We Are All One in Christ Jesus
(Galatians 3)

Rev. Jim Bogle, given January 21, 2007

Turn with me this morning to Galatians Chapter 3. We are going to share in this whole chapter this morning.

Last Sunday I shared with you from Ephesians Chapter 4 verses 1-8, where we learned from Paul that Christ, upon His return to Heaven, poured out spiritual gifts upon all those that came to Him by faith; men and women alike. In fact the very evidence of that outpouring is recorded in Acts Chapter 2.

We also shared with you Paul’s writing to the church at Corinth, his first epistle, chapter 12, where, speaking of spiritual gifts, he also made the very important point that God gave gifts according to His will, and not according to man’s will.

Then we shared with you Paul’s first letter to young Timothy where Paul gave guidance and direction for the building of the church; the specific functions for men and for women within the church that there may be structure and order within the body, and where Paul made the clear statement that “women were not to teach, nor usurp authority over men.”

Having shared all of this information with you last Sunday, and as we face within our Denomination today the question of whether women should be ordained to the ministry, I was reminded by one who fully supports the ordination of women to the ministry, that today, in Christ Jesus, "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. (Galatians 3:28)" His conclusion was that, based upon this single verse, women are just as approved of God for the pastorate as any man.

So it is incumbent upon us to find out whether Paul is stumbling all over himself, saying one thing to one group and a completely different thing to another group, or if in fact Paul is writing a truth and we are lifting a single statement out of that truth in order to support a personal theology of our own.

What did Paul mean when he wrote:

Galatians 3:28

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. 

Are we saved by trusting the Law of Moses today, or are we saved by faith in Christ Jesus?

Out on our Ten Commandments monument you will see at the bottom of the plate “Galatians 3:24 – the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” If we cannot be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments, why then were the Commandments even given; and what is the strength of the Commandments today?

Galatians 3:1-12

1: O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

2: This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

3: Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

4: Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

5: He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

6: Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

7: Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8: And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Abraham was a man of faith. He was not a perfect man in the flesh! Abraham, every day, faced the challenges of life that we all face. Abraham stumbled many times in the flesh, but he was righteous in the eyes of God because of his faith.

Paul says,

9: So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

This was a hard saying for many of the Jewish believers who were still clinging to works and rituals and, by doing so, were rejecting the freedom they had obtained through the blessed work of Christ. In effect, they were rejecting the saving grace, pardon, and forgiveness of Christ that comes by way of faith in His finished work, not theirs. Having heard and received the Gospel of Salvation, they had now fallen back into the false gospel of works, striving to keep the law. This, in the end, brought glory to self and not to Christ.

10: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

11: But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

12: And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

What kind of a life can one enjoy, striving to live by the law?

I was attending a Seventh Day Adventist church out in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Adventists believe that the seventh-day Sabbath is a day to keep holy as instructed by the law of God, the Ten Commandments. I tell you my Saturday’s were bland and boring. I tried to read the scriptures all day, not watch the television, nor go to the store, or any of the things that violated the Sabbath Day according to my Adventist friends. It was a miserable time for me, not to mention for my wife.

Living by the law is bondage and is unprofitable.

Acts 15:10

Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Galatians 3:13-14

13: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

14: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Abraham lived in a time long before the giving of the Commandments. There were no Commandments in his day, nor his immediate children’s day (Isaac or Jacob). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all men of faith, and they will be sitting with Christ in glory.

Luke 13:28

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

Now Paul gives a human illustration of a covenant.

Galatians 3:15-20

15: Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

An agreement between two parties, when it has been sealed, can’t just arbitrarily be changed. So when God makes a promise you can count on it wholeheartedly.

16: Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

17: And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

18: For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

19: Wherefore then serveth the law?

If God’s covenant promise to Abraham was by faith without the law, then what is the purpose of the law – which came 430 years after Abraham? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Note two things here!

(1)   The law was given to convince men of their sin. Paul will tell us that the law was our schoolmaster showing us our sinful condition. The law is like a mirror; as we look into the demands of the law, we realize that we are unable to keep up with those demands. And so the law was given because of transgressions.

(2)   The law was only to be temporary, “Until the seed should come.”

20: Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

What does a mediator do? He mediates between two! When God made his covenant with Abraham, there was no mediator. God spoke directly to Abraham, and said,

Genesis 21:1-3

1: Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

2: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

3: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

But, when God gave the Commandments, who was the mediator between God and the children of Israel? Moses.

Did this new giving of the Commandments negate God’s personal and direct covenant with Abraham? Not at all! God had made a promise to Abraham and it was a promise based not upon a law, but upon faith.

Galatians 3:21-29

21: Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

22: But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

O my! How wonderful is this truth! God gave us the Commandments not to make us righteous; for trusting in the law could never give life or make one righteous. But, it could convince us of our sin. Then we would be forced to conclude that salvation could only be by faith in the finished work of Abraham’s seed, the Lord Jesus Christ.

23: But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24: Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25: But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

The discussion Paul has been having here with the Galatians is not one of gifts to serve Christ in the church. It is not one of who will be pastors or deacons. The discussion is whether we are to trust in the law, as the Jews want us to, or are we to trust in Christ Jesus by faith?

And Paul concludes that Jews and Greeks alike, whether they are bond or free, whether they are male or female, are all Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the same promise.

27: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28: 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.

29: And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

We are all one in Christ Jesus; when we come to Him in perfect faith.

Have you received Christ Jesus this morning?