Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Heirs of the Promise, chalk pastel by Tobias Mayer, 2022

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-28

Jesus embracing the Samaritan people,1 and sailing to the Decapolis region to preach to the gentiles2 are two examples of the gospel being available to non-Jews, the work which Paul takes on and continues throughout his missionary time. Even earlier than Jesus, some of the Old Testament prophets were predicting that the good news will be shared with the wider world.3 Paul's work brings all these strands together and creates the faith that has continued to this day.

The statement he makes to the Galatians makes it clear that in Christ all people are equal: men/women, free/slave and Jew/gentile. It's important to recognise that Paul is not saying that people are equal in all circumstances4 (clearly they are not) but that their faith is a great equaliser, and there is no hierarchy or preferred treatment for any particular group in the new Christian church. This of course is undermined later by commentators amending Paul's words to suit their own agenda. 5

What I enjoy about this passage is the idea that when baptised, you have put on Christ, as if Christ, or Christianity is clothing we wear, clothing perhaps like a burka that makes all wearers appear the same. No distinctions. So obsessed are we in the western world with individuality, and self-expression that we have lost, somewhat, the idea of fading into anonymity through our clothing. And yet this is quite an attractive idea. The less we must obsess about the way we dress and how our faces look, the more time we have for one another, and through one another for God.

1 E.g. Luke 10:25-37 and John 4:4-26
2 Mark 5:1-20
3 See earlier reflection on Micah 4.2: One
4 Observation from What does it mean that there is neither Jew nor Greek?,
5 Derogatory passages about a woman's role in the church, such as 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 are generally considered to be post-Pauline interpolations.