v.11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because "the righteous will live by faith."
All throughout history the church has had to fight the slide into legalism.
Today legalistic Christianity (those who insist on following laws, rules, regulations) has become the dominant face of Christianity in the United States. But where legalism abounds, love does not.
The Puritains took God's Word and turned it into a very strict set of regulations. All who strayed from the prescribed path were to be punished. No love there.
The Medieval church made Christianity a set of regulations that gave all power to the church government. The church became a way that the people were governed, not a way by which people heard the Gospel message. God's message of love was pushed away into the shadows.
Faith, however, is so simple. It is a gift from God. It might be just too simple and too abstract for many people. You have no power over people who come to God through faith. You can't exclude people if each person is saved through faith. You can't be superior to others if God's gift of grace is given to all freely through faith.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male AND female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
My NIV translation mistranslates "Male NOR female". I'm not one usually to quibble over small points, for if I do that, I often miss the main message, but this is interesting. I think God is making a point that there are only Jews or Greeks (gentiles), slaves or free, but there not exclusivly males OR females. There are those who belong to the body of Christ that blur the boundaries between the two genders. We are male AND female AND those who don't clearly fit into the two categories. And it makes no difference what we are, for we are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.