23Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.
we've talked about the church at Galatia as the first ethnic church in terms of culture and geography (they also were ethnos as gentiles). The words Galatia, Gaulle, Gaelic, Celt, Celtic all come from the same root.
We've mentioned the apostle Paul almost always refers to the sacrificial law, circumcision, ceremonial law, keeping kosher when he says law, but in this passage "law" does refer to the Ten Commandments of the Sinai Covenant. The commandments are the working papers for our life together, as they set limits and boundaries.
This passage brings us a typical Reformation contrast and dichotomy between law and gospel that we try to articulate in preaching.
Reformation theological traditions (specifically Lutheran and Reformed) often cite three uses of the law: to draw people to Christ; to convict us of sin; to lead people to correct behaviors.
Jew/gentile, male/female, slave/free brings us categories that were central and critical in the Greco-Roman world at the time of this letter.
One more time:
The apostle Paul anticipated that in baptism the solitary, isolated, individual would become part of the gathered body of Christ and assume one of many differentiated roles and positions appropriate to their gifts and experience; the movement is not from solitary, isolated, individual to becoming part of an undifferentiated blob. We retain aspects of our old identity and we keep our unique gifts (food, music, accounting, administration, hospitality, art, teaching, etc.), but our baptismal identity in Christ becomes central.
the USA has a history of geographically and culturally ethnic churches, especially Lutherans and Roman Catholics who brought their spoken language and culinary propensities with them. We can welcome everyone, but is it possible for LCM to becomes all things to all people? Comments about responses to the pastoral search committee questionnaires.