We Are All the Sons and Daughters of God
[Galatians chapter 3, verses 15-29]
Last week we went over the first half of Galatians chapter three, where the apostle Paul expounded on the fact that it is good to be lawful – or religious, in this context – but it is far better to be faithful because faithfulness allows us to follow Christ, who is the summation of the New Law. Today as we study the second half of Galatians Three, we find Paul continuing his explanation of the Christian concept of faithfulness, and why it is pivotal to modern – or progressive, as I call it – Christian life as a way of living. To simply adhere to any certain set of beliefs, regardless of their spiritual origin, is no longer enough as we continue living in the last days before the coming of the Antichrist. Faith is something to be lived and actively experienced, rather than being an abstract set of beliefs and rituals. Paul continues this same train of thought beginning at verse 15.
“Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say, ‘and to seeds’, meaning many people, but, ‘and to your seed’, meaning one person, who is Christ. What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in His grace gave it to Abraham as a promise. What, then, is the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed through whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.” (Gal. 3, verses 15-20, NIV)
Remember last week when we discussed the fact that Abraham was “justified by faith”? We now see the apostle Paul continuing that same explanation in the above passage of scripture. Moses, who was a descendant of Abraham, was justified by faith just the same as Abraham. So likewise Jesus Christ, who is descended from them both and whose lineage is traced directly to King David in the first chapter of Matthew’s gospel was the fulfillment of that original promise (see Matthew 5:17). If our inheritance in Christ is dependent on the law, then the promise God made to Abraham becomes something extra that is unnecessary or redundant. Clearly this is not the case at all, since God is truth, and since Jesus was the embodiment of that Truth. The original purpose of the law was to be offering sacrifices for the sins of mankind by the shed blood of animal sacrifices. But once Christ had come and shed His blood, there was no longer any need for the sacrifices of old. Jesus is the new living sacrifice for all of us, having fulfilled the Law of Moses in its entirety by His death and resurrection. Like Abraham, we too are all justified by our faith in Christ, and when He returns, we too shall rise again to meet Him. Let’s continue now:
“Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” (Gal. 3, verses 21-25, NIV)
In these few verses Paul gives a simple explanation – but from a Jewish viewpoint since Paul was born a Jew – for why the Old Law was replaced by Christ himself. We cannot be justified by faith as Paul wrote earlier unless it is through Christ. The best news for all concerned is that under the new law, the justification by faith of Abraham and Moses that was formerly reserved for Israel is now available to all humankind. Paul adds to what he is saying beginning at verse 26.
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3, verses 26-29, NIV)
The conclusion of Paul’s explanation here is excellent news for all those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God. “Baptized into Christ” is a referral to what the apostle Paul wrote earlier in chapter three regarding the necessity of baptism. Jesus said in the Gospel of John (chapter 3, verses 3-8) that we are to be born again both of the water (water baptism) and of the Spirit (baptism of the Holy Spirit). Therefore, Paul writes, there is no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile. All people are God’s chosen people, meaning it is no longer an exclusively Jewish domain as it was in the Old Testament. Salvation through Jesus Christ is now available to everyone free of charge! Hallelujah!!!
The other thing that strikes me here is the mention of no gender in the eyes of God. We see each other as being either male or female, but that’s not how God sees us. Based on what Paul wrote, gender will not exist in the eternal life to come. But we won’t need to reproduce since we will be immortal anyway. Moreover, we have become descendants of Abraham by our adoption into God’s family, and we are therefore as Jewish as Abraham is as far as God is concerned. In addition, since we are clothed with Christ who walked the earth as a Jewish man, that is all the proof necessary for us to call ourselves adopted into the Family of God. Because of this, eternal life is extended to all those who believe in Jesus. When our lives are over and done with on this earth, we shall live on in the Spirit with Him forever in heaven, a time of celebration without end. And that will be the best reward of all!