Galatians 3:27

Liberated from the tutelage of Law through faith and on account of his union with Christ, the Christian is exalted into the condition of a free son of God and enjoys the large privileges of sonship.

I. THE CONDITION OF SONSHIP. God is the Father of all mankind, and all human creatures, even the most ignorant, the most degraded, and the most vicious are naturally God's children. The prodigal son is still a son and can think of "my father." Nevertheless, it is clear that St. Paul often speaks of a sonship that does not belong to all men - a sonship which is the Christian's peculiar condition and is not even shared. by the Jew, a sonship which is not enjoyed by natural birth, but must be received by adoption, i.e. by a special act of Divine grace. What does this mean?

1. Near relationship with God. The son is most closely related to his father. But the disobedient child who forsakes his home is practically dead, for him practically the old relation is severed. It needs to be restored if he is to enjoy it again. The son, too, with St. Paul is not the young child in the nursery, but the older child admitted into the society of his father. The Jew was kept in the nursery separated from God by a "mediator" (ver. 19) and a "tutor" (ver. 24). The Christian is admitted into close fellowship with God.

2. Liberty. This is an idea always associated with St. Paul's description of sonship. The son is no longer the child "under guardians and stewards," who "differeth nothing from a bond-servant." He is a free man enjoying the confidence of his father. Such are Christians; to them the mind and will of God are revealed; they are free from restraints of formal Law; they are put in positions of trust.


1. Through rattle. This is an important point in the apostle's argument. So long as we have not faith we remain in tutelage and at a distance from God. Faith breaks the yoke and brings us into the presence of God. Faith teaches us to realize that God is our Father and to trust him fearlessly, and so to take the position of sons.

2. By union with Christ. Christ is the Son of God. Yet he is not desirous of keeping his privileges to himself. On the contrary, he laboured and suffered that his people might share them. The baptized, that is to say, all of the Galatian people who accepted Christianity as a religion, had happily gone further and really entered into the spirit of it. They had since backslidden, but they were no hypocrites. Living Christianity is "putting on Christ," being clothed with the spirit of Christ. They who do this through faith in Christ become one with him, and, as his brethren, become sons of his Father.


1. Universal brotherhood. We are all one "in Christ Jesus." Here is the secret. The fraternity that sprang from the mere enthusiasm of philosophic philanthropy led to the guillotine. It is only union in Christ that secures true lasting union among men. As all colours melt into one common brilliancy under the rays of a very strong light, all distinctions vanish when Christ's presence is deeply felt.

(1) National distinctions vanish. The old antagonism of Jew and Gentile disappears. Christianity now tends to blend nations.

(2) Social distinctions vanish. Slaves are free in Christ. Free men are servants to Christ. The gospel is the enemy of all caste-feeling.

(3) Even distinctions of sex count for nothing. This meant much in ancient times, when cruel injustice was done to women. Women are under eternal obligations to the gospel, which has freed them from an unworthy bondage and given them their true place in the world.

2. The inheritance of ancient promises. The son of a king is an heir. What shall be the inheritance of a Son of God? To him it is said, "All things are yours." The Jew cherished the promises as a hope. The Christian enjoys the fulfilment of the promises. As yet the fulfilment is but partial, though enough to be an earnest of better things to come for those sons of God who are being made "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." - W.F.A.

Have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
I. THE CLOTHING is twofold.

1. The putting on of a garment. This is also twofold.(1) To take the outward name and profession. 'This doth no good (Haggai 1:6). It may be done to delude others, but God cannot be deluded. He will take off the garment of the hypocrite, and expose him to open shame. For this is an affront to Christ to put on an outward Christianity till noon, and be libertines after. If thou shouldst wear the prince's livery in scantier proportions or coarser stuff than belongs to thy place, will he accept thee? No more will Christ.(2) To put on His righteousness by imitation and conformity. We must put off our old clothes and appear naked before God, then we come to our transfiguration (Romans 4:4).

2. The putting on of a person.(1) We are not to put on Christ as a livery nor as a coin the image of a king.(2) But as a son doth his father in whom the same nature doth reside.(3) Then shall we so appear before God, as that he shall take us for His own Christ; we shall bear His name and person.(4) We shall every one be so accepted as if every one of us were all mankind, yea, as if we were He Himself.

II. ITS COMPLETENESS. AS the garment Christ wore was seamless and entire, so this garment, Christ Jesus our sanctification, must cover us all over, and go through our whole life in a constant, even perseverance. We must not only be hospitable and feed the poor at Christmas; be sober and abstinent the day we receive the sacrament; repent and think of amendment in the day of sickness. No man may take the frame of Christ's merit in pieces. He that puts on Christ must put Him on all; and not only find that Christ hath died, nor that He hath died for him, but that he also hath died in Christ.



1. Most beautiful.

2. Most costly.

3. Most rare.

(1)In its purity.

