“For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male or female, for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26-28).
Three times, in as many verses, the English preposition “for” is found. In each instance the word is the same Greek word gar which means “verily, therefore.” There are many different Greek words translated into our English word “for;” perhaps the most notable ones are the gar of this text and the eis of Acts 2:38: “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for (eis) the remission of sins.” This latter verse has given no end of argument to those who teach that baptism has nothing to do with salvation; that one is saved at the point of faith before and without water baptism. The common “explanation” is to quote the verse thus: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ because your sins have been remitted.” The problem with this explanation is that “for” in Acts 2:38 is eis and means “in the direction of, toward, in order to.” The Greek word eis does not carry the meaning “because of.” The ASV gives the proper sense of eis for in that translation the passage reads, “repent ye, and be ye baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins.” One is baptized in order to be saved, not “because one is saved already” as Baptist and all Calvinist teachers contend. However, in the test in Galatians 3:26-28, the preposition “for” does mean “because of.” Thus, three times an explanation is made based upon an early statement or one immediately following. The first statement, “For (because) ye are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” The verse immediately preceding it reads, “So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith is come we are no longer under a tutor” (Gal. 3:24). The apostle states the purpose of the law: “to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith,” We are not sons of God through the law (as Judaizing teachers insisted). The purpose of the law has been fulfilled. It was to bring us to Christ. Christ is here. The tutor (the law) is gone.
The second “for” in our text reads, “for as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.” Once more the apostle assigns purpose or reason. Why were these Galatian Christians “sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus?” Verse 27 is explanation of how that occurred. As many of them as were baptized in Christ did “put on Christ.” The apostle clearly shows that baptism comes before salvation; that baptism is the means through which we become sons of God, through faith. We are baptized “into” Christ, thereby “putting on” Christ.
It is hard to fathom how one could “explain” that baptism has no part in salvation in light of these words from Paul. All people with any reasoning ability at all, realize that if one is “out of” Christ he is lost; that one must “be in” Christ to be saved for salvation is in Christ (2 Tim. 2:10). Since one must be in Christ to be saved and baptism is the act which puts one into Him, then most assuredly, baptism is essential if one desires to be saved.
The third “for” in our text shows the quality of all who are in Christ. There are no differences between Jew and Greek, bond and free; male and female: we are one man in Christ. The apostle thus concludes: “And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29).