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Author: Ron Graham

Hard to Hear God

Sons of God Clothed with Christ
—(Galatians 3:26-27)

Many will agree with Paul the apostle, that faith precedes coming into Christ and into sonship with God. It is hard, however, to find anyone who will agree with Paul that baptism precedes being clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:26-29). That is something that people find hard to hear.


Galatians 3:26-29

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29 NKJV).

1 The Christians of Galatia were all sons of God.

Paul tells the Galatian Christians that, in Christ, "...there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28b).

Because they were all —whether male or female— regarded as sons by God, they were all his "heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29).

Paul also said "there is neither Jew nor Greek... neither circumcision nor uncircumcision" (Galatians 3:28, 5:6 NKJV).

Under the law of Moses, and from Abraham’s time, circumcision was for men. There was no female circumcision. Now, in Christ, nobody is required to be circumcised. "In Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith [avails for justification] working through love" (Galatians 5:4-6 NKJV).

2 They all became sons through faith in Christ.

Having seen that Christians are "all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28 NKJV) and all equally sons of God, we now see that one becomes a son and heir by faith in Christ Jesus.

In verse 26, Paul says, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26 NKJV).

To have faith in Jesus is to believe his word and trust his promises "just as Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham" (Galatians 3:6-9 NKJV).

Paul tells the Galatians about his own faith "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20 NKJV).

There are many today who agree with Paul and stress that salvation is by faith, but they add the word "only" so that they speak of "faith only" or "faith alone". They mean that, in order to be justified, one does nothing except to believe. But that does not agree with Paul as our next point shows...

3 They all had clothed themselves with Christ.

Now we come to verse 27, where Paul says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27 NKJV). Some other translations say, "...have clothed yourselves with Christ."

There is enthusiastic agreement with Paul in verse 26, about faith, and that is appropriate. However there is prevarication regarding verse 27, about baptism.

Now it is important to notice Paul’s language here. He tells the Galatian Christians that "[you] clothed yourselves with Christ [or put on Christ]." (Galatians 3:27).

They themselves participated in this matter. It was Christ who gave himself to be their garment. However they themselves clothed themselves in Him.

Being clothed in Christ is a metaphor for being forgiven of sin, cleansed and covered by him who is perfectly righteous. He did the forgiving and justifying (making righteous) by his cross, but the Galatians themselves had accepted and put on the garment as a gift.

Without Christ, the Galatians would be spiritually naked with only filth to cover them. If, however, they were "in Christ" their filth would be removed and their nakedness covered with his righteousness.

They could not be justified by faith alone. They needed to receive Christ and clothe themselves with him as the garment that made them presentable to God.

4 They all became clothed at their baptism into Christ.

Now we take note of how Paul connects baptism with being clothed with Christ.

Paul says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27 NKJV).

If Paul thought the Galatians were justified by by faith alone, why did he connect their baptism to their having clothed themselves with Christ?

As shown above, the two verses are parallel. They each say how many of the Galatians are beneficiaries, what they did to be benefited, and what the benefits were that they received by God’s grace (Galatians 3:26-27).

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Webservant Ron Graham

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