Summary: 1) Same schooling. 2) Same path into God’s famly. 3) Same clothing. 4) Same inheritance
Galatians 3:23-29: WHAT ALL CHRISTIANS HAVE IN COMMON
Have you ever noticed how we spend a lot of time thinking about how different we are from other people? For example, this is an election year, and during these next few months you’re going to hear all the candidates talk about how different they are, and how much better they are, than the other candidates that are running for office.
Do we as Christians ever do that? Do you ever look around on a Sunday morning and think about how different you are from the other people here, and maybe even how better you are? It’s a common thing for people to do. And there is a small amount of truth to that kind of thinking – God has made each one of us different – we look different; our personalities are different. But I wouldn’t say that one person is better than another. In our Scripture lesson for this morning, God spends a lot of time telling us what we all have in common, how we are similar. And so that’s what we’re going to do this morning – we’re going to focus on the things that we all as Christians have in common. You’re probably more similar to the person sitting next to you than you might think.
These words were written to the church in Galatia, and they had their problems. The people there were focusing too much on their differences, and how one person was better than another. The church there was a mixture of Jews and Greeks, slaves and free people, men and women – and all of these people were spending way too much time focusing on their differences. And so here, the Apostle Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, helps them to see all the things they have in common.
The first thing Christians have in common, is that they all have gone to the same spiritual school. Now what does that mean? Look at verse 23, where Paul says, “Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.” Paul here talks about the law – the Ten Commandments, and, back in those times, all the other different rules and regulations about worshiping God and offering sacrifices. The purpose of all of those laws was to teach those people from Galatia something. Look at verse 24: “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ.” That was the purpose of all of those commandments, all of those rules and regulations. They weren’t there so that the Galatian Christians could try to earn their way to heaven, or compare themselves to other people. Why did God give his law to them? “The law was put in charge to lead us to Christ.” The purpose of the law was to teach the people something, and that is that they couldn’t earn eternal life by following all those commands. The purpose of the law was to teach the people that only through faith in Christ could a person be saved.
Each one of us has attended God’s “school of law.” Before we go to God’s school, we know a few things about God. We know that he exists, and that someday we’ll meet him. Before we go to God’s school, we think that it’s up to us to earn God’s favor. “It’s up to me to be a good person. If I’m good enough, then God will love me and let me into his heaven. I gotta depend on myself. It’s up to me.” Before a person attends God’s school of law, that’s how they are. That’s how we were. But then we spend some time in the Word, the Bible, and the more you study the Bible, the more you realize that that’s not how it works. Here God tells us to keep his commandments perfectly, and no one can do that. Here God tells us to love him, and to love our neighbors, perfectly. No one can do that either. The more you study God’s law, the more you realize that you’re sinful, that you can’t earn God’s favor by being a good person, because you can never be good enough. There must be another way to be right with God. And there is. And that is the purpose of the law, verse 24: “The law was put in charge to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” The purpose of the law is to teach us to trust in Jesus, and not in ourselves. Instead of trusting in how good we are, we learn to trust in Christ, and how good he is. That’s one thing that we all have in common here at Beautiful Savior – we’ve all attended God’s “school of law,” and we’ve all learned this imporant lesson.