“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Concerted attempts have been made in our day to blur distinctions between the sexes. Some identify as neither male nor female. Changes in legislation and education have been made to soften the line between male and female to the point that even gender specific pronouns are being discouraged by some. A few Bible translators some years back aimed to produce a “gender neutral” version by employing “inclusive language” regarding the sexes. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) and Today’s New International Version (TNIV) are examples of such attempts.
Galatians 3:28 has for years been twisted by feminists to mean because Christ sees no difference between the sexes, women should be able to exercise all the religious leadership roles as do men, regardless of what passages like 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 teach. Yet, Jesus Himself said, “from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female,” (Mark 10:6). God’s design for the reproduction of humans included a male and a female (Gen. 1:27). God told Noah to bring both male and female animals of each kind into the ark so propagation could take place (Gen. 6:19). Even today, those who work with animals recognize gender differences are not trained into the animals. Gender differences are part of God’s natural created order and no amount of surgery, legislation, or indoctrination will change this distinction. So what is Galatians 3:28 saying? God created the sexes. With all the focus on gender in today’s world, it is important to recognize what Galatians 3:28 is and is not saying about males and females. Let us consider how it appeals to this sense of gender equality so prominent in our culture, and yet does not condone the thrust of contemporary movements to flout one’s biological sex.
The context of Galatians 3:28 is not specific roles in the church, nor social conduct, but salvation. Paul was combating Judaizing teachers who required circumcision and keeping the law of Moses in order to be righteous before God (Gal. 5:2-4). He shows that there are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of God. Galatians 3 is about being children of Abraham and inheriting the promise God made to him. Because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous (Gal. 3:6). Abraham was told that through his Seed, all nations would be blessed; that Seed is Christ (Gal. 3:8, 16). Thus, those who have become children of God by faith, by being baptized into Christ, are blessed with Abraham (Gal. 3:7, 26-27). The chapter ends with, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). Thus, the longing for equality is provided by Christ. All people—regardless of race, social status, or gender—have equal access to being part of God’s family and inheriting salvation.
But while we are all allowed to be on God’s team, that does not mean we all play the same position. God has particular requirements for those who oversee His flock, among which are the requirements of being a man who is the husband of one wife and has obedient children (1 Tim. 3:1-5). God wants older women to teach younger women particular lessons about their role as women (Titus 2:3-5). All can equally secure the blessings that come from being in Christ, but in how each of us serve the Lord, He has made His will clear that there are different roles He intends for men and women.
Interested in learning more? Please contact us to continue the conversation:
The apostle of love, by inspiration, marveled, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). God’s love is so great that He gave His own Son so that we could be His children. John went on to write that this sacrificial love of Jesus Christ continues in each of us loving our brothers and sisters in Christ:
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:9-12).
Love is absolutely necessary for us if we are to be God’s people. A car may have an efficiently-designed engine that can turn out tremendous horsepower, but if it does not have oil, then the results will be disastrous. Likewise, we can have very talented people, who possess tremendous knowledge, working in well-designed programs in the Lord’s church, but if there is no love, then failure will follow. Consider the Father’s love for us and how it translates to our love for one another.
Discipline – Proverbs 3:12 says, “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Correction is an essential part of loving a child. There are no doubt cases of fathers who abuse children, just as there have been abuses of churches in their treatment of members. How should we react to this? When a good father hears of child abuse, he commits himself to lovingly disciplining his children, not allowing them to do whatever they wish. “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” Hebrews 12:11). Congregations where members are allowed to live in sin without correction are not loving the souls of individuals with the long-term results of eternity as the emphasis (1 Cor. 5:1-5).
Forgiveness – After a statement on how far God has removed our transgressions, Psalm 103:13 says, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.” Our heavenly Father is merciful. He wants to see us be reconciled to Him; He is pictured as the father who runs to meet the son who has come back home, takes the son in his arms and kisses him (Luke 15:20). As brothers and sisters in Christ, we should desire reconciliation with each other (Matt. 18:15-20). We have too many important tasks to accomplish for the Lord to remain at odds with one another.
Encouragement – Paul wrote, “as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,” (1 Thess. 2:11). Paul was like an encouraging father to his converts (1 Cor. 4:14-15; 2 Cor. 12:14). Our Father in heaven has given us His word to build us up (Acts 20:32). Brothers and sisters in Christ should encourage one another daily to be faithful (Heb. 3:13; 13:22). Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Cor. 8:1). As we grow in knowledge of the Lord, we should help others grow by building them up in the faith.
Take some time this week to consider God’s word. Thus, you can be filled with the Father’s love for you, and let His love empower you to love in the true, biblical sense — through discipline, forgiveness, and encouragement of your brothers and sisters in Christ.