First Glance: Galatians 3:19-29

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“There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Our unity as Christians is both incredibly fragile and inestimably stable. On the one hand, as I write this, my denomination is debating in the midst of fierce disunity and disagreement. The threat of schism is real and the places of division serious. Our unity is fragile.  Many are desperately trying to hold together what others believe has already fallen apart.

On the other hand, as I write this, my denomination is debating in the midst of fierce disunity and disagreement. God has still kept us together. No fists have been raised, no mass exoduses have ensued from the conversation. We are still together fighting for unity and fighting for the truth.

As ugly and violent as the metaphor of ‘fighting for unity’ is, perhaps it is appropriate. The Belhar Confession describes unity as both a gift and an obligation. It is a gift because only God can bring unity. It is only “in Christ Jesus” that we are one. We are united in Christ and by Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. Every ounce of unity is a gift from the hand of God. But unity is also an obligation. We must struggle for it. The powers and principalities would love to see the church torn apart by false teaching or mistrust. Satan would love to see us stop fighting for unity, purity, and peace.

Galatians 3:28 tells us that we are, in fact, united. However, that unity is not in ourselves, our relationships, or even our desires, but in Christ Jesus. It is only fidelity to Jesus Christ that unite us. It is only by being united to Christ that we can be united to one another.

May we live in the unity we have been given in Jesus Christ and may we fight to stay united by our faithfulness to Jesus Christ.

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