- Ballynahinch Congregational
"One in Christ Jesus"
By Rev Victor Neill
‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male or female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus‘ (Gal 4 v 28)
In recent days we have heard much about racial inequality and people take a stance on either side of the issue. It seems to me the stand we take should be based on our verse. There are some things we should all remember - not one of us chose our race, colour of skin or birth sex and so no one should be judged using any of that criteria. Martin Luther King said that we ‘should not be judged by the colour of our skin, but by the content of our character'. With that the Bible would certainly agree. We show whom we serve by the content of our character. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who can change the content of our character and break down all the barriers that separate individuals and nations. The real root of the world’s problems is in fact a character problem - not racial!
‘Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness‘ (Gal 5 v 19-21). These and other sinful practices are the things that mar and scar our character and lead to all sorts of problems because God is left out of life. On the other hand, the character that is shaped by our relationship to Christ is markedly different ‘but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace‘ ( Gal 5 v 22-23).
Christ breaks down all barriers and there is no distinction of race (and that would include colour): ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek’. In Christ there are no social barriers 'There is neither bond nor free' all are on an equal footing in Christ, whatever their social standing in society. There are also no distinctions as to how one should be treated because of their birth sex for ‘there is neither male nor female’, all are equal. When we come to place our faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation, then every barrier that separates is broken down. It has been said ‘the ground at the cross is level‘ and we all have equal standing on the ground at the cross as guilty sinners: ‘as it is written there is none righteous no not one‘ (Rom 3 v 10) So none of us have grounds for boasting on any level. All desperately need the forgiveness that Christ has paid for us with His blood .
Isaac Watt’s great hymn ‘When I survey the wondrous cross‘ has a response to that unique sacrifice:
‘Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small; love so amazing so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all‘
May we all respond in this way.