All One in Christ Jesus
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:28 (NIV)
The very first female Cabinet minister in the UK, Margaret Bondfield, was appointed Minister of Labour in 1929. However, this recognition of the value of women did not extend to the Ministry’s own staff. The Civil Service staff code of 1927 stated that: “Certain persons are regarded as definitely ineligible for appointment as Branch Manager: relieving officers [An official appointed by a parish or union to administer relief to the poor], moneylenders, women (save in very exceptional circumstances and when no suitable man is available)” It would be another 50 years before a woman became Prime Minister, and in the 20 plus years since she left office there hasn’t been another.
The role of woman is not just a 21st century issue. At the time of Christ women were not allowed to testify in court trials, had limited access to the worship and teaching of God, and were regarded as second class citizens.
Incredibly, Jesus, unlike the men of his generation and the prevailing culture, taught that women were equal to men in the sight of God. He extended honour and respect to all women; they, as well as men, could be among his personal followers. Women could receive grace and forgiveness too. These were revolutionary ideas. Many of his contemporaries, including his disciples, were shocked.
One of the greatest privileges afforded to women in the New Testament is that they were the first to witness the resurrection of Jesus and were given the role of telling the disciples. Not allowed to testify in court, yet they were entrusted with testifying about the greatest event in all history. A key Christian message is that men and women stand equal in the presence of God and are joint heirs of the gracious gift of life (1 Peter 3:7).
Even though there are many parts of the world where women are still treated as second class citizens, and even though there remains some inequality in our ‘politically correct’ country, the Christian church should be a place of safety, honour and respect for women where they are treated as equals alongside men.
Let’s celebrate and rejoice in the fact that in God’s eyes there is no spiritual distinction between men and women; we are all one in Christ Jesus.
Father, thank you that we are all included in Christ no matter what our race, nationality, age, occupation or gender. May the Christian church respect and value all people and be a safe-haven in which women can thrive and grow.
Study by Barry Robinson
Worldwide Church of God London
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
Local Congregational Contact:
Phone: 020 8202 3998