There’s an old story about a well-known, international preacher who was visiting some residents in a local nursing home in a city where he was conducting an evangelistic meeting.
As we went around greeting each one, they were all glad to meet him, expressing both surprise and appreciation for taking his time to visit them. At one point, he spoke to a lady, who didn’t seem to know who he was.
“Do you know who I am?” the preacher asked.
“No,” she said. “But if you go to the front desk, they can tell you.”
Well, the Bible tells you who you are in plain language that’s easy to understand. If you’re a sinner, lost, and doomed to destruction, the Bible doesn’t mince words. If you’re not living a righteous life, the Word will make your condition clear. Our text today, speaks of those who’ve become Christians and describes who they are.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26-28)
If you’re a Christian…
#1 You are a child of God.
Believers are children of God. They are in the family of God. They are heirs of salvation. And enjoy a special relationship with the Father. As a child of God, you are a recipient of God’s grace and mercy.
#2 You are “in Christ.”
The expression “in Christ” is found 87 times in the New Testament. Being “in Christ speaks to our affiliation. Our Alliance. We are connected to Christ. United with Him. Joined with Him. We have a partnership. Relationship. Kinship. My identity is defined by my fellowship, friendship, and fraternity with Jesus.
“In Christ,” you receive and enjoy…
…Redemption (Rom. 3:24).
…Justification (Gal. 2:16);.
…Freedom from sin (Rom 8:2).
…A new life (2 Cor. 5:17).
…All spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3).
…Purpose in life (2 Tim. 1:9).
…Eternal hope (1 Cor. 15:19).
And much, much more.
#3 You have put on Christ.
To “put on” means “to dress, or clothe.” It’s a metaphorical expression picturing the Believer who has changed garments. He’s taken off the filthy garments of sin and put on robes of righteousness.
The text tells how and when this occurs. Paul affirmed, when we have been “baptized into Christ,” then we have “put on Christ.” Not before baptism, but after baptism.
Some have charged that we teach baptism is a work by which one earns salvation. Not so. Mike Willis explained it well in his commentary on Galatians.
“The problem that those have charged that baptism is a work is in distinguishing the grounds of salvation from the conditions of salvation. Baptism is not the grounds of one’s salvation; it is a condition of salvation in exactly the same manner as faith and repentance are conditions of salvation.”
That’s why Jesus commissioned the apostles to preach, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:15-16). That’s why Peter proclaimed to those seeking salvation “Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins” (Ax. 2:38). That’s why Paul penned, that when we’re “baptized into Christ,” we are “baptized into His death.” And just like Jesus was raised alive from the grave, we too, are resurrected to a “newness of life,” when raised from the waters of baptism (Rom. 6:3-4).
#4 You are unified with other Believers.
This text speaks in terms of religious unity with words like “all.” “As many.” And “one.”
The Greco-Roman world in which Paul lived was one of distinct differences. There were religious and racial differences between Jews and Gentiles. There were economic and societal differences between slaves and masters. There were gender differences of rights and privileges between males and females.
These and all other barriers were eradicated “in Christ.” In Him, we are all brothers and sisters. We have a common bond. We’ve been bought by the same blood. We wear the same name–“Christian.” We worship the same God. We believe and obey the same Bible. We walk the same way of righteousness. And we share the same heavenly hope.
When we don’t get along, stoke racial prejudices, show social favoritism, and divide over partisan politics, we’re failing to properly present our Christian identity to the world.
What about you? Who are you?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman