22 October 2014

“In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” (v. 11)


It is hard to imagine just how radical Paul was at times. He is often dismissed as conservative and traditionalist, teaching old teachings about women and slaves, and how we relate to authorities. However, it is perhaps fairer to him as a Christian writer to think of his context - and be amazed at what else he says.

Christ transformed Paul's traditionalist views and so he wrote of how the natural barriers of his day were broken down completely. They were not done so because he has suddenly developed a tolerant and easygoing personality, a way of accommodating diversity. He doesn't change his ancient views because some one has managed to teach him basic equality and diversity theory. Paul has met Christ. He meets him when he was in the business of persecuting Christ's followers (Acts 9:1-9). More importantly he was not struck down by an angry and wrathful God, but an overwhelmingly loving God. Christ is Paul's 'all in all'. And as Paul experienced for himself acceptance and love, and watches such a fire of compassion consume so much base stuff (see verse 8) he simply knows now that old divisions have fallen.

To Ponder

  • Do you feel accepted and loved by God for who you are?
  • Who does that make you want to reach out that once you thought 'beyond the pail'?

Bible notes author: 
The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin

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