There is neither male nor female (Galatians 3:28)?

In Galatians 3:28, Paul makes a startling statement: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (NKJV). The emphasis of this passage is that believers are one in Christ. When we are saved, we are all equal in Christ. No matter our race, status, or sex, we all stand on the same footing in Christ.

This passage is not altering or removing male and female distinctions, nor can it be used to invalidate gender roles in the church. “Neither male nor female” solely refers to the matter at hand: salvation. In the previous verse, Paul says, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith” (Galatians 3:27, emphasis added). In verse 29, the same message is reiterated: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). The context makes it clear that “neither male nor female” refers to our salvation status. All people, whether male or female, must be saved the same way, through faith in Christ, and once they are saved, they have the same rights and privileges of salvation, being equal members of the family of God.

Genesis 1:27 tells us that “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Clearly, God had purpose in creating human beings as either male or female, and both were created in His image. Jesus reaffirms this distinction (Matthew 19:4), and the New Testament spends a good amount of space describing male and female roles in the church, in the family, and in society (Ephesians 5:21—6:9Colossians 3:18—4:1). Saying that there is “neither male nor female” does not mean that there are no differences between the two sexes or that there are not different roles. The distinctions between men and women remain, but once we are saved, our individual differences are not what define us. Our unity in Christ removes all favoritism and bias in the church. In the matter of salvation, the playing field has been leveled, and we are all on equal footing.

Political, societal, and cultural norms will change, but men and women are equally valuable in God’s eyes and able to be saved. There are differences between Jews and Greeks, yet “both are reconciled to God through the cross” and “both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:16–17). The same is true with males and females. Both men and women are equally sinners in need of Christ’s salvation. Neither male nor female has any advantage or preference in salvation on the basis of his or her gender, and both men and women have the same right to the ordinances of the church, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and to every spiritual blessing (John 1:12Romans 8:17Ephesians 2:19).

The statement “there is neither male nor female” reveals our equal value in the eyes of God. It reminds us that our differences are united in Christ. It brings us together as the family of God and compels us to treat each other as brothers and sisters. Since all Christians are in Christ, all of us are one.

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