Open to All
Scripture Reading — Galatians 3:26-29
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 —
When I began working in a bank in the mid-1970s, people had to meet certain unwritten qualifications of race and gender in order to work in the business loan office, the bank's most prestigious department. During my time at the bank, those barriers came down. It was a blessing to see that happen; it was an even greater blessing to play a small part in making it happen.
In the centuries before Jesus came, and even for a while after his apostles brought the good news of salvation for all peoples to Asia and Europe, it was common for some people to think they alone had a first-class relationship with God. For example, non-slave Israelite males often prayed, "God, I thank you that you did not make me a Gentile, a slave, or a woman."
Paul's message in Galatians was most unwelcome to people who prayed that way. But the truth of Christ came to break down all barriers to the love and salvation of God (Ephesians 2:11-22). What a blessing this was to non-Jews, slaves, and women who received Paul's message! Through the Holy Spirit the Christian church grew with miraculous speed in the following years, despite opposition from Israelites who refused to believe in Jesus and from worldly powers that refused to recognize Jesus as King of all kings. "To all who received him ... he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).
God our Father, thank you that we can all come to you through the finished work of your Son, Jesus Christ, who died to break down every barrier resulting from sin. Amen.