In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27 NRSV).
Following the work I have done on this coming Sunday’s sermon, and the previous God moments offering, I am motivated to press home the love that God has for us, his children, and the absolute security and certainty of the Christian’s hope.
The situation that St Paul had to address in this letter was a heated dispute among Christian converts in Galatia. Some maintained that certain Old Testament rituals had to be observed (especially circumcision) before one could claim to be a Christian.
Paul campaigned vigorously against these errors, highlighting that people wishing to follow Christ are no longer bound by Old Testament ceremonies and rituals, but that we are saved by grace alone through faith in the saving work of Christ. It is in this context that he wrote: “In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
This is an extraordinary passage and one that I would encourage all Christians to study and embrace. The first part clearly states that you and I are the children of God, not by natural birth, but by faith in Jesus Christ our Saviour’s, atoning sacrifice. He took what had been rent asunder by sin, and brought us back into spiritual fellowship with God – back into the Father-child relationship of God’s family.
The second sentence declares that we have been restored to this privilege through baptism. Essentially, in the language of scripture we are told that in baptism, Jesus has removed the filthy garments of our own righteousness and has replaced them with the pure robes of his own flawless righteousness. In the New Testament, baptism is much more than a ceremony; it is a sacrament, a means of grace, a holy, divine sign of God’s acceptance. Through the divine Word that accompanies the water in baptism, our sins are “washed away” (Acts 22:16), and we are empowered to live the “sanctified” life (1 Corinthians 6:11) by the Holy Spirit working through the Word.
Always remember that we are baptised Christians, forgiven, cleansed, and sanctified (made holy) by our wonderful, gracious Redeemer, Jesus. You are special, you are loved, and your salvation is assured and protected by your baptism into Christ.
Thursday 30th April 2020.