In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Do you have any siblings? How do you get on with them? I get on pretty well with my brother and sister, but it wasn’t always that way! Like most siblings, we fought over the most ridiculous things as children. Our arguments were often fed by our sense of childhood injustice, the kind that prompts children the world over to scream “it’s not fair!” at their parents. Perhaps I thought my brother had a bigger slice of cake than me, or he thought my Christmas present was better than his. We often complained to our parents that it wasn’t fair! Actually, like most parents, mine were very fair indeed, always ensuring that they treated us equally. They loved us equally and they were determined to show us that this was the case.
In the verses above, Paul is keen to tell the Galatians just how fair God is to them. Once a person has decided to become a follower of Christ, they become “children of God through faith.” The process of baptism levels out all kinds of different statuses and in God’s eyes means that we are all equal, we are all his dearly beloved children. Whilst that there was a natural hierarchy in Galatian society, this was levelled on entering God’s kingdom. In the ancient world Jewish Christians might have thought that they were “better” than Gentile Christians, since they had followed the law of the Old Testament. Freemen might have lorded it over slaves, and men might have viewed themselves as superior to women, but in God’s eyes, all are equal. Once someone has pledged themselves to follow Jesus, everyone is one. There are no distinctions or divisions in God’s kingdom.
The society that we live in today might not seem to be as fundamentally divided as that of the ancient world but the truth is that there are still some pretty huge divisions. The most significant is surely based on money; there is a super rich strata in our world today who have billions of pounds at their personal disposal. There are many millions more who have practically nothing. Then there are those of us in the middle who make quite a good living and are quite comfortably off in the grand scheme of things. The remarkable thing, however, and a key point for us to remember, is that in God’s eyes we are all equal, no matter who we are or what we have. Just like a model parent, God loves us all equally, and wants the best for us all. I wonder if we allow this realisation to influence our thinking about others in the world today? Do we identify ourselves as brothers and sisters in Christ? Do we support each other as good siblings should? Or do we argue and squabble amongst ourselves, constantly bickering and complaining to our father in heaven “it’s not fair!”