I am defined in many ways: American, Texan, Lutheran, pastor, spouse, grandfather, Anglo, grandfather, male. We could each go on with an ever growing long list. Paul is telling the Galatians that he understands something about all of the labels that we carry. When the Galatians hear the "no longer" repeated four times in this short passage, they know that the labels do not just fall away and disappear. Paul lays upon them the ultimate labels that do really matter, "child of God, belong to Christ, heirs of promise."
Our challenge day by day is to let the major defining word of who I am be "child of God." In order for that to happen, I need to look beyond all the labels I personally place on those around me, the ones whom I contact every day. The old labels that come so readily to my mind must fade to the background. I have to see others as children of God and heirs of the promise. Only then can I live into God's label on me.
God, let the labels fade to the background so that we can accept the heirship in our own hearts and simultaneously open our hearts to others. Amen.
Galatians 3:23-29 (NRSV)
23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed.
24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.
25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian,
26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.
27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.