Continuing our examination of the theme of the letter to the Galatians, I want to turn our attention to Galatians 3:26-29.
26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. (NRSV)
How was one to obtain the promises of God to be in the family of God as his child? Did one have to be circumcised to obtain the promises of Abraham? No. Did one have to maintain the defilement laws to be in the family of God? No. Did one have to separate from Gentiles to be identified as the true people of God? No.
Allow me to take Paul’s argument in reverse order to show clearly how he presents this. Paul concludes with the phrase: “heirs according to the promise.” This is referring to the promise to Abraham.
How does one receive the promise of being an heir?
Verse 29: You must be Abraham’s offspring. To be part of God’s family and to be part of the fulfillment of God’s promise, one must be a child of Abraham.
How does one become Abraham’s offspring?
Verse 29: By belonging to Christ. Once you belong to Christ and are clothed with him, then you are a child of Abraham, part of God’s family, and are receiving the blessings of God’s promise.
How does one belong to Christ?
Verse 27: As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. When you are baptized, you belong to Christ, which means you are Abraham’s offspring, which means you are an heir according to the promise.
How does one become baptized into Christ?
Verse 26: You are children of God through faith. It is not mindless immersion in water that identifies you with Christ. It is not infant baptism, either. The water does not save a person. A person must have full trust and faith in God that he or she is a sinner and needs God’s mercy and grace. That person submits his or her life fully to Jesus Christ, is baptized to be clothed with Christ, which means you belong to Christ, which means you are Abraham’s offspring, which means you are an heir of the promises, which means you are part of God’s family and identified as recipient of God’s blessings and promises.
Notice the argument is about being in God’s family and receiving God’s promises. Verse 28 reveals that there are no more dividing walls between Jews and Gentiles. There is not hostility between gender, age, race, or social status. We are all one in the family of Christ.