Many see the Christian faith as no more than obeying rules and regulations; with such a view inevitably leading to bondage. This was the problem in the Galatian churches, where having been founded by the Apostle Paul on a message of freedom in Christ by grace through faith, they were later infiltrated by a group known as the Judaisers who were teaching a “different Gospel” (Galatians 1 v 6). They said that new converts had to additionally obey Jewish laws, customs and distinctives, something that was anathema to the Apostle Paul (Philippians 3 v 5 – 6).
“Now that faith has come” he wrote “we are no longer under the supervision of the law” (v 25.) Instead, by faith, they are “in Christ” and as a result experience a three dimensional attachment which provides them, along with every other believer, with an identity :-
1 – To the Father (v 26 – 27)
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” God is now our Father, having adopted us in Christ into his family by giving us a new set of spiritual clothes to wear (Ephesians 4 v 23 – 24). Such a union that has been secured by faith and symbolised by baptism. This means that the believer’s identity is now that of a son of his heavenly Father.
2 – To the Fellowship (v 28).
Not only do we belong to Father God, but we also belong to one another, minus the usual divisive distinctions of racial prejudice (Jew & Greek); social prejudice (Slave & Free); and sexual prejudice (Male or Female). That is not to say that these real distinctions are obliterated in Christ and in his church, but rather that they do not create barriers to community, because we are all equal and one in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 12 v 12 – 13.) This means that the believer’s identity is now that of being united to brothers and sisters in Christ within the fellowship of the church.
3 – To the Family (v 29).
Not only do we belong to a heavenly Father and to a fellowship of believers, we also belong to Abraham, for we are his – “seed, and heirs according to the promise.” We take our place in the historical succession of faith, becoming heirs to the spiritual promises given to Abraham (Genesis 12). This means that the believer’s identity is now that of being united to a spiritual family that spans the generations.
Pause 4 thought.
In an age that struggles with identity and often asks the question – “Who am I?” The Christian faith offers the answer, enabling us to find our primary identity, by uniting us to Father God, to our fellow believers and to history. Do you know who you are?
Theme: “Who am I”
Reading: Galatians 3 v 26-29
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Bev Sills