For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. [Gal 3:26-29]
Notice that Paul here states that “ye” are all the children of God BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST. The word children here is not simply ones that are born, but ones that are fully grown sons with all the privilege that comes with sonship. This is not a father-child relationship as much as it is a relationship of privilege. It is important to remember that this is not the position of all people. The members of the human race are Adam’s sons. They share his lot of sin and death. Those who are placed as sons, i.e. adopted, are placed into that position by faith in Jesus Christ.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [Him], that we may be also glorified together. [Rom 8:14-17]
In our passage in Galatians, the word translated “children” is the Greek word υἱός (huios), and it is translated “sons” in the passage in Romans. In the passage in Romans, the word “children” is a different word. It is the word τέκνον (teknon), which is the word for one born into the family. Both seem to be terms of endearment, and both terms of parentage.
From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words as a note under the heading “Son” regarding the Greek HUIOS (υἱός):
For the synonyms teknon and teknion see under CHILD. The difference between believers as “children of God” and as “sons of God” is brought out in Rom 8:14-21. The Spirit bears witness with their spirit that they are “children of God,” and, as such, they are His heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. This stresses the fact of their spiritual birth (Rom 8:16, 17). On the other hand, “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,” i.e., “these and no other.” Their conduct gives evidence of the dignity of their relationship and their likeness to His character.
Under the heading “Child”, regarding the difference between the terms:
teknon–“a child” (akin to tikto, “to beget, bear”), is used in both the natural and the figurative senses. In contrast to huios, “son” , it gives prominence to the fact of birth, whereas huios stresses the dignity and character of the relationship.
Understanding these terms will be helpful in the next chapter as well. There is much more to these terms than my limited knowledge and ability to convey the meanings will allow. For further insight into this distinction see Meaning of “Son” in Scripture. Notice also how the apostle speaks of our placing into that position in his epistle to the Ephesians:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, [Eph 1:5]
The adoption of children in this verse is the idea of “son-placing”, or being put into that position of privilege. God has predestinated those who are His children by faith in Jesus Christ to be placed as His sons. This is our destiny! The whole of creation will rejoice when this happens:
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [Rom 8:19]
This is the position of only the saved, those that have faith in Jesus Christ. While the whole world likes to flatter itself that we are all God’s children, just because of (—), scripture tells no such thing.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Notice this is not being baptized into a church, or for that matter even being baptized into water. This is being fully united to Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [His] resurrection: [Rom 6:3-5]
This is God’s work:
In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [Him] through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead. [Col 2:11-12]
This is also how we are put into the Body of Christ, and united to all other members of the body. We are united to them because we are all united to Christ:
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. [1Co 12:12-14]
While denominations argue about baptism, its meaning, method, and formula, the scripture speaks of the one baptism by which we are united.
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, ONE BAPTISM, One God and Father of all, Who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all. [Eph 4:3-6, emphasis mine]
Having put on Christ by being united to Him, there is no earthly status that identifies us, except that of being IN HIM. In the context of this entire Galatian epistle, being in Christ takes away any need to be circumcised. We are IN CHRIST! Being found in Christ, we have become heirs to the promise, because He is the promised seed. Christian, never think of yourself as anything apart from Christ! Your history in Adam has ended at the cross, and Christ is your all in all. We live in a time that everyone has an identity in something, in some type of group, usually identified with its grievance. Let us who name the name of Christ remind ourselves that we are crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20), and as we understand that we are justified and “saintified” in Christ alone, we are also identified in Christ alone. I am not an [anything]-Christian. I am a Christian. Leave aside everything you are in Adam. If you are a believer in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord according to the scriptures (1Cor 15:3-4) then you are in Christ.
Previous Study: Galatians 3:19-25
Next Study: Galatians Chapter 4
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