Friday, 27 March 2015

LIVE IT! - Week 5

The end of Galatians 3 is one of my favourite passages of all time.  The highlight of the love of God, and His grace through the work of Jesus Christ so that we are all now sons, with the greatest inheritance, is a monumental injection of hope, clarity, conviction and determination in my life.  It's one of those passages that serves to focus me on this Gospel mission the Church is now given, and to rejuvenate my weak humanness to a point of being clothed by Christ once again.

Verse 27 makes that exact point doesn't it?
"for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."
Baptism is something many regard as a 'tradition' these days - something to be done as an initiation into the church, or a public witness to the congregation and your friends/family of your faith. However I'm not sure that's how it's portrayed in the New Testament.  There always seems to be an inherent spiritual aspect to Baptism.  The significance of it being that it instigates a distinct change in ones life.

Here in Galatians Paul says one is clothed in Christ through baptism - our identity is not now individual, it's not based on who we are, but on who Jesus is.  Because of this change in identity Paul can then say in verse 28 that there is "neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Some spiritual change is attenuated to Baptism which gives us a unity with Jesus that is beyond-human.

In Romans Paul says:
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
-Romans 6:4
Baptism may display a symbolic gesture of death and resurrection, but in some very real sense Paul's writings give us an impression that there is some effectual spiritual death and resurrection that happens as well.

Theologically I don't feel compelled to state that Baptism is a necessity for salvation - but I do think it is even more important than how many modern churches portray it.

This week's sermon in the LIVE IT! series focused on our adoption as sons into the inheritance of Jesus.  What an incredible thing for us to receive! What is Jesus' inheritance? What does He get for being the Son of God? The answer is eternal life and an intimate relationship with the Father.  That's now our inheritance because Jesus made a way for us to be adopted as well.

Having verse 27 thrown in the middle of this passage about adoption makes me think Paul saw a real importance to baptism being a real instigator of that adoption process. Just like a child who is adopted takes on the family name, moves into the home, is dressed and cared for like any other child in that home - we receive that spiritually through the Holy Spirit. Through baptism we are clothed in Christ... we are now truly part of the family!

Read Galatians 3:23-4:20 here

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