Summary: All discriminations are destroyed in Christ - racial, class and sexual.
READ: Galatians 3:26-29 (Text: v28)
The churches of Galatia were facing a grave danger. Certain legalists had come among them teaching that much of the Old Testament Law was still binding upon Christians. They reasoned that God’s promises extended ONLY to Jews, and that gentiles would have to be circumcised before they could fully experience salvation. These "Judaizers" did not deny that faith in Jesus was necessary, but insisted that it was inadequate one must add to faith observance of the Law.
This teaching was in direct contradiction to Paul’s preaching of "salvation by grace through faith alone", that the Galatian churches had been founded upon. And so Paul wrote to the churches this great letter that we call "Galatians". His theme throughout is "The Finality of the gospel: salvation is by grace, not by Law".
What an amazing change had taken place in this man, Paul! Imagine him of all people being sent as the apostle to the gentiles it’s nothing less than a miracle!
Sometimes God’s choice of man or woman is incredible, is it not? If it had been ME choosing an apostle to go to the gentile world with the gospel, my LAST consideration would have been this man Paul! Now, granted, none of the apostles would have felt "at home" in that foreign gentile culture, but ANY ONE OF THEM would be a more natural choice than Paul.
Listen to the background Paul was saved out of: (Philippians 3:5-6) "... circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the Law, a pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the Law, blameless". This man was a fanatical Jewish activist. He had been trained in the Law in Jerusalem (the Holy City) at the feet of the esteemed Gamaliel, and had become a member of the Sanhedrin. He was a PROUD and nationalistic Jew - he believed that they alone were God’s people and that all the other nations were barbarians and dogs.
No, I’d have chosen someone else. One of the humble fishermen who knew little of international politics, or national borders Peter, James or John. I’d have given one of them a burden to go to the gentiles, but not God NO! His ways are much higher than ours His wisdom is past finding out. He chose this man Paul, and turned his life around, and sent him to the very nations he had once despised and he went, not begrudgingly, but with a consuming love in his heart and a passion to win them for Christ.
We read Galatians 3:26-29 a moment ago; let me read verse 28 to you again: [read]. If ever there was a classic statement in evidence of the turnaround in Paul’s life, it’s this verse! As a pharisee, Paul had prayed by rote every single day (as nationalistic Jews do even today): "I thank you God that I was not born a GENTILE, a SLAVE, or a WOMAN." That was their prayer of "thanksgiving" to start each day!
But now, in a direct refutation of all that he had once believed, he writes: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all ONE in Christ Jesus."
Friends, no prejudices can be allowed to exist in the Church of Jesus Christ. Paul states, ALL DISCRIMINATIONS ARE DESTROYED IN CHRIST! You see, not one of us can claim anything great of ourselves we’ve been saved only by the mercy of God IT’S GRACE THAT LEVELS US ALL OFF!
Would you look briefly with me this evening at these three particular discriminations that Paul addresses. Firstly notice:
1. RACIAL discrimination is destroyed in Christ.
* "There is neither Jew nor Greek"
This is quite a statement for a once nationalistic Jew to make. He’d come a long way from his young student activist days! He had met Jesus on the Damascus Road, and it had changed his whole life and perspective. He’d had a revelation of the God whose love and concern is not exhausted on one nation, but is lavished upon the whole world so immense is His love. Paul met the Christ who had come into the world to save an innumerable multitude out of every tribe and nation under heaven. Hallelujah!
What did the angel say to Joseph in Matthew 1:21? "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, FOR HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS." Now that verse in the first instance refers to the Jews it is the heralding of the arrival of the expected Messiah. But this verse also surely has a wider application. Jesus "...came to His own, but His own received Him not"! (John 1:11) When it says "...He will save His people from their sins", who are "HIS PEOPLE"? The answer is in John 17:6, 20 ...