GALATIANS 3:28 (Part 2) - Berean Lamp Memory Verse - (June 20-27)
The Berean Lamp Memory Verse for this week is:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
SERIES INTRO: In this Memory Verse for the Devotional Friday, we're continuing our series looking at the blessings of truth that man credits himself with discovering through his own reasoning in the modern age - but which actually originate from God's Word. It is a poorly illustrated point that the Holy Spirit through the Church has changed the world for the better - as Jesus said He would (John 16:7-8). All the peoples of the world have truly been blessed by the testimony and labors of the Church - it is a remarkable different place since Jesus came into the world. Why then do so many scholars and pundits try to lay only blame and bad reports at the feet of the Church, giving themselves the credit for the good that Christ has brought through His Bride? Increasingly, books, articles, and reports are painting the Church as a terrible blight on the world - a relic of ignorance, superstition, and cruelty - when the opposite is actually true.
THIS WEEK: Last week, we looked at how the concept of universal humanity came from the Scriptures. This week, we're continuing to examine this by looking at how the Gospel dispels with the idea of racism, which was (and is) a serious problem for sinful humanity. The Gospel challenged people's perceptions that their race and ethnicity gave them special advantages before God. It dispensed with the notion that good and bad people could be judged on the basis of their physical form and appearance or their genetics and ethnicity. These were very common ideas in the ancient world, and although less common, they still persist in the modern world today. It was even true of the Jews who touted that they were God's "chosen people" - as if by the merit of their blood, they were special and holy. They began to think God called them His "people" because they were a special race, rather than the sovereign choice of God to work through their stubborn hearts His purposes for the benefit of the rest of the world's people - He chose them to carry His blessing to all races (Galatians 3:6-8)! But they had come to believe they were superior to the "gentiles" and had an inherited right to Heaven simply because they were Abraham's biological descendants. This was not God's purpose, and Jesus corrected them many times. Through the Holy Spirit, the Church's labors have brought the world a sensibility that racism is wrong and that all people are equal before God - no matter their skin color, nose shape, body-type, or blood - not to mention heritage and ethnicity. The Western world has come to embrace this Biblical concept, while maintaining it was developed by their "evolved" reasoning, rather than the testimony of the Church. They even go so far as to fling mud at the Church and call it "racist." This isn't the case. The Holy Spirit has given this idea of the equality of all men to the Church, and the Church has testified to it for thousands of years - the stubborn heart of man has slowly come to accept it as a sensible idea only in recent times.
May we give credit to God before men for the good blessings of truth and understanding that He has given us. Even so, Amen.
Other verses to consider:
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?” (Jeremiah 13:23a)
“I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon. Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, For the sun has burned me” (Song of Solomon 1:5-6a).
The Centurian's faith - a proof that your race and ethnicity do not make you superior or give you a "ticket" to Heaven:
“Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (Matthew 8:10-12).
“Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham” (Luke 3:8).
It was a shocking teaching that your race didn’t get you a seat in Heaven:
“In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out” (Luke 13:28).
The deeds of your heart tell who your "father" is, not the blood in your veins, color of your skin, or shape of your nose:
“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, “You will become free”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.’ They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.’ They said to Him, ‘We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies’” (John 8:31-44).
Faith alone makes you a child of God:
“Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer” (Galatians 3:6-8).
“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29).
Universal Humanity all equal before the Cross of Christ:
“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:24-31).
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17).
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 2:9).
“He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).
“In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:16-17).
“But now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26).
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-8).
“The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you’” (Galatians 3:8).
“I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:14-16).
“There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 2:9-10).
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:43-45).
“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving, The poison of asps is under their lips’; ‘Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness’; ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God” (Romans 3:9-19).
“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:21-25).
“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).
“And have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all” (Galatians 3:10-12).
“There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning. If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me. So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church” (1 Corinthians 14:10-12).