(2)In its capacity.

(3)In its importance.

4. Most durable.


1. Possible

(1)from the character of the vesture Christ's an universal character — "the Man";

(2)from the nature of the investiture: the assimilation of Christ's character.

2. Necessary

(1)for protection,

(2)for adornment.

3. Accomplished by




III. THE INVESTED will have —

1. Comfort in trial.

2. Invincibility in temptation.

3. Confidence in the hour of death and day of judgment.

4. Completeness of joy in this life and in that which is to come.

A child is to be baptized on a given day; but when that day arrives the child is unwell, and the ceremony must be postponed another week or month. Again a delay takes place — the day is damp or cold. At last the time arrives; the service is read; it may require, if read slowly, five minutes more than ordinarily. Then and there, when that ceremony is slowly accomplished, the mystery is achieved. And all this time, while the child is ill, while the weather is bad, while the reader procrastinates — I say it solemnly — the Eternal Spirit who rules the universe, must wait patiently, and come down, obedient to a mortal's spell, at the very second that it suits his convenience. God must wait attendance on the caprice of a careless parent, ten thousand accidents, nay the leisure of an indolent or an immoral priest. Will you dare insult the Majesty on high by such a mockery as this result.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

The Spanish. converts in Mexico remembered not anything of the promise and profession they made in baptism, save only their names, which many times they also forgot; and in the kingdom of Congo, in Africa, the Portuguese, at their first arrival, finding the people to be heathens, induced them to be baptized in great abundance, allowing the principles of Christianity till such times as the priests pressed them to lead lives according to their profession, which the most part of them in no case enduring, returned again to their Gentilism. Such renegades are to be found in the midst of us this day, such as give themselves up to Christ in profession; but, when it comes to a holy life, they leave him in the open field, forsaking their colours, renouncing their baptism, and running away to the enemy.


The putting on of Christ, according to the gospel, consists not in imitation merely, but in a new birth and a new creation; that is to say, in putting on Christ's innocency, His righteousness, His wisdom, His power, His saving health, His life, and His Spirit. We are clothed with the leather coat of Adam, which is a mortal garment, and a garment of sin; that is to say, we are all subject unto sin, all sold under sin. There is in us horrible blindness, ignorance, contempt, and hatred of God; moreover, evil concupiscence, uncleanness, covetousness, etc. This garment, that is to say, this corrupt and sinful nature, we received from Adam, which Paul is wont to call "the old man." This old man must be put off with all his works (Ephesians 4:22), that of the children of Adam we may be made the children of God. This is not done by changing of a garment, or by any law or works, but by a new birth, and by the renewing of the inward man, which is done in baptism (Titus 3:5). For, besides that they which are baptized are regenerate and renewed by the Holy Ghost to a heavenly righteousness and to eternal life, there riseth in them also a new light and a new flame; there rise in them new and holy affections, as the fear of God, true faith and assured hope, etc.; there beginneth in them also a new will. This is to put on Christ truly. To be apparelled with Christ is not to be apparelled with the law nor with works, but with an incomparable gift; that is to say, with remission of sins, righteousness, peace, consolation, joy of spirit, salvation, life, and Christ Himself. This is diligently to be noted, because of the fond and fantastical spirits which go about to deface the Majesty of baptism, and speak wickedly of it. Paul contrariwise commendeth it, and setteth it forth with honourable titles.


This verse introduces us to some of the very central and most sacred doctrines of the gospel. It tells us what our condition is, — we who have been baptized into Christ; — and, telling us what our condition is, it opens to us so wide and wonderful a view of the duties, burthens, hopes, and helps that belong to that condition, as may well astonish us, and fill us with fear and trembling, with fearful hope, and with trembling joy. I need not linger much in explaining the first words of the verse of the text, "as many of you as have been baptized"; however many of the Galatians St. Paul may have comprehended under this description, there is no question that it comprehends all of us. We have all been baptized, have all been carried, in the faith of the Church, represented by our godfathers and godmothers, to the life-giving font, and have received the promises of God made to us in that sacrament. Again, he says, "have been baptized into Christ." On this point, too, there is no need to dwell at present; suffice it for the present purpose to say, that to be baptized into Christ signifies(1) to be baptized into the body of Christ; to be made by baptism a member of that sacred immortal body, whose head is the Lord in heaven, and whose bond of life and union is the blessed Spirit of God; and(2) to be baptized into the Holy Trinity, into that name, into that belief and profession, into that holy keeping, and into that mysterious communion. These points I will not enlarge upon at present; I will rather assume that we are acquainted with all the great things which are signified by the expression, "being baptized into Christ"; and, turning your attention to the remaining words, consider how it is said, that they who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.

1. First, then, we may regard the words as metaphorical, and understand them to mean, that we have put on, or assumed, the Christian profession of belief, or the Christian character, or the Christian duties, or the Christian hopes. "Consider, therefore," we may suppose the apostle to go on, "how far your life really tallies with all this great profession which you have made."

