“26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” ~ Galatians 3:26-28
Christian Alienists commonly cite Galatians 3:28 as evidence that racial distinctions either no longer exist in the Christian era, or that they do not matter within the context of Christendom. But is this what the verse actually teaches? Vincent Cheung’s commentary on this passage indicates otherwise:
Believers are “all one in Christ Jesus” (v. 28) and are the sons of God (v. 26). In our context, this supercedes all natural distinctions between individuals, so that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.” The rampant misuse of this verse is partly due to a disregard for its context, which is spiritual, and concerns justification before God.
To paraphrase, Paul is saying, “When it comes to justification, and when it comes to being the children of Abraham and the sons of God, it does not matter whether you are Jew or non-Jew, slave or free, male or female. Before you come to Christ, one is not more disadvantaged than the other, for all are condemned according to the divine standard. When you come to Christ, one is not more welcomed than the other, for all must come through the faith that God gives. After you have come to Christ, one is not more privileged than the other, for all are sons of God in him.”
However, Paul is by no means saying, “Christ has abolished all racial differences, all class disparities, and all gender distinctions.” Although the verse has been used as if it says this, or almost as if it says this, it is far…far from what the verse teaches. It cannot be used, for example, to refute alleged differences in the intelligence, disposition, and physiology between races, classes, and genders. Whether these differences exist is a separate question – this verse does not affirm or refute them, since it does not address them at all.
Therefore, the verse cannot be used to refute racism, classism, and sexism outside of the context of this passage, unless where the relevance could be established by necessary inference from the verse. It cannot even be used as an appeal to non-Christians against racism, classism, and sexism, since the lack of distinction referred to here is based on the fact that believers are “all one in Christ Jesus.” But unbelievers are not in Christ Jesus, so that believers are not one with them. However, from this verse a legitimate appeal may be made for unbelievers to convert, to become believers, so that they may become one with all believers in Christ, where spiritually speaking, there is this basis to end racism, classism, and sexism.
Even among believers, many distinctions between these groups remain. For example, just because we are “all one in Christ Jesus” does not mean that it is appropriate for a man to walk into a women’s restroom in church, claiming that there is neither “male nor female” in Christ. Once we wrest the verse out of its context, one may no longer arbitrarily limit its usage. In fact, we may respond to someone who uses this verse out of its context that according to his usage, the problem that he is trying to address no longer exists.
That is, if in Christ there is neither male nor female in the sense that he understands it, that no gender distinction should remain, then the very idea of sexual discrimination also vanishes. If there is no sexual distinction, there can be no sexual discrimination, and this means that no one who uses the verse in this manner can say that there is such a thing as a victim of sexism. The person is discriminated against as an individual apart from his or her gender. Thus once the verse is used to address what it is not supposed to address, the problem that it is not supposed to address also disappears.
For more on this topic, please see this excellent post at Iron Ink:
…and this excellent post by Shotgun giving Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen’s commentary: