Why do some people claim to be "Jewish followers of Jesus"? Does maintaining ethnic or social distinctions contradict Galatians 3:28?
Since I’m Jewish, people have often asked me this question. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Why do I still say I’m Jewish even though I believe in Jesus?
The Bible does not teach that we become a mass of undifferentiated humanity when we believe in Jesus. In heaven “every nation, tribe, people and language” will worship before the throne of the Lamb (Rev. 7:9). Being Jewish is an ethnic identity, not merely religious practice, and faith in Jesus does not change a person’s ethnic identity. Further, the apostle Paul repeatedly identified himself as a Jew= (Acts 21:39; 22:3), a dishonest statement if his faith in Jesus meant he was no longer Jewish.
So, what does Paul mean? Paul is saying it doesn’t matter whether someone is Jewish or Gentile, a slave or free, a man or a woman when we trust in Jesus, we are justified by faith in exactly the same way and united in Christ spiritually. Even so, we remain distinctly Jewish, Irish, Italian, or French, or any other ethnicity, as much as we remain men and women.