Sermon: The Ground Is Level at the Foot of the Cross
By David O. Dykes
Saturday, January 05, 2013
Galatians 3:26-29Galatians is written to a group of Christians who were straying from grace. They replaced grace with keeping rules. We need laws and rules. I'm glad we have the law of gravity, or we'd all fly off into space. Of course, we need speed limit laws for public safety.I can only imagine some of the excuses policemen have heard when they pull people over for speeding. One of my Alabama friends was a state trooper, and his favorite story was about the time he pulled over a sweet little lady. He said, "Ma'am, did you know you were going 65 miles an hour?" She said, "That's ridiculous, Sonny, I haven't even been GONE an hour!" He laughed so hard that he only gave her a warning.Mahatma Gandhi is considered the father of modern India. His birthday, Oct. 2, is a national holiday in the second-most populated nation on Earth. In 1891, after graduating law school in London, he moved to South Africa to practice law. The racial system of apartheid was strictly observed in South Africa.Gandhi was fascinated with truth and studied the Bible along with other religious texts. He loved the Sermon on the Mount and seriously considered becoming a Christian. One Sunday, he decided to visit a church in South Africa. Gandhi's skin was light brown; as he entered the church, a South African man said with a belligerent tone, "Where do you think you're going kaffir?" (Kaffir is a racial slur similar to nigger.)Gandhi replied, "I'd like to attend worship here." The man said, "There's no room for kaffirs here. Get out of here, or I'll have some of my men throw you down the steps." Gandhi never seriously considered becoming a Christian again. This incident might have been one reason he later would utter the famous quote: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."Who knows what India would have been like today if Gandhi had been welcomed into church that day and given his life to Christ? We'll never know. Gandhi rejected Christ because of the discriminatory practices of Christians in South Africa; but before we're too harsh toward them, I wonder how much damage has been done right here in America—especially in the South—by Christians who never came to understand this revolutionary truth from the Bible: "The ground is level at the foot of the cross."Galatians 3:26-29: "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."A few verses earlier, Paul recounted an incident that happened at the church in Antioch. The church in Antioch was comprised of Jews and Gentiles. One day, Simon Peter visited Antioch from Jerusalem; although he was a Jew, he ate with Gentiles and enjoyed a few pork chops. However, when some Jewish Christians from the church in Jerusalem visited, Peter changed his tune. Suddenly he refused to eat with lowly Gentiles, and he enforced the dietary laws of the Old Testament. Paul confronted Peter to his face—both faces. Then Paul devoted the rest of this letter reminding the recipients that salvation is by grace alone.
The Old Testament gave favored status to the Jews and considered Gentiles unclean, but the New Testament teaches that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Let's learn three truths from this powerful passage.