Religious life was different “before faith came”. Why did the coming of Christ make such a difference? One answer is that there is now a human being who can call the Creator of heaven and earth “Father” and it’s more than a way to address a kindly authority figure. There is a deep, intimate relationship between God and this Jewish man and a family likeness that truly warrants the use of the terms “father” and “son”.
And that’s not all because faith unites us with this anointed King. All who belong to Christ are “children of God through faith” – brought into that same relationship and in the process of being transformed to become more like Christ, reflecting a family likeness with God.
Baptism is like a new set of clothes which signals our new identity. Putting on these clothes by faith, we can now call God “Father” even if we do not yet experience the intimacy which warrants this term and even if there is as yet little family likeness. We can do so because we belong to Christ and in him is found both intimacy and family likeness. Of course we hope to be growing into these clothes.
With that new relationship to God comes a new relationship to others across society and history, see Thoughts on Galatians #8.