Equal In Grace
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me now. Speak to me of the things that matter most.
Read Galatians 3:26-4:7
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“We are heirs of the Father; we are joint-heirs with the Son. We are children of the kingdom; we are family; we are one” (Jimmy and Carol Owens).
In first-century Judaism, males were the inheritors of the covenant sign and promises. In the Gentile world, slaves had no rights, even to their own marriage relationship or to children. The divide between Jews and Gentiles was firmly fixed. It is into this world that the Gospel came, reworking all the Old Testament texts to show that God’s relationship with Abraham was through faith in God’s promise. This meant the creation of a completely new sociological phenomenon, where religious identity is not based on birth or cultural status but on a relationship with Jesus in a community that is created by the work of God’s Holy Spirit and entered by baptism. No wonder they needed a new name for them in Antioch—Christians (Acts 11:26).
The implications of this truth are still a point of contention in the world church. In India it stands over against the Hindu caste system. In other places it challenges the separation of whites and blacks into different churches. In many church-planting situations it seems a contradiction to the use of homogeneous units as the basis for evangelism. It has a part in any discussion of the role of men and women in the local church.
If we realize that in Christ there are no such distinctions, we have a real foretaste of the new heaven and new earth. When we struggle with our human feelings of alienation from others, we can see the grace of God working in them and us. There is a real fellowship across these natural barriers, and the creation of a community that is evidence to all of a divinely created oneness in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
How can you promote real fellowship in your church? Ask the Lord to help you be faithful to the abolition of social distinctions in Christ Jesus.
Father, You have accepted me in Christ. Empower me to accept others who, although they may be different from me, are Your children also.
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