Adorned by Baptism
Emperor Justinian, Christian Ruler and Confessor of Christ
14 November 2016
Quite often we moderns presume that when Paul says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female" (Gal 3:28), he is abolishing all offices and positions that pivot on distinctions in the world. But he is not abolishing these distinctions any more than he is abolishing the law in the world. Yes, in the presence of God these distinctions are meaningless. The law has no standing in the presence of God according to the gospel. It has been totally abolished in Christ through the gospel.
 
King and peasant stand before God as equals, even though the peasant must bow down to the king according to his earthly station. Nor can the peasant argue that he does not owe obedience to the king because they are equal in God's eyes. The law still abides as an earthly construct. In fact, people without the gospel were capable of great works of sacrifice and heroism that lead to national greatness in Greece and Rome. Yet, before God this greatness availed nothing. The only thing that avails before God is Christ, and His righteousness with which we are adorned by baptism.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
 
"Here (Gal 3:28) many other titles could be added of offices that have been divinely ordained. For example: 'There is neither magistrate nor subject, neither professor nor listener, neither teacher nor pupil, neither lady nor servant.' For in Christ Jesus all social stations, even those that were divinely ordained, are nothing. Male, female, slave, free, Jew, Gentile, king, subject-these are, of course, good creatures of God. But in Christ, that is, in the matter of salvation, they amount to nothing, for all their wisdom, righteousness, devotion, and authority.
 
"With the words 'there is neither Jew,' then, Paul vigorously abolishes the law. For here, where a new man comes into existence in baptism and where Christ is put on, there is neither Jew nor Greek. Now he is not speaking of the Jew in a metaphysical sense, according to his essence; but by 'Jew' he means someone who is a disciple of Moses, who is subject to the laws, who has circumcision, and who observes the form of worship commanded in the law. Where Christ is put on, he says, there is no Jew any longer, no circumcision, no temple worship, no laws that the Jews keep. For Christ has abolished throughout the world whatever laws there are in Moses. Therefore, the conscience that believes in Christ should be so sure that the law with its terrors and threats has been abrogated that it simply does not know whether Moses or the law or the Jew ever existed, for Christ and Moses are utterly incompatible. Moses comes with the law and various works and forms of worship; but Christ, granting grace and righteousness, comes absolutely without the law or any demands of works. 'The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ' (Jn 1:17).
 
"With the next words, 'nor Greek,' Paul also rejects and condemns the wisdom and righteousness of the Gentiles. Among the Gentiles there were many great and outstanding men, such as Xenophon, Themistocles, Marcus Fabius, Atilius Regulus, Cicero, Pomponius Atticus, and many others. Endowed as they were with excellent, in fact, heroic virtues, they administered their commonwealths very well and accomplished many brilliant things for the welfare of the commonwealth. And yet, with all their wisdom, power, honorable deeds, outstanding virtues, laws, righteousness, worship, and religion-for we must not imagine that the Gentiles were simply despisers of honesty and religion, but all the nations scattered all over the world had their own laws, worship, and religion, without which the human race cannot be governed-with all these adornments, I say, they amounted to nothing in the sight of God. Therefore, whatever belongs to domestic, political, and divine justice, such as the justice of the law, with the highest obedience, performance of the law, and sanctity-none of this amounts to anything in the sight of God. Then what does? The garment of Christ, which we put on in baptism."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 3.28
Galatians 3:21-29

Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
 
Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 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. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
(ESV)
Prayer
In baptism I have put on Your righteousness, O Lord. With this adornment I stand in your presence. Help me to live under the constructs of this world in obedience to the orders of creation. Amen.
 
For all those who travel professionally, that the Lord Jesus would grant them safety and joy in their labors
 
For April and Adam Littmann whom the Lord Jesus has blessed with a healthy baby, Teagan Jordan, that the Lord would keep her safe until the day she is brought to the new life in Christ through baptism
 
For Gerald Tackett, that the Lord would be with him as he goes through medical testing and diagnosis
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
Sent by smurray@mlchouston.org in collaboration with
Constant Contact