“You are all one person in Jesus Christ.”
“For all ye be one in Christ Jesus.”
So, we are either one person or we are united as one in Jesus. Either way, we “who have been baptized in Christ’s name have put on the person of Christ.” We are “clothed with Christ.” Paul implies we are dressed up in Christ as if we’ve put on a costume for a big party. Yet, he means so much more. The physical properties, the settings in which we dwell no longer matter. That I am female and you are male means little – if anything – in the kingdom of God. For the flesh can not inherit the kingdom. We will all be changed, in a flash at the sound of the trumpet. The mortal will fall away, and we shall be as He is – immortal.
Therefore, the petty differences between us – our gender, the color of our skin, our cultural backgrounds or ethnicity, our station in life, the money we have or don’t have – these things mean nothing. The only thing that counts is our relationship with Christ, that we are indeed one person.
“through faith in Christ Jesus you are all now God’s sons. All you who have been baptized in Christ’s name have put on the person of Christ; no more Jew or Gentile, no more slave and freeman, no more male and female; you are all one person in Jesus Christ.” Galatians 3:26-28KNOX
“For all ye be the children of God through the belief of Jesus Christ. [For all ye be the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.] For all ye that be baptized, be clothed with Christ. [Forsooth whoever ye be baptized in Christ, ye have clothed in Christ.] There is no Jew, nor Greek, no bondman, nor free man, no male, nor female [There is not Jew, neither Greek; there is not servant, neither free man; there is not male, neither female]; for all ye be one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28WYC
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
Now and then, in some special way, I emotionally experience what Paul means when he writes: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Not to be a spoiler — that’s a spoiler alert, ladies and gentlemen — but toward the end of the movie, SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, Dodge and Penny happen upon a line of people slowly walking toward something ahead. Every person looks at peace as he or she walks. The camera turns to show us where they are heading. We see the ocean open up between two seaside cliffs. In the shallows stands a minister of God; he is obviously baptizing babies in the waters of the ocean.
Suddenly, tears welled up in conjunction with a glowing emotion — what I can only describe as a heartthrob — and I knew God the Holy Spirit was witnessing with my spirit that I am a son of God. That moment in the film — which otherwise is devoid of any mention of God — was so tender, so touching, so real that I sat stunned in the dark theatre.
Dodge and Penny silently sit, speaking with others on the beach. No, we don’t see that they get baptized but subsequent events in the film make that truth possible, perhaps even likely.
God witnesses. His Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are sons of God. Do you know what that is like?
“All the prophets testify about [Jesus Christ] that through His Name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 10:43)
Peter preaches this to Cornelius, who has recently sent for him after “a man in a dazzling robe” stands before him and tells him that He has heard his prayers. Cornelius says to Peter, “You did the right thing in coming. So we are all present before God, to hear everything you are commanded by the Lord.” (Acts 10:30,33)
Peter begins by verbally recognizing that “God doesn’t show favoritism.” (Acts 10:34) Peter realizes that “in every nation the person who fears [God] and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.” (Acts 10:35) Peter then proceeds to tell Cornelius of the events which led to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Peter proclaims, “[Jesus] is the One appointed by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42)
If Jesus judges you as clean, then you are clean.
With Peter’s words, Cornelius and the other Gentiles with him, believe and through the Name of Jesus Christ each is saved from his sins. The Holy Spirit descends on each one so that they speak in other languages and declare the greatness of God. At this point, Peter calls for these new believers to be baptized with water for they have already been sealed by the Holy Spirit.
Seeking God and being sought by Him — in every nation, people are being saved. Even so, come Lord Jesus!
Peter testifies,”But God shows me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.” (Acts 10:28) Cornelius testifies, “Suddenly a man in shining clothes stands before me and says, ‘Cornelius, God hears your prayer and remembers your gifts to the poor.” (Acts 10:31) God tells Cornelius to send for Peter; and Peter comes to a man — he once considered impure and unclean — in obedience to God’s call.
Peter testifies, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34) Peter tells us, “Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His Name.” (Acts 10:43)
“The gift of the Holy Spirit is poured out even on the Gentiles.” (Acts 10:45) Therefore Peter says, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 10:47)
“Therefore,” commands Jesus, “go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)
Like the ark saves the eight people from the drowning of the world, so baptism with water saves us “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The water of baptism does not wash us of physical dirt, says Peter, but is “the pledge of a good conscience toward God.”
Jesus promises us a “good conscience toward God” — and this is not a condition which we produce under our own power. Rather, this peace with God is His gift to us in conjunction with the gift of His Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit comes to us once Jesus is resurrected from the grave. As Jesus goes to sit “at God’s right hand with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him,” the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us, God’s own children. (1 Peter 3: 22)
Our baptism is a statement — through the washing of water, Jesus promises we are saved. We are become new creations, created in Him for God the Father. We are bought at a price; and are worth more than we can imagine to God. After all, we cost Him His Son’s human life. We cost His Son His Father’s presence.
As we emerge from the waters of baptism, we declare to all — ‘I belong to the Lord. My conscience is clean.’