By Brooke Holt
“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:23-29)
Paul was a passionate man. He was zealous as a Pharisee and even more devoted after his encounter with the risen Lord. God put a unique and special call upon Paul’s life. Where Peter was called to bring the Gospel to the Jewish nations, Paul was called to preach to the Gentiles. Through faith, the Gentiles could now become sons and daughters of God and heirs to his kingdom.
But this good news for the Gentiles was a confusing message for the Jewish people. They had always been God’s chosen people, special and set apart. They had been the ones who were to receive the promises of God. Everyone else was outside of God’s covenant.
Israel was set apart to be a light to the nations; they were called to live differently so that others may see and know that God was with them. A light is warm and inviting, offering safety and assurance. God wanted Israel to be that light and reflect his glory, goodness, and love to the world. Salvation began with the Jews, but it would not end with the Jews.
Paul would be entrusted with that good news for every people group—Jew and Gentile, men and women, slave and free. No one was excluded from hearing the Gospel proclamation. Paul’s commitment to this calling was clear. Paul preached to the Gentiles so they might be saved and brought into the kingdom of God through this Gospel message. The Gentiles could now be accepted as God’s children and heirs of God’s promises.
The Jewish nation, even the Jewish Christians, struggled to accept these Gentiles as equals before the Lord. But Paul corrects their thinking with this great proclamation: “for you all are one in Christ Jesus” (3:28). In Christ, there were no more distinctions—just children of God and heirs of his promises. The divisions were gone, and the new Christian community had come.
Today, our churches are to reflect this diversity and equality. There is no “better than” or “less than” in the kingdom of God.
Does your church reflect this teaching of Paul? What about you? Do you see God’s people as one with him? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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