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For the Intersection of the Everyday and the Sacred

March 14 Reflection, Galatians 3:26-29

Galatians 3:26-29 KJV (NIV Link below)

26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

NIV Link to text

From Rags to Riches

Even after becoming adults, we are nevertheless children in a different sense. Though I am an adult, I am still the child of my mother and father. Likewise I am being made the adult child of God. The former by birth, the latter through faith. All of us who have been immersed in Christ have put on the clothes of Christ. In Isaiah, the prophet states that his righteousness is as “filthy rags” before God. Praise God! We don’t wear the rags of our righteousness, but put on the righteousness that is Christ. So we become the righteousness of God.

Here we also have what is probably the most quoted verse from Galatians. All of our distinctions have been removed. Because of what Christ has done there is no longer distinction between the Jew and the Gentile, but the dissolution of our division doesn’t end there. God doesn’t just transform our spiritual being, but he begins to transform our society as well. No longer is anyone distinguished as slave or free, or as male or female. The early church was overwhelmingly composed of women and slaves. In the Roman Empire the two groups that had the least rights were women and slaves. Paul is declaring, without equivocation, that God transforms their social standing. They are truly free and truly equal. Society no longer defines who they are. God does. In the Kingdom of God, neither wealth, nor heritage, nor popularity, nor gender, nor any label that anyone puts on you matters. We are all equal because we were all sinners and are now covered in the same blood of Christ. This is the community of the Church and it is God’s transforming power upon our world. Because we are in Christ we are now heirs to this Kingdom that is coming and is already here. We are no longer distinct, at least according to social standards, because God has made us equal by making us his heirs.

What do you think? Join the conversation and post your reflection on the passage or these questions: What does it mean practically in your day to day life that God has removed all social distinction? Do you sometimes fall victim to the “cult of celebrity”? What does it mean to you to be considered an heir of God’s promise?

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4 thoughts on “March 14 Reflection, Galatians 3:26-29

  1. Deborah on said:

    It is an amazing thing this identity in Christ. In Christ I have an identity and position that so far exceeds my earthly accomplishments that hope exists that because He dwells in me I will be able to accomplish something worthy of His calling. There is always the thought, well He spoke through a donkey, perhaps He can speak through me. Humbling and yet giving a sense of purpose to even the lowliest saint.

  2. Chris on said:

    Interesting that the KJV uses “children of God” while the NIV uses “sons of God.” Isn’t the Greek “sons?” To me this was significant at the time of writing, when the Jewish culture transferred rights to the male. Paul is not merely saying that we are children of God, but also heirs with all rights bestowed. Of course “children” works now in our culture, but it’s easy to see why “sons” was in the original language, indicating that we are true heirs of God’s promise.

    • Exactly right, Chris. The Greek is sons. There are 2 considerations with it, though. On the one hand, there is no gender neutral in Greek that functions as “children” does in English (so sons could also mean children). But, like you said, culturally the right of the heir was given to the son only. So if we are going to maintain the cultural idiom (which there are good reasons to do so), it should probably be understood as “sons”. My favorite quote about this type of thing comes from a Beeson Prof I had (Gerald Bray) who, when talking about women who opposed the translation as “sons” and said we should read it “children” because it was more inclusive came back and said “Look, if I can be a bride of Christ, you can be a son of God”. That said, I think it’s a fairly minor issue as far as the text being a witness today (because all children can be heirs), just so long as we are careful.

  3. Pingback: March 29 Reflection, Galatians 6:1-6 « whytheology

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