October, 1958 was when my new life began. The good people of Olivet Baptist Church, Lynwood, California had been praying for me and witnessing to me for about 3 months. I had cursed them and threatened them with bodily harm if they ever knocked on my door again. Then, on a Wednesday morning, my dear wife Marlena conspired with Pastor James Combs and a layman, Glen Clark, to come to our home to talk with me about Christ. Well, I was an Atheist, or at least I thought I was, so I didn’t want to hear anything about religion. Pastor Combs managed to get me to listen, he took the Bible, explaining clearly to me of how much I needed Christ. There in the middle of my living room floor, I knelt before God for the first time in my life, and gave my life to Christ as Savior and Lord, and became a child of God! “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation…For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9,10,13).
That’s the day I was set free, free from the demands of the Law, free to serve God with all my heart, free to love God and others, “Christ has set us free to live a free life” (Galatians 5:1 MSG).
Verse 26: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
“One can hardly dispute that the ways in which Christians speak about their understanding of and relationship to God strike non-Christians as ludicrous at best and arrogant at worst. To claim to know God's will surely sounds presumptuous; to claim to know God just a bit preposterous. And the claim that we are children of God probably smacks of both. After all, how can people of flesh and blood be children of an eternal being who is Spirit (John 4:24)? And why does this status belong to some and not to all? What makes Christians so favored and their claims true, and not mere empty boasting?”–biblegateway.com
Are all people, regardless of background, religion or race children of God? The world’s media always assumes that all of humankind are children of God, but is that true? It is true that all people were created in Adam, and consequently, are in the family of earth (Genesis 1:27; 2:7). But due to the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden, the Scriptures clearly differentiate between people who are children of God and people who are not God’s children.
Listen to God’s word:
1 Corinthians 15:22 MSG, “Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ.”
John 1:12,13 NLT, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”
Romans 8:14-17, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
1 John 3:1, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”
1 John 3:10 NLT, “So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.”
God loves everyone, Christian or non-Christian. However In act He loves everyone so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Once I was clothed in the rags of my sin,
Wretched and poor, lost and lonely within.
But with wondrous compassion, the King of all kings,
In pity and love, took me under His wings.
Now I'm a child with a Heavenly home,
My Holy Father has made me His own.
Now I'm cleansed by His blood, and I'm clothed in His love,
And some day I'll sing with the angels above.
Oh, yes, oh yes, I'm a child of the King
His royal blood now flows in my veins.
And I who was wretched and poor now can sing
Praise God, praise God, I'm a child of the King.
–Bill and Gloria Gaither–
Verse 27: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Is this teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation? This doctrine, taught by some denominations is known as “baptismal regeneration.”
“Baptismal Regeneration is the belief that baptism is essential to salvation and that it is the means by which God actualizes the forgiveness of sins for the believer. It says that we are regenerated at baptism - not when we believe.” –Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, carm.org
What is baptism? Some teach and practice, pedobaptism, the practice of baptizing infants, presumably keeping them safe until they come to the age of accountability. Others teach infant baptism, is a sacrament conferring salvation on an infant. Some teach that salvation is in the church and baptism is the door to the church. Others, that baptism washes away sin, and is an absolute condition of salvation. If that were true the Apostle Paul was in error when he said, “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…” (1 Corinthians 1:17). Still others use baptism as a form of exorcism from evil spirits. Different denominations use different modes of baptism: pouring, sprinkling, or immersion. There is even a difference in immersion modes: backward, forward and 3 times face forward.
So what is Biblical baptism? Water Baptism is a public testimony, the outward confession of an inward experience. Water Baptism identifies the believer with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Water Baptism is the first act of obedience for the believer. “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized” (Acts 2:41). Water baptism is clearly a type of something which already took place in the heart of the believer, it is, “…the answer of a good conscience toward God…” (1 Peter 3:21).
Notice in the Great Commission, baptism comes after the making of disciples. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," (Matthew 28:19).
In our text today, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” “The whole context forbids us as seeing this as suggesting that baptism mechanically results in ‘putting on Christ’. It demands that this means ‘you have responded in faith (that is what the passage is all about)”–Pett
We must consider that when I came to Christ for salvation, the Spirit was immersed in me: 1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV, “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.”
We are missing the point of this verse if we do not address, “put on Christ!” Paul does not mean that one enters into Christ and is saved by baptism. We are justified by faith in Christ, not by good works, circumcision or baptism. But baptism is a public profession and pledge, the soldier‘s uniform of service to Christ, taking one‘s stand with Christ, the symbolic picture of the change brought about by faith in Christ.
What does is mean to “put on Christ.” This phrase is only found here and in Romans 13:12-14, “Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
As we observe what people wear we can tell a lot about them. We usually know if they young, old, rich, poor, successful or unsuccessful just by observing their clothing. Much of the time clothing is a status symbol. Some clothing designers are so proud of their product they display their logo for all to see. (Remember the IZOD alligator?). At a Hollywood red-carpet events, interviewers will ask celebrities, “Who are you wearing?”
Let me ask you, dear Christian, “Who are you wearing?” “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ!” Wear Him as a badge or uniform of service!
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, he came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go” (John 11:43,44).
Many believers are bound by grave clothes, even though Christ as raised them from the dead. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Isaiah 58:6 AMP, “To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every [enslaving] yoke?” So not only are we to remove the grave clothes, we are to put on new clothing, we “put on Christ!”
Colossians 3:8-10, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”
Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT, “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”
Verse 28: “There 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.”
The word “Greek” here is used to denote the Gentiles generally; since the whole world was divided by the Jews into “Jews and Greeks.”
Ephesians 3:6 ESV, “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
Our Lord came into a deeply divided and polarized society. There was division even in Judaism, with Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Zealots. There was a division between the Jew, the Gentile, and the Samaritan. There were rich, and poor. Men were segregated from women. There were free persons and slaves. There were collaborators and those who worked within the system.
The incredible concept of the church age is that God could take such absolutely alienated entities as Jew and Gentile (different in appearance, clothing, food, customs, and worship) and make them one. God had made a distinction between Jew and Gentile, now He is setting aside all national distinctions and fuses all believers into one new entity, the body of Christ.
This concept was hinted at in the Old Testament. In Genesis 12:2,3 God says the Jews would bless the whole world, “…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” The Gentiles will come to the God of Israel “The Gentiles shall come to your light” (Isaiah 60:2). Messiah would come to the Gentiles, “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:1). God would pour out His Spirit on Jew and Gentile alike, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).
“In Christ” everyone is equal; everyone is saved the same way; and all are entitled to the same privileges. There is no favoritism according to birth, gender, appearance, race or nationality. Everyone who confesses their sin and repents of that sin, and trusts in Christ is saved and become a part of God’s family of faith, with all of the same privileges as children of God. “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other, so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” (Romans 12:4,5 NLT).
“Every possible kind of racial, economic and sex distinction finds its great equalizer ‘in Christ.’ The bond of love and fellowship in the Lord is sufficiently strong to contain all outward differences among God's children.”–Coffman
Verse 29: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
“This is a beautiful, we belong to Christ, we are in Him; we are sons of God; and (3) “heirs according to promise. The promises of God are made real to us who are heirs. This can be connected to the promises God made to Abraham. The idea of being an heir means there is a very close connection, there is an intimate relationship with God, which was never the case under the law. – Alfred E. Bouter
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).
Marlena and I support this ministry with our Social Security plus donations from a few of our friends. We need more friends! Will you be a friend to us and God’s word For You? Your financial support of this ministry is much appreciated. You may send your support to God’s Word For You, 25413 Alpha Street, Moreno Valley, CA 92557