These verses pair groupings or concepts that separate people and keep them divided and sometimes at war with each other. Paul shows racial differences (Greek and Jew); religious differences (circumcised and uncircumcised); cultural differences (barbarian and Scythian); social differences (slave and free); and finally sexual difference (male and female).
These are in no way all the differences that divide humanity, but they give enough of a representation for God to make His point. He makes it clear that we cannot be united to Him and separated from our brother at the same time. To do something for or against a brother is to do it to Christ (Matthew 25:31-46). Because we, as brethren, are "in" Christ and He "in" us, we are one organism. John says if a man does not love his brother, he does not love God (I John 4:20)! This is serious business. We must be one with both.
The person who is truly converted is motivated, guided, inspired, led by, yielding to, and empowered by the radiant energy flowing from Christ, who lives and works in Him. It is almost as if Christ and His converted brethren are driven together because they share the same nature.
John W. Ritenbaugh
All in All
God initially installs the new man, and it is our responsibility to nourish him. It is clear from various scriptures that he is manifested in our conduct, that he is reconciled to God and man, that he is circumcised of heart, that he is connected with the New Covenant, and finally, that adopting him is a matter of choice on our part.
But, what or who is the new man?
The best way to answer this is to answer yet another question: When does God create the new man in us? Paul answers the question in Galatians 3:27: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." He uses the verb enduo, "to put on." Its literal meaning is "to sink into." We sink into Christ when we are baptized. That is when we first clothe ourselves with the new man, or to put it a little bit more accurately, that is when God first establishes him within us.
Paul is clearly describing the new man in Galatians 3:27, and he connects the putting on of Christ with reconciliation. The new man is, by definition, reconciled with God and with man. Paul immediately follows his statement that the baptized person has put on Christ (verse 27) with a statement about reconciliation (verse 28): "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Note the similarity of Paul's terminology and approach with Colossians 3:9-11, where he admonishes us "to put on the new man." Paul also immediately follows this statement with a discussion of reconciliation: "There is neither Greek nor Jew, . . . slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all."
Now we can see how Galatians 3:27 answers these two questions:
1. We put on—sink into—the new man when we are baptized.
2. We put on Christ.
This means Jesus Christ is the new man.
The new man conducts himself according to God's Word, walking according to His law. With this in mind, notice Romans 13:12-14, where Paul tells us how we should walk—we who have put on Christ, the new man: "Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, . . . not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ."
This only emphasizes our conclusion: The new man "is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27)! "The second Man, . . . the Lord from heaven" (I Corinthians 15:47) is the new man!
Choosing the New Man (Part Three)
True Christians exhibit the faith and righteousness of Abraham. God considers them to be the patriarch's spiritual descendants regardless of their race or sex. Consequently, they will inherit the same promises made to Abraham.
Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Basic Doctrines: The Reward of the Saved
For those who have been called by God and have properly responded, social distinctions - whether national/racial, conditional/financial, or gender - recede, even disappear. The unifying element is the righteousness of Christ, which the Christian puts on and begins to emulate. Romans 10:12 points out that after justification, we have the same Lord and Master, and He is rich in His gifts (grace, mercy, talents, blessings, etc.) to all.
A unity comes with God's calling and justification. We are united in our need for a Savior. We are united in our acceptance of His blood for the remission of our sins. We are united through common experience: We all recognize that the only reason we have physical or spiritual life is because of God's grace and mercy. We are united in our receipt of God's gifts, when all we have earned is death.
When we recognize that the playing field has been completely leveled, and that we all had/have a debt impossible to pay, there is no room for boasting. There are different roles and responsibilities, because God gives His gifts as He sees fit and some people receive more talents than others. But no Christian is inherently better than another.
See also Romans 10:12; I Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 3:11.
David C. Grabbe
In making the New Covenant—once we have proceeded through the process of repentance and baptism and have received God's Spirit, which baptizes us into Christ—we are then Abraham's children. We become Abraham's descendants regardless of race or national origin. We become, therefore, part of the one Family into which God is drawing all of mankind, and we become heirs of the promises made to Abraham as part of the Abrahamic Covenant. All the Old Covenant did was bridge the gap from the time the Israelites were released from their bondage until the promised Seed came.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 27)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Galatians 3:28:
1 Corinthians 16:1-3
1 Corinthians 16:13-14