2. But this is not enough To interpret words like these merely metaphorically, is to interpret them very inadequately. To put on Christ can hardly be a less real phrase than to be baptized into Christ, or to be in Christ; and these phrases, as we know from many parts of Holy Scripture, express the wonderful and mysterious connexion which subsists between baptized men and their Redeemer, whereby they are living stones of a spiritual house or temple; living members of a sacred spiritual body; living branches of a holy spiritual vine; partakers of the death, and so of the life of Christ; already immortal in estate; and in right, title, and privilege, already assured of everlasting bliss, unless they forfeit it by impenitent and unholy living. To put on Christ seems to be correlative to being in Christ; it is the duty, while the other is the privilege. God has, of His great mercy, put us in Christ, made us to be baptized into Christ; — now let us pray for His Spirit, and work with His Spirit, and yield ourselves up to His Spirit, that we may put on Christ. In our baptisms we were planted into Christ, into His body, which is the Church; and there took place, by God's Divine power, the birth of the Spirit in our hearts, — the germinating of the little seed of Divine, spiritual life, the kindling of the little spark of holy immortal fire, which, unless it be smothered by sin unrepented, should be our earnest, and inalienable title to glory and salvation. This was the great baptismal blessing. But there is something else after this. Then Christ has to be formed in us. Then our own souls, in which, even after baptism, the infection of nature remaineth, have to grow up in Christ's likeness, to grow to the stature of a perfect man in Christ. to become filled with the fulness of God. This is the work of our life after baptism; this is the reason why we live so many years after baptism; this is the reason why baptism is early, and death often late, why baptism is not the end, but the beginning of our lives. Our life after baptism should not be a falling back, but a rising and growing; not a declension from baptismal innocence, but a strengthening in Christ-like virtues. Herein then is the precise duty, stated in the lofty and mysterious terms of Holy Scripture, which we are living now to discharge; the putting on Christ, — the forming of Christ in our own separate souls, the growing up to the "perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." For this cause, our bodies grow from the infant feebleness in which they received the regenerating washing of holy baptism, through their vigorous and lively youth, to the confirmed strength of manhood; for this cause, our minds naturally widen and grow strong, our imaginations vivid and inventive, our thought strong and deep, our memory firm and tenacious, and our judgment considerate and sound; for this cause, we are placed under training and discipline; for this cause, God has given us kind and loving friends; for this cause He allows us to see and know, in the examples of others, the aspect of sin, and the aspect of obedience, that we may be the rather helped to right, and deterred from wrong, by learning to love and hate them respectively, when exhibited in others; for this cause, He sends us joy or sorrow, takes us from those we love, or takes those we love from us; for this cause, He allows the various events of life to go on in their tangled, inscrutable order, trying us, testing us, proving us in ten thousand ways st every time; for this cause, He gives us His Holy Spirit, bids us pray, sets hopes and bright encouragements before us, leaves us alone, yet not alone, for He is with us, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. For this cause, that, being in Christ by baptism, we may by degrees put on Christ; that we may copy Him, pray to Him, represent Him, love to be near Him, love His house, His people, His little ones; that we may believe in Him, have the thought of Him ever before our minds, read of Him, talk of Him, love His words; that we may think who and how great He is, ascend with Him, love to retire from other thoughts to be with Him, love His Church the place where His honour dwelleth, love His sacraments wherein He is nearest, His baptism wherein He giveth Himself first, His blessed Communion wherein He permits us more and more to be one with Him, to be of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. The Christian estate is glory, it is liberty, it is royal, it is priestly; nothing is too high for it, as the apostle sees it. A baptized Christian is reborn of the Spirit, sits in heavenly places, is companion of angels, has his citizenship in heaven, has his life in Christ. Living on in the flesh, he grows in grace, puts on Christ, Christ is formed in him, he grows to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. No; we must not lower our teaching, or our holding, below the lofty but most real sayings, the wonderful words, but words of most faithful truth and soberness, in which the inspired apostles have been taught to speak them. No; we must raise our lives. We must not speak lower, but we must live higher. The labour and the struggle is, to bring these high truths into the very midst of our daily lives and habits, to remember them when we lie down, and when we rise up, to remember them in our work and our play; to remember them and act upon them all through that endless diversity of little things, which, defying statement or description, make up our weekly, daily, and hourly lives. If your life be destined to be spent in the midst of secular business, let it accompany you, and your secular business will become sanctified to you; if you are hereafter to minister in the sanctuary, let it go with you to the sanctuary, and it will waken up a deeper devotion; if you are to remain among the homes of your fathers, or to do God's service in distant lands, wheresoever you be, and howsoever occupied, let the remembrance of this thought, the formation of Christ within you, the growing up to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, be, by God's grace, never absent from your Christian minds!

(Bishop Moberly.)

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