Again I’m struck by the importance to Paul of the theme that in Christ the story of God’s faithfulness to Israel has now opened up to include the world.
He starts chapter 3 by setting out our shared decent from Abraham, the foundation of Israel’s identity and heritage. It’s hard to imagine how this would have sounded to Christians from a Jewish background in Paul’s day. Could they have heard this as an expression of the expansion of their national identity to include others, or as an abolition of what had always made them unique?
The chapter leads up to one of the most often quoted verses of Paul, often quoted for good reason.
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave nor free, there is no longer male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (3:28)
The abolition of barriers between people is not a secondary benefit of the gospel. For the Gentiles, the abolition of barriers is part of the foundation of the gospel, because we are invited into the history and shared life of Israel.