Friday, August 19, 2011

Call To Unity - Galatians 3:28

In verse 28 of the 3rd chapter of Galatians, Paul writes: "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." 

In the New Spirit Filled Life Bible my friend Jeff O'Brien gave me, there are highlighted sections tied to some scriptures called Kingdom Dynamics which explains and gives translations to better understand those scriptures. For this verse, the entry is titled: Call To Unity

It is often a "seduction of the secondary" that keeps us from our primary love for Christ and for those He has given us to love. The "secondary" can consist of a commitment to a leader, our denomination, or the nonessential (but familiar) customs of our brand of religion. Unity is difficult when these secondary considerations become the basis for judging or staying away from others. Added to these can be racial, cultural or social differences. Sometimes, education, position, financial status or political beliefs can stand between Christians, keeping them from loving one another and experiencing the unity that Christ wills for them. When we "major in the minors," we end up separated from people who do not look, act or talk like we do. The only way to overcome this is to be sure Christ is first and foremost in our lives and to set aside the secondary things that have little ultimate value."

Scriptures offered to support this passage are 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and Ephesians 4:1-16.

God never intended for there to be "denominations" in the Body of Christ; He did not call us to one brand or another of faith. Denominations, like religion, are man-made creations and all too often, those divisions cause us to miss out on the love and support of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus came to not only free us from the grips of sin and the bindings and burdens of the law, He came to free us from religion. The priests, Sadducees and Pharisees were so entrenched in "religion", God saw the need to free us from those restraints and give us free and total access to Him. Religiosity prevents us from experiencing the full and complete freedom and joy that life in Christ brings.

Today's church has re-embraced so much of religion that many are so bound by their religious notions they are not only missing out on Christ's freedoms and blessings, they are actually driving people away from embracing and accepting Christ in their lives. The unity God has called us to through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior will bring us more joy, blessings, hope and love than we could even begin to fathom. And this unity will also give us the opportunity to be a more effective witness in bringing others into the fold.

Take time to not only read God's Word, but also pray before you read that God will open your heart and your mind to the full truth and revelation He wants to give you during your time in the Bible. Lay aside your preconceived notions of how others should look, dress, behave, believe or what their social, financial or religious status should be. Trust me, YOU will be the one who is most blessed and joyful for your experiences with others than you could ever be to them.