Pastor’s Corner: “No Second Class Christians”
Galatians 3:28 (MSG) – In Christ’s Family – 28-29 In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. (NLT – for you [who believe] are all one in Christ Jesus [no one can claim a spiritual superiority]).
In the world, there is a constant battle for control, power and superiority. The most common tactic used in order to elevate ourselves is to tear one another down. Our world has become especially efficient and proficient in this strategy. Unfortunately it has carried over even within the Christian community. In the church, there are some who consider themselves superior; some who consider that they and only they are the proper bearers of the Christian tradition.
Have you ever felt like a second class Christian? Maybe it’s not necessarily because of your gender or race, but because you didn’t measure up spiritually? Even in the church we have this expectation of what a “Good Christian” looks like. From person to person this varies so it is an ever moving target. We should always endeavor and encourage others to grow in love and relationship with the Lord, but we should never consider ourselves better than others. Mature Christians consider others better than themselves. Philippians 2:3 (NLT) – 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3-4 (MSG) – 1-4 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. I love something that I heard in “The Walk to Emmaus” (a spiritual retreat): “As a Christian, you may be better than you were, but you are never better than someone else!”
We also need to be careful to not pile heavy weights on others that they can never achieve. Matthew 23:4 (AMP) – 4 The scribes and Pharisees tie up heavy loads [that are hard to bear] and place them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not lift a finger [to make them lighter].The opposite is actually true, we are called to help bear one another’s burdens, not load them up. Galatians 6:2 (AMP) – 2 Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love].
There are no first- or second-class Christians. If we belong to God through faith in who Jesus is and what he has done, then we are equal members of his family. God doesn’t play favorites. No ethnic group can claim priority over another. No gender is superior to another. Social class distinctions are not relevant when it comes to belonging to God’s family and being loved to the limit by the Father of our family. You have equality of standing with every other Christian and this due to a gift. Peter tells us, “by…” not “by self effort, heritage, good deeds, nationality, performance, but by and only, “by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” – (II Peter 1:1). There’s no reason to look down on one another. As the saying goes, the ground is level at the foot of the Cross!
Let’s paraphrase Galatians 3:28: “In Christ, there is no longer popular or unknown, rich or poor, fashionable or homely. If you belong to Christ, you have access to the greatest wealth any human can have. If you belong to Christ, then you are a child of God through faith. If you belong to Christ, you are an heir to the promise God gave Abraham to bless all. If you belong to Christ, all other measures of human worth fall away in the blinding glory of the eternal decree that you are fully chosen and loved by God in Christ. Forget fashion; be clothed with Christ!”
In His Grace,