As we look at New Testament passages that teach us about baptism, it’s good to keep in mind that the main point of these passages isn’t baptism. That’s a striking contrast between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Where the Mosaic Law gave specific ordinances about worship and how it was to be carried out, the New Testament lacks such code. We’re not told who can baptize, where they can baptize, when they can baptize, what kind of water is to be used…
With that in mind, we turn to Galatians 3, a passage which not only isn’t about baptism, but isn’t about the role of women, despite any lectures you might have heard at Pepperdine or read in other places. The theme of Galatians 3:1-4:7 is this: “Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:7) This passage is about who is a child of Abraham and, therefore, an heir of the promises made to Abraham. Any ideas we extract from these passages must be evaluated according to their place within that theme.
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26–29)
What is said about baptism is a part of this discussion. By being baptized into Christ, we cloth ourselves with Christ. This faith response makes us a son of God and “Abraham’s seed,” heirs of the promises made to Abraham.
I love that imagery… clothed with Christ. We used to sing a song when I was in college that says
I am covered over with the robe of righteousness that Jesus gives to me.
I am covered over with the precious blood of Jesus and he lives in me.
What a joy it is to know my heavenly Father loves me so he gives to me my Jesus.
And when he looks at me he sees not what I used to be, but he sees Jesus.