Galatians 3:23-4:7 - A New Identity
I wonder, do you remember your Baptism? I was 18 years old. After the cross lit up on my window by the moon shining through, and the voice that told me to find out more, I started a journey towards knowing Jesus. No long after that event, Greg & I were passing the Anglican Church in Croydon, and again I heard a voice say “This is where you should be married.” Greg was shocked as neither of us had ever had anything to do with ‘Anglicans’, but we went in and enquired. The community were going through a ‘Charismatic Revival’, and Greg and I heard about Jesus, who he was and what he had done. It was after this that both of us were baptised. Our lives were changed forever, and the journey has continued with me now in my 60’s.
Paul concludes his arguments against his rivals, by stating that Christians are no longer under the law’s supervision (V25) because we are children of God. And because we are in Christ, we are Abraham’s seed and heirs, according to the promise God made to Abraham before the law was given (29). All who have faith in Christ are already children of God; they don’t need to do anything else to fully join Abraham’s family. Paul is telling his non-Jewish readers that they are part of Israel by virtue of faith, both Jesus and theirs –a thought he will flesh out in 4:4-7. And to reinforce his point, Paul takes them back to their baptism. At that moment, he says, they were clothed with Christ (27). In the OT, people were clothed with something of God, his righteousness, or salvation; but here the message is so much more, we are clothed with Christ, God himself; the one and only son of the Father. Through Baptism, Christians take on a new identity. From now on, they are neither Jew nor Pagan; they are Christian. All key social distinctions are now abolished. In Baptism, all get equally wet because all are equally in need of salvation.
Baptism is on outward symbol of an inward transformation. Remembering what Christ has done for me, never ceases to stir my heart with love and grateful wonder at who I was, who I became at that moment, and who I am becoming as I am continually being transformed by the one I have put on. What about you?