“So you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians – you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)
It is amazing how we twist what God intended. We, as humans, often change God’s Word. We misinterpret it, we pick out only what we want to hear, we use it for our best interests, we ignore it, we abuse it, and really, should I go on? One of the saddest things about the church today is its divisions. And I don’t only mean the denominational rifts. These verses in Galatians paint a clear picture of where we should be.
The letters in the New Testament were written in a time when God was moving but even then, Paul could see the divisions that were causing such destruction to the church internally. Hear what he says, ‘you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus’. He starts by showing that we are all one. That we all, together, form part of God’s plan for His Church. This togetherness, this oneness is based on our faith in Christ Jesus. Nothing else but Christ can unite us into a full and complete whole. How can the body work without the head?
What does faith in Christ Jesus mean? Let us use Paul’s next words to describe this, ‘all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him.’ Faith in Christ means that we have believed and died with Christ. We have died to the world and been renewed in Christ, baptised in the Holy Spirit. We believe that Christ came and died for our sins.
We believe that once we have accepted Christ, we too have died, not physically but through the Spirit to be a heavenly people. To be children of the most high God. As children of God, we live a life lead by His Spirit. ‘We are all Christians’, so the fruit we produce should be that of Christ. This unites us and as one we bring Glory to our Magnificent Father.
So now, we know ‘we are one in Christ Jesus’. Then what divisions do we see in the church today? It is interesting to see Paul’s response. ‘There is no longer Jew or Gentile’. You could instantly relate this to the denominational rifts that we see throughout the Church. It is important to note, that what we talk about here does not include those who do not have a faith in Christ Jesus. Yes, there are those churches that claim to know Christ, but instead lead people away from the truth of who He is.
This is very destructive to the Church but in this case we would like to focus on those that really do know Him. How is it that we still fight over small matters when we should be working together for God’s Glory? Even then, God has called us to loving handle these circumstances so as not to sin or cause others to sin. God’s Word and truth are the same forever, they will never change because we say so. Let the Spirit lead you to do what is right, God will reveal the truth to those who do not see it fully.
‘There is no longer slave or free’. We still find division today in the status or class of people. A church treats a rich and poor person differently, or treats colour, lifestyles, married and unmarried, characters and any numbers of other things differently. It is very easy to cross the line between these types of things.
Even a person’s strengths and weaknesses can be a form of division amongst people. If we are all one and the same, how can this be so? God again calls us to be lead by the Spirit to love. ‘Love does no wrong and so satisfies all God’s requirements.’
‘There is no longer male or female.’ It is interesting that Paul does not include this in the one above, but separates it as if to say, beware of this division. The culture of the world is very dishonoring to both sexes and even more so to females. Are we not called to love and treat elders as we would a mother or father, and our peers or younger as our brothers and sisters?
Yes there are differences between the two, but no more so than those that form a part of the Church, that form a part of the body. Each is needed, each compliment the other, each work together with the same purpose, the furthering of God’s Glory not ours.
I can easily say that I am guilty of everyone of these divisions. I can also praise God for His continued work to teach me to love others, to live as one, to live as a child of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Let Him change the way we think, let Him move us to a place of love within the Church, not divided, but one.