Does Galatians 3:27 Teach Baptismal Regeneration? Context will Determine It.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3: 26 – 27, ESV).


Baptismal regenerationists love to read water baptism into the text whenever the words “water,” “baptism,” or “wash”  are seen in a passage to teach one must be baptized in order to be saved. This passage is one a Church of Christ minister used in his defense of baptismal regeneration. In my discussion, along with Justin Pierce, with this pastor on Apologetics Live, he said one has to be baptized with the intent of being saved in order to be saved.[1] He makes water the element God uses for salvation.[2]

As we will see below, it is ironic he used Galatians to support his belief in baptismal regeneration. Hermeneutics, the science and art of biblical interpretation, is all about reading a passage in context. The interpreter does not get to cherry pick a verse and use it however he or she wants. When dealing with a hard-to-understand passage, one must look at what the passage says in the immediate, surrounding, and book contexts. We will do just that below.

What the Passage Says

The text Norm Fields gives says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3: 26-27, ESV). The first thing to look at is Paul uses the word “for.” This means it is explaining or illustrating a previous argument.

The second thing is Paul says his readers are “all sons of God” (v. 26a). The context will shed more light on this, but, it seems Paul is saying here that all his readers are saved. The means by which his readers are “sons of God” is though “faith,” not “baptism” (v. 26b). The word “faith” in this context means, “the state of believing of the basis of the reliability of one trusted, trust, confidence, faith.”[3] The word “faith” is an objective genitive in the Greek. It is preceded by a preposition of means, “through”, “δια”. The being verb “are,” makes the state of his readers “being sons of God” through means of “faith.” Paul’s readers are not sons of God by any ritual but through faith in Jesus Christ.

The third thing is the baptism Paul is talking about here is not necessarily water baptism. The word baptism means to “dip, immerse, or plunge.”[4] Water baptism is a possible meaning. Yet, the qualifying element mentioned is “in Christ.” This could easily refer to putting on Christ in faith. John MacArthur explains,

What does it mean to be baptized? It’s not talking about water baptism, just the word immersion. It’s used here in a dry sense. “You were immersed into Christ,” like Romans chapter 6 – and I know you’re probably familiar with that…. So Paul the apostle is saying, “Look, by faith you became sons of God with all the rights and privileges.” By faith you have been clothed with Christ, His robes for mine. “Jesus Thy blood and righteousness, my beauty are, my glorious dress.”[5]

As we will see, this interpretation is consistent with the immediate context and the context of Galatians.

Immediate Context

Paul just gave and illustration showing the Law was an imprisoner, holding everything under sin, and a tutor who was our guardian until we could receive and inheritance till Christ came (Galatians 3: 23 – 24a). When Christ came, we would be justified by faith (v. 24b). When faith came, we did not need a guardian any longer (v. 25). The historical context gives the idea of an old slave escorting a child to and from school.[6] He brings his illustration to a close by saying we “are all sons of God by [through] faith in Christ” (v. 26 ESV, bracketed word emphasis mine).

He closes with whatever made a believer distinct before Christ is absorbed into Christ when he or she becomes a “son of God” (v. 28). Since all who have put on Christ are in Christ, they are descendants of Abraham and receive the inheritance of promise (vv. 27, 29).

Context of Galatians

Paul is writing to the churches in the region of Galatia (1:1-2). The reason for his writing is the church is being tempted to abandon the gospel of grace through faith (1:6). Anyone who preaches a different gospel other than grace through with is accursed (1:7-9).

Paul begins his letter with recounting how God saved him and called him as an apostle to the Gentiles (vv. 11-24). He tells of his visit to Jerusalem after faithfully preaching the gospel for fourteen years and how the brothers recognized he was an apostle to the Gentiles (2:1-10). Then he tells how he opposed Peter for giving in to social pressures from Judaizers not to eat with his brothers who were Gentiles (2:11-14). He continues his argument to show that even though they were Jews who had lived according to the Law, they were not saved by the law, but by Jesus Christ (vv. 15-21).

Throughout the letter, Paul uses illustrations of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar to show salvation is by grace through faith and not by works (3 -4). Paul warns his readers who are not circumcised to receive circumcision to be saved (5:1-2). Only faith in Jesus Christ saves, anyone who seeks to do otherwise through the Law will have no benefit, and he wishes those who teach otherwise would make themselves eunuchs (vv. 3-12).  He wants his readers to follow the spirit of the law, do good, and grow in the fruit of the spirit not of the flesh (vv. 13-25).


This is more than enough evidence to show that this passage teaches salvation and adoption is through faith alone. If anyone adds to or takes away from the gospel, they are preaching a different gospel. Those who preach a different gospel are living under a curse.

Our hope is that those who teach a different gospel will repent of their sin and be saved. We do not like wagging our fingers with those who disagree with us. We are rather warning them of their error and their state before God. Please pray for those who have the wrong gospel. There is no salvation in another gospel or in another name. The apostle Paul could nave not said it better, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3: 26-27, ESV).

If you want to dive deeper in your understanding in biblical interpretation, check out the resources section at There are tons of biblical resources to help you grow in your faith. Lord bless you.

[1] Justin Pierce, Josiah Nichols, and Norm Fields, “Church of Christ Revisited”, Accessed February 12, 2022,

[2] Ibid.

[3] Frederick William Danker, A Greek – English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Third edition, (Chicago, Illinois, Chicago University Press, 2000). 818 – 819

[4] Ibid. 164-165.

[5] John MacArthur, “Deliverance from Bondage to the Law,” Grace To You,  October 22, 2017, Accessed March 31, 2022,

[6] R. Alan Cole, Galatians: An Introduction and Commentary, Volume 9 of the Tyndale Commentary Series, (Downers Grove, Illinois, IVP Academic, 1989). 153.

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