What does Galatians 3:27 mean?
ESV: For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
NIV: for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
NASB: For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
CSB: For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ.
NLT: And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
KJV: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Paul has just made an enormous statement. In the previous verse, he declared that all who are in Christ Jesus "by faith" are the children of God. Gentiles no longer need to think of themselves as God's step-children. The rights and privileges of a full son or daughter of God are available to all who trust in Christ for their salvation from sin.
Now Paul describes this connection we have with Christ, the Son of God, as even closer than siblings. Those who trust in Him "put on Christ" like a garment. Paul likely has in mind the kind of robes worn in the Roman Empire during his day. To put on Christ is to be completely covered up by Him. To be "in Christ" is to be so closely identified with Him that we experience life through Him, in a sense.
How does that happen? Paul describes those who come "by faith" as being baptized into Christ. It's possible Paul is referring to water baptism, the outward, public sign of faith in Christ. More likely, though, Paul means that Christians are baptized in (or into) the Holy Spirit when we trust in Christ for our salvation. It is the moment when God's Spirit comes to live with and in us.
Paul describes it this way in 1 Corinthians 12:13, "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit." He will use similar language to describe our oneness in Christ through the Spirit in the following verse.
Galatians 3:23–29 summarizes the idea that God never intended the law to be the final solution for the problem of sin. Instead, it was meant to ''guard'' mankind, until the arrival of Christ. This freedom from the captivity of the law also transcends all other barriers: race, gender, wealth, health, and culture are all irrelevant to our relationship with the Savior. Anyone who belongs to Christ, by faith, is promised to be an heir.
Paul indicates the Galatian Christians are foolish for believing they need to follow the law of Moses to be right with God. He offers three specific arguments to support this. First, they received God's Spirit in a powerful way after believing in Jesus, but before doing any works of the law. Second, Scripture itself shows God's blessing coming by faith, and His curse coming by the law. Christ paid the price of that curse on the cross. Third, God's covenant with Abraham is like a legal document, and it cannot be revoked.
In Galatians chapter 2, Paul declared that we can only be justified—''made right with God''—by faith in Christ and not by following the law of Moses. In chapter 3, Paul offers three arguments for why that is true. He argues from the Galatians own experience, from the Scriptures themselves, and from the legal standpoint of a covenant contract. Finally, Paul answers what the law is for if it cannot save us from our sin. In part, it reveals our sinfulness and convinces us of our need to be saved by faith in Christ. The following chapter will expand on what it means to be an ''heir,'' spiritually.
Galatians is sometimes called “a short Romans” for its similar themes of justification and sanctification through faith. A group of Christians known as “Judaizers” were preaching a gospel of legalism, rather than grace. Paul’s main purpose in writing the letter to the Galatians was to reiterate the true nature of the gospel: we are justified (made righteous) and sanctified (made more Christlike) through our faith in Jesus Christ alone. This letter was probably written shortly before the church elders in Jerusalem issued their official refutation of the Judaizers, commonly called the Jerusalem Council.
Accessed 11/30/2023 5:33:52 AM
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