United Together in Christ (In or Out – Part 3)
This is Part 3 of “In or Out” taken from Galatians 3:26 – 4:7. You can read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.
When we are united with Christ, we also become united together in Christ. Verse 27 says that all who have been united with Christ have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. I love how Paul paints these vivid word pictures. When I think about putting on Christ like putting on new clothes, two things come to my mind:
We put on the clothes when we are united with Christ, but they don’t necessarily fit yet. We need to grow into them. When we trust in Christ, we are saved. But we still often have certain habits and lifestyles that don’t really fit what we say we believe. But as we grow and mature, our habits and lifestyles change to begin to fit. It is like a child that is maturing. Our goal is to conform to the image of Christ. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, this should be happening a little more all the time. But it will not fully happen until we are with him forever at the end of this life. We are saved. We are being saved. And we will be saved.
In verse 28, Paul goes on to describe the other meaning of putting on Christ like putting on new clothes. It is like, as believers, all our clothes complement each other. It is not like a uniform, where everything is just alike; it is more like a dress code, where there is an overall pattern. People should know we are connected, even if we are not all just alike. About a month ago, my grandfather, Warner Collier Sr., passed away. When I arrived at the funeral home later in the week, the funeral director (whom I had never met) greeted me and said, “You must be a Collier.” Numerous people tell me I look just like my dad. Obviously, I don’t look JUST like him; but there clearly is a family resemblance. There should be a spiritual family resemblance between believers. We are united together. Paul said that neither race nor social status nor gender should separate us. We are all one in Christ Jesus.
In our culture, where all these categories supposedly have equal standing under our constitution and where virtually all churches at least pay lip service to the concept of equality in Christ, it is easy to lose the full force of this statement. The Jewish Daily Prayer Book that is still used by many Orthodox Jews today includes this traditional benediction: “Blessed be thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe who hast not made me a heathen [Gentile]…who hast not made me a slave…who has not made me a woman.” The footnote indicate that in place of the last line, women are required to pray “who hast made me according to thy will.” The fact that we are united together in Christ is nothing short of revolutionary! This is a truth that should be alive in our midst.