“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28.
If you have ever said out loud that you love the mountains, then you would be familiar with the conversation that continues with “ooh, so are you a snowboarder or a skier?” and depending on who you are and what you say next, the following response will most likely cause a covid-friendly high five, evoke a groan or elicit some sarcastic remark from your audience. Sure, it is mostly joking. But when we all love to play on the same mountain, why does this division exist? As believers, should it exist?
Sadly, division is not just on the mountain. The world we live in is divided – we see it in more trivial matters between sports fans, college alumni and fast-food enthusiasts. We also see division played out on a larger stage between politics, ethnicities, gender and socioeconomics.Turn on the news and you will see a world that is broken and divided, but the family of God does not escape division. We also see division in our churches, between denominations, generations and individuals on theological ideas, cultural conversations, preacher preferences and human failings.
So, as people who are following Jesus, what does that mean for us? What does God’s word say to us about division?
When Paul writes to the Galatians, he is writing because there is division between the Jewish Christian and the non-Jewish Christians, namely over obeying the Torah and eating Kosher food. Paul is passionate as he writes, calling these Christians to find unity in the name of Jesus. The verses immediately preceding the one above (vs 26-27) tell us that Christians are one because of Jesus. We are all children of God because we together, we are in Christ. Your place of birth doesn’t matter, neither does your gender or your social standing. The things of this world that seek to divide us, including our choice of snow sport, are inconsequential when compared to the Heavenly family that we have been baptised into.
Like the church of Galatia, we are in a church community of humans who are not perfect and we may not always agree. But together, as citizens of heaven (Phil 3: 20) we are all one while we await for the return of our King. Whether you choose to ski or snowboard, it doesn’t matter, because before anything else, we are followers of Jesus and we as followers of Christ, we are united in Him. And we can enjoy playing on the mountains together.
1) What confidence do you gain from knowing that we are “all one in Christ Jesus”?
2) How can you celebrate the diversity and differences you see in your church community, instead of fueling division?
3) What impact do you think can a united community of believers have on our divided world?
By Anna Schrafft | New South Wales, Australia