Tuesday 28 June 2016

Bible Book:

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (v. 28)

Galatians 3:15-29 Tuesday 28 June 2016

Psalm: Psalm113


In chapter 3 Paul is addressing thequestion whether Gentiles should be circumcised. In the verses preceding today's passage, he uses theexample of Abraham who had faith and had taken God at God'sword.

Now Paul points out that God's promiseto Abraham was made long before the time of Moses, when the law hadbeen given at Mount Sinai. The promise was ultimately fulfilled inJesus Christ. The law did not nullify this promise. Its purpose wasto show people how sinful they were. It acted, as one writer putsit, as a 'babysitter' or disciplinarian, making sure that peoplekept 'out of mischief'. But it would not be the law, but JesusChrist, who would bring people to faith. When Christ came, allthose who since that time, have accepted and entered into arelationship with him, are all equal before God. Jewish Christianscould not claim superiority because of their circumcision, norcould Gentiles, who had not been circumcised, make that claim. Thatdid not matter to Christ.

Grace is given in equal measure to allpeople so that no one could claim any more than the next person. Ifyou regularly travel on an airline you can be given a loyalty card:the more you travel the more privileges you receive and you aretreated differently from those who travel on that airlineoccasionally. But this is not the case when you are a Christfollower. Nobody can claim superiority because of gender, race,social status or culture. And those who are more mature in theirfaith cannot claim superiority over those who are new Christfollowers. In the first few verses of chapter 4 Paul says thatultimately everyone who follows Christ becomes an adopted child ofGod (Galatians 4:5).

The hymn writer John Oxenham, puts itaptly when he asserts that: "In Christ there is no east or west, in him nosouth or north, but one great fellowship of love throughout thewhole wide earth" (StF 685).

To Ponder

  • To what extent does the Church make distinctions betweendifferent groups of people, for example on grounds of race, cultureor language, directly and indirectly? Why might that be? And whymight it be a good or a bad thing?
  • What are some practical ways in which a more equal societycould be brought about, both inside and outside the Church?
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