Inclusion as the Children of God is Redefined
Considering Paul’s insistence over the last couple chapters to separate Judaism from salvation, I think it would be helpful to point out the reason why this was so revolutionary. When considering what election into the Kingdom of God, modern Christians must understand that the notions of “faith alone, through Christ alone” was not just an issue that was discussed during the Reformation. Since the time of Abraham, the Jews knew that God had singled them out as His chosen people and that the covenants (both the Abrahamic and Mosaic) were agreed to by both the freed people of Israel and by God. The Jews would even go so far as to circumcise their boys in order to have an outward reflection of that covenant. The coming of Jesus would change all of that.
No longer were the children of God defined by race, ethnicity, or by adherence to tradition. Election into the Kingdom was by one thing and one thing only, a faith response to who Jesus is and what He has done. I would like for you to consider how this would affect the early church which was comprised by both Jews and gentiles. Jews had always placed themselves above their gentile neighbors because they had not only been chosen by God to receive His law, but now they had also been chosen by God to birth the Messiah. It would actually make sense if you take human nature into it. The Jews must have seen gentile inclusion as completely foreign to them and that assimilation would be required in what many of them would see as a Jewish sect rather than a whole new religion. What they failed to see is that through them and the line of Abraham, Jesus would save the whole world rather than just the Jews. The children of God would reflect the magnificence of the human race. No longer would the Kingdom be a single hue of skin color, but all peoples. No longer would the kingdom speak a single language but all languages. No longer would God reside in the Temple in Jerusalem, but now He would reside in the bodies of believers throughout the world.
The question that arises is do we seek to make our church reflect the magnificent diversity of God? Do we reach out to people who look different than us or speak a different language? One thing that I can guarantee all of you who read this post is that Heaven is going to be rich and diverse because God made us that way. God could have made us all look the same, but chose to make humanity complexly different. Shouldn’t one of our aims as a church family be to do the same?
for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
(Galatians 3:26 ESV)
This week's posts were written by Michael Davis.