Galatians 3:26-28 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.
This passage is the foundation of all true “gender equality,” not to mention all the other forms of equality among human beings. However, it is truly operative only on the basis of faith in Christ Jesus. That’s why all the various humanistic “equality” movements are doomed to only partial success at best. It is no accident that William Wilberforce, the man behind the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, was a strong Christian, as were his kindred spirits in the US. It is no surprise that slavery is currently practiced almost exclusively in Islamic countries. That said, it needs to be remembered that equality is not the same as uniformity. Paul went into this issue at some length in 1 Corinthians 12, talking about spiritual gifts. If everyone were identical, we would have nothing! The challenge is in recognizing differing characteristics but equal value. In the digital world, exact copies are the rule of the day, but human beings are thoroughly analog. We’ve got to remember that in all of our interactions, and especially in the Church. Each has unique gifts and unique contributions to make, so the loss of even one makes us poorer. However, true unity comes to the degree that we indeed clothe ourselves in Christ, keeping our focus on Him and not on ourselves. We are quick to rank ourselves and one another on various scales, but that all becomes meaningless compared to Christ’s perfection.
Growing up as a Caucasian in Japan I have always been aware of differences between people, sometimes painfully so. It is as I have grown as a child of God that I have come to recognize the truth of this passage, first intellectually and then on every other level as well. I have learned to accept and be blessed by the unique characteristics of different people – sometimes very different! That’s not always easy even now. I’ve got to remember that Jesus didn’t die for just one group, but for every individual on the planet. That said, every individual is of incalculable value, and I need to treat them that way. I need to remember my own faults and rough spots, and not focus on friction but rather seek and receive the lubricating oil of the Holy Spirit. I am not to let conflict avoidance keep me from obedience to God, but I am not to allow differences to create rifts, so far as it is possible. That’s been an issue since the early Church, but since Jesus prayed for unity among us, I know it’s possible! Above all, I’ve got to remember that everyone is of equal value with me in God’s sight, and I’ve got to treat them that way.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me walk in the unity You desire and intend, letting Your love flow equally to all who will receive it, so that the lies of the enemy may be exposed and defeated and many drawn to repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!