These are difficult days that we are living in. So many people are hurting. I’m the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers, but I’m so thankful to know the One who does! In Galatians 3:2, Paul says, “I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?” No one has arrived. We all have much to learn. As we look at this chapter and Paul’s question, we’ll see several things we can learn that can help us in these trying times.
Paul asks the Galatians about their experience. They knew they did not receive the Spirit by keeping the law; they received the Spirit when they believed. Salvation is not about doing but believing. Right now, so many people are hurting due to racism and social injustice. When one member of the family hurts, we all hurt. We bear one another’s burdens and weep with those who weep. We all need to do more listening than talking. Listen to the experience of others. The Bible says be swift to hear and slow to speak (Ja. 1:19). Racism is a spiritual problem. This is an ongoing spiritual battle between good and evil. We wrestle not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12). The revival and awakening we desperately need today is not the work of man but the work of God. Self-help is not the answer. Politics is not the answer. The only thing that is going to change the human heart is the Spirit of God working in us, making us ONE family. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).
In verse 6, Paul turns to the Scriptures and references Abraham. We should not judge the Bible based on our experience; we judge our experience based on the Bible. Verse 8 says, “Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’” Notice the phrase “all nations.” Amazing grace is for every race! Paul goes on to say that “cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law” (v. 10). Notice the word “everyone.” We are all sinners from birth, both by nature and by choice, and we are all trapped in the bondage of sin, no matter our race, economic background, social background, etc. Jesus paid a high price to redeem us. Grace is free but it was not cheap. Life has its bitter experiences. In Exodus 15 the people had been traveling three days in the desert without water. They finally see water. They rush to drink their fill only to gag and choke because the water is bitter. Life is filled with bitter people and bitter situations. God showed them the tree and told them to cast in the tree. That tree is symbolic of the cross. When you are being tested, don’t throw in the towel. Throw in the tree! Put the cross of Jesus in your situation. There is power in the cross and in the truth of His word.
Paul closes this chapter saying, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (v. 26-29). Think about your children. You love your sons and daughters equally. The Heavenly Father loves His children equally, yet they are all different. No two are alike! This verse doesn’t mean our differences are erased or don’t exist. Jesus didn’t tell the parable of the Good Person, but of the Good Samaritan. He saw color; He recognized He was in a racialized society, and His teaching reflected that. The book of Acts doesn’t tell the story of the eunuch; it tells the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. In Revelation, John didn’t see multitudes of generic people; rather, he saw people of every nation, tribe, and tongue. His vision of heaven wasn’t colorblind.
We are a nation made up of diverse people. Jesus makes us one and with one voice we need to call racism what it really is – sin against the God who made us all. The goal isn’t colorblindness. The goal is to see the dignity, worth, and beauty of the diversity that God created in His image and to celebrate the fact that we are made ONE in Jesus. What are some things that will help us today? Seeking to learn by listening to the experience of others, relying on the Spirit, looking at the Scriptures, and remembering that we were all created in the image of God.