Summary: There is an identity crisis in our country. I believe that our racial problems are a result of an unbiblical view of our identity. This passage has long been used to rebuke a racist and bigoted view of the gospel.
INTRO: Galatians 3 has been a history lesson through the Old Testament. One of the more complicated chapters of Paul’s writings, it’s been a difficult hike, but like many hard journeys, there is a rewarding view at the end. We have climbed the mountain peaks of Abraham and Moses and have seen that the pinnacle of Jesus Christ stands taller than both. Now, we take in the view by closing with some simple, beautiful truths that summarize what this means for our identity in Christ.
There is an identity crisis in our country. I believe that our racial problems are a result of an unbiblical view of our identity. This passage has long been used to rebuke a racist and bigoted view of the gospel. That is what the conclusion of chapter 3 brings us to as the climax of all these powerful doctrinal truths converging. Here’s what this means for the body of Christ and here’s what this does to racial boundaries and economic differences and bigoted attitudes – all those things are equalized in Christ.
I. Faith in Christ affects our pedigree. (26)
– The first blessing that gets mentioned is the affect that faith in Christ has on our family status. Once you believe in Jesus Christ, you are forever a son of God. Now the Greek word used here for sons is one that speaks of being a full and legitimate son of God, with all of the son-ship benefits of being in the family.
But we must carefully observe what Paul does not say. He’s been building this case for awhile now. He does not say that you are sons of God by
circumcision. He does not say that you are sons of God by works. He does not say that you are sons of God by keeping the Law. He does not say that you are sons of God by religious traditions or by following denominational rules. You are sons of God by faith in Jesus Christ.
– Under the law, only Jews were the children of God, and Gentiles were sinners (see 2:15). But now Gentile Christians are sons of God through faith in Christ. This must have been a shocking declaration for a Jew to hear.
– Popular concepts you hear about today are the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man. Now this is very important doctrine that gets clarified here. God is not your Heavenly Father unless you have personally placed all of your faith in Jesus Christ to save you from your sins. You cannot be a legitimate child of God until you come to faith in Jesus Christ. All people are created by God, but not all people are children of God. All people become children of God the same way, by placing faith in the finished work of Christ.
– Our most important distinction is who we are as a child of God and our identity in Christ.
– Illus: There’s an old episode of Andy Griffith where Andy and Barney go to a hotel in Raleigh and as Barney was signing in at the hotel desk, he put “Barney Fife, MD.” The clerk said, “Oh, excuse me, Dr. Fife,” as he handed him the key. Barney looked at him and asked, “Dr.?” to which the clerk responded that he had signed it “Barney Fife, MD.” Even Andy wondered, “MD?” and Barney says, “Yeah, stands for Mayberry Deputy.”
– That was an important designation to Barney. You and I have our important designations to our identity. Pastor, lawyer, teacher, mom, dad, banker, Marine, nurse, engineer, student, technician, etc. My most important title is not whether we are Jew or Gentile, in labor or in management, man or woman, rich or poor, but that I am a child of God!
II. Faith in Christ affects our position. (27)
– There are two things here that we need to understand: baptism and a putting on of new clothes.
– Let me explain why baptism here is not talking about water baptism. It certainly cannot be saying that water baptism is the thing or the ceremony that places you in Christ because that would destroy everything Paul has been saying up to this point about the importance of faith in Jesus Christ. This text is about a baptism that in the mind of God actually clothes us with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The only baptism that can do that is Spirit baptism. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13 (a terrific companion for this verse) “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
– So water baptism is a picture of the actual immersion of the Spirit into our lives. Water baptism symbolizes a break with my past and my old life and that I am committed to a new life in Christ. Water baptism pictures Spirit baptism.