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 no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 5:23-28
What’s your heritage? That’s an ice breaking question I ask when trying to get to know someone. It doesn’t matter what they look like to prompt me to ask that question. I’ve asked innumerable people of all colors, shapes, and sizes this question. Most of the time, the question is met with slightly raised eyebrows, a smile, and an engaging conversation about them. It’s a better question than “where are you from?” which could be very different from their heritage, or “what’s your background?” which could be a vocational discussion. No, I find asking heritage questions promotes great conversation which demonstrates my interest in them.
As Jesus followers, our spiritual heritage is vastly different than it was. Before we began following Jesus, we followed the Evil One. His path was ours. Feeling ourselves to be good wouldn’t and can’t change our destiny (Mark 10:18). As we turn to Jesus, dying to the other path, our heritage changes being based on Christ! What a glorious thing this is! We’ve become part of God’s family, heirs to the throne, through Jesus (Romans 8:17). And, we find in our Galatians passage the equality ceaselessly sought in this life is already ours in Christ!
In this tumultuous time we’re living, we see demonstrations based upon a lack of equality in the diversity of cultures in America. Justice isn’t being served. Centuries of oppression surface culturally embedded anger and it boils over. Most of us have no way of understanding or empathizing because we’ve not lived within their culture. Like me, we wonder where it comes from, being unaware but guilty of the turmoil just under the surface.
Many understand the Kingdom of God where our equality is already established. Being ‘in the now and not yet ’ Jesus followers, we’re living in the Kingdom of God as we live this life. We’re all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). Imagine if we began letting our Kingdom life spill into our daily life. How would that change things? How would we affect our neighbors?
Many times our imagination is the beginning of something becoming real. So, imagine being able to foster your Kingdom’s equality with your ‘here and now’ neighbor, then prayerfully pursue making it reality. Imagine what the ‘here and now’ would be like and how much deeper your relationships with your neighbors would be!
By Rich Obrecht