disappear. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Can it be a total coincidence that the very things the Jewish men prided themselves in are the very things that disappear because of Jesus? When God looks at us, he doesn’t see all the various distinctions that humans have erected. He simply sees those who are his sons, clothed with Christ, and those who are outside of Christ.
If we belong to Jesus, if we are sons, we are heirs – we inherit! Paul expanded this idea in Galatians 4, contrasting the heir and a slave. “And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God” (Galatians 4:6-7).
The Jews also took great pride in being a physical descendant of Abraham. God gave his promise and covenant to Abraham and his “seed”. The Jews thought this made them God’s exclusive people. Yet they overlooked that God was referring to one particular descendant through whom everyone in the world would be blessed. And that descendant was Christ (see Galatians 3:16-18). If we are “in Christ” then we are also a descendant of Abraham and we are heirs of the promise of God!
What a great privilege it is to be sons of God! Let us not look down on anyone because of who they are, their background, or their economic status. None of that matters as far as salvation is concerned. Jesus is the great equalizer! We are all one in him.
Readings for next week:
6 November – Galatians 3
7 November – Galatians 4
8 November – Galatians 5-6
9 November – Ephesians 1
10 November – Ephesians 2