We are no longer chained to the law, Paul proclaims. No longer are we being held hostage emotionally and spiritually by the laws found in Leviticus, nor by any of the other obscure laws—now that Christ has come, freedom and power of the Spirit can be had by all who believe. We are heirs according to the promise Abraham was given. No longer will those who are not Jewish by birth be left outside standing in the cold wondering if they will get to come in. Through faith, all are heirs to the promises of God.
That message, I’m certain, was especially refreshing to the Gentile Christians who Paul was writing to. Now that the old distinctions and differences are no longer under the microscope, they can focus on their new-found relationship. They can stop wasting their time and energy on trying to figure out who believes this and who believes that. They can begin the work of being the Body of Christ, together. Now their main goal is unity. And the turning point between who’s in and who’s out, the defining moment, according to Paul, is Baptism. At baptism we are clothed with Christ—we put on Christ.
Before, was the law, Paul said, “but now, through faith you are all sons and daughters of God in union with Christ Jesus. Baptized into union with him, you have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Just as a garment envelops the person wearing it and determines the identity of his appearance, so the person baptized through faith in Christ is enveloped by Christ.
The old laws did NOT bring you to where you are now (a new creation in Christ)—the old laws did NOT give you the kind of access to God you now have—the old laws did NOT provide you with the type of relationship with God’s Spirit you now have—none of the old laws did that— the CROSS did that—UNCONDITIONAL love did that—GRACE did that—thank GOD for that!
“There is no longer Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free,
we are now all one in Christ.”