No “Second Class Christians”

“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)

Contrary to the claims of some, this verse does NOT mean that gender roles have been entirely obliterated by the gospel of Jesus. In fact, this very same Apostle Paul makes that very clear in his other writings, as does Jesus. (See Ephesians 5, I Timothy 2 & 3, etc.) But what this verse DOES make clear is that there are NO “second class Christians.”

The phrase “IN CHRIST JESUS” is the key here. In His kingdom, in our standing before Him, there is no distinction between a man or a woman, a slave or a free man, or a Jew or a Gentile. If you are saved, you are His, sharing equal standing with all other believers.

This was a revolutionary concept in a world that harbors prejudices and observes distinctions of all kinds between people. Aristedes, who was sent to spy out the early Christians, wrote back to Caesar that “If one or the other of them have bondmen and bondwomen and children, through love towards them they persuade them to become Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren WITHOUT DISTINCTION” (from “The Apology of Aristedes the Philosopher,” emphasis mine). This equal treatment of slaves as brothers was radical — but is exactly what Paul was saying here in Galatians 3.
By saying there is not Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, Paul did NOt intend to obliterate ALL distinctions of reality. One can still appreciate their ethnic heritage, and we should still observe our scriptural distinctions between male and female — including accepting and appreciating our God-given gender, and the Biblical roles He has given to each in the New Testament. But what he is saying here is that just like with the Christians of the early church, in Christ Jesus there is NO DISTINCTION. No one should feel inferior before Christ because of their race, economic status, or gender. As :29 of this chapter says, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants.” You are a full heir of everything that God has for us in Christ. There is no such thing as a “second class Christian.”


About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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