Devotion: Monday, June 24, 2019

Welcome to “Word from the Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Galatians 3:26-29, where the Bible says,   

So, in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.


I’ve been reading a lot about “identity politics” recently, and it seems, in my mind, to be ruling the political process today. What is “identity politics?” I like the definition that came from an article I was reading called, “Identity Politics Death Grip” where the author said:

Normal politics presumes that we can rise far enough above our small-group attributes—our race, class, gender, ethnicity, religion—and that we can arrive at a political arrangement that works well enough for us to live together as part of a larger polity until the next election, when we commence the process again…..Identity politics rejects the model of traditional give-and-take politics, presupposing instead that the most important thing about us is that we are white, black, male, female, straight, gay, and so on. Within the identity-politics world, we do not need to give reasons—identity is its own reason and justification.[1]

At this point, you might be saying, “Hey Pastor, I thought this was a devotion and not an article on politics.” And you’d be right. What we learn in the Bible—helpful to our politics—is that there are things that bond us together as human beings, things bigger than merely our blood lines or tribal affiliations or sexual behaviors. Such things can help us live civilly and humanely with people, even those with whom we disagree (see, for example the political notion that one’s individual rights and dignity emanate from the assertion that all of us are created in the image of God, identified and accountable to Him). That unity can be a blessing, fractured though it may still be.

This devotional thought is about a gift much greater than that. In our lesson for today, we see the kind of unity that we really need, a unity that binds our hearts together. Such a blessing is something that only God can give to sinful humanity. And the good news is that He has done that by sending Christ to die for us so that we might live IN CHRIST for others. That’s the only bond that lasts. That’s the only bond that can endure when we hurt each other out of ignorance or fear or insecurity. That’s the only bond that can call us to repentance towards Him, as well as obedience and faithfulness, not for our own stature or status, but for our neighbor, be they friend or foe.

As reflected in our text, the dividing line between Jew and Gentile in the first century world was great. To overcome that divide, it took the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. He made real “oneness” possible again for them, as well as for you and me (see Ephesians 2:11-22). We go to church to receive the blessing of that work. And we go to church to proclaim that there is a way where every tribe and nation can be part of one family. It’s when we are stationed around the throne of the grace of God in Jesus Christ. That’s the only identity that holds, and it will do so forever (see Revelation 7:9-10).

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help us to see the uniqueness of being identified as Your sons and daughters. Give us wisdom to see that blessing not as something to be hoarded, but to be shared with all those whom You send into our lives. AMEN.