There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
This text is sometimes seen as a charter of equality for all. We are all equal. Which is not what the text is saying. In its context, Paul is reminding us that when it comes to our entering the family of God by virtue of our trust in Jesus, these social distinctions don’t figure.
God doesn’t love males more than females, favour slaves over free people, embrace Jews and not Gentiles. Those social distinctions which figured so prominently in those times are not factors when it comes to salvation. So no boasting about your social status.
However, the popular notion that we are all equal is misleading. First, these distinctions noted here are still a reality. Salvation doesn’t obliterate them, it just renders them insignificant when it comes to getting right with God. Our ultimate identity is found in our belonging to Jesus Christ, not our social status.
Second, the claim that we are all equal is an overstatement. I am not equal to a brain surgeon in his area of expertise. I am not equal to an Olympics champion on the athletic field. Whenever we say that our opinions are equal to others, we are saying too much. Some opinions are weightier and wiser than others. And we do not all have equal rights. Prisoners don’t have the rights others have; children don’t have the rights adults have.
Such twisted ideas of equality result in pride and arrogance. Sadly, it may be that when we claim to be the equal of others, we are perhaps making a claim to be better than them.
Let’s be content with being equally valued and loved by God.