We all have favorite passages of scripture; portions of the Bible that mean something special to each one of us, typically because of an experience we have had or a viewpoint we hold. One of those passages for me is found in Galations 3:23-29. Paul breaks down every barrier we could erect with this short passage.
Think of some of the barriers we put up. We, as people, are so good at labeling and organizing, we feel the need to categorize humanity too. The easiest division we see around the world, and yes in the church too, is male and female. We make a distinct division between these and set rules, customs, and even laws in place regarding what you can and cannot do depending on your gender. The church is no exception to this.
Race is probably the next easiest label or category we can place on people thereby dividing us. In fact sometimes this outweighs gender. Black skin, white skin, yellow skin, brown skin, and red skin are all differences in us. Skin color is only a color, but the blood coursing through our bodies is the same. Our thoughts, ambitions, and goals are the same. But look at some of the horrible things we have done throughout history to others with a different skin color or ethnic background.
Economic status or class is probably the next way we differentiate ourselves. People with wealth or status are often allowed more freedom or ability to do wrong and have authorities look the other way. These same people often feel they deserve an advantage over others not as wealthy, powerful, or famous. We, as humans, tend to give more authority to those with more wealth.
The Apostle Paul addresses all of this in Galatians 3:23-29. He tells us there that in Christ there is no Jew or Gentile (race), slave or free (economic status or class), or male or female. No difference. No distinction. No advantage of any over another. There is no difference in us in Christ. We are all one in God’s eyes.
We do have another division or categorization that Paul did not speak to here. This division is within the church itself. It is the denominations we have created over the years based on preferences in music, differences in opinion over minor doctrinal issues, strict adherence to the Mosaic Law, and others. Frankly, it is my opinion that many if not most of these denominational differences are more about people controlling other people than anything else. Jesus tells us in John 10:16 that He is the shepherd of other sheep. He’s telling the assembled people this so they know there are others He is the shepherd of they do not know. Jesus is the shepherd of anyone who willfully surrenders his or her own will and follows Him. There is only one church, one body of believers. It doesn’t matter if you are Pentecostal, Catholic, Baptist, Anglican, Apostolic, Presbyterian, Orthodox, Methodist, Lutheran, Independent, Non-Denominational, or any other separation we have created; we are one church!
Anyone who willfully says yes to Jesus’ call to follow Him is part of that body and is a brother or sister in Christ and in Christ there are no racial differences, no economic or authoritative differences, and no gender differences. Everyone is equal in the eyes of God in Christ Jesus.