What would it take someone to make it to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame? Removing the eligibility of executives and management, we could safely say that every person in the baseball hall of fame must have played. No one would make it if they didn’t play.
But would playing in and of itself cause someone to be enshrined? No. There are a lot of players that do not get into the Hall of Fame. In fact, according to baseballhall.org, there have been roughly 19,000 players to step onto an MLB diamond, but only 235 have made it to the Hall.
To make it into the hall of fame, the players must have specific qualities and attributes to their playing. They must have a specific skill level. They must have a certain type of dedication. They must have a career that spans enough time. There are a number of other specific things that a hall of fame player must have in their resume.
But the player must be playing in the MLB as well. They are not going to enter the baseball hall of fame by playing football. They have to be playing baseball. But not only that, they have to be playing baseball in the Majors.
Just playing in the MLB at a high level for a long time isn’t going to get you into the hall either. Barry Bonds is arguably the best hitter of all time. His career spanned 22 years. He holds the record for single season home runs (73), home runs in a career (762), he won the MVP 7 times, and the list goes on and on. But Barry Bonds isn’t in the hall of fame. That’s because he didn’t play by the rules. He played, he played baseball, he played Major League Baseball, but he didn’t play by the rules.
The logic within this illustration is so very simple but there is a very important point to be made.
In Galatians 3:26 it says, “For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.”. “Sons of God” is a term that is synonymous with salvation (Gen 12:3, Gal 3:28). It is the reward that is received in a similar way that the hall of fame is the reward of a baseball career.
Paul says that we become sons of God through faith. No one will be in heaven without faith/believing. But is believing all someone needs? In the same way that playing alone won’t take someone to the hall of fame, believing alone won’t take anyone into the family of God.
The “sons of God” have a specific type of faith. In this verse it is simply defined as “faith, in Christ Jesus”. What one needs to do is realize that this faith involves a specific focus, and a specific set of rules or instructions. It is Jesus Christ’s faith. It is not some indefinable abstract idea or feeling. It is previously called “the faith” (3:23). “The faith” is different than “a faith” just as playing “a sport” is different than playing “the sport”.
In Jude 1:3 the writer says that “the faith” has been “once and for all delivered”. It is not a subjective faith. It is a specific faith that has defined teaching and guidelines that are unchangeable.
The faith of Christ contains things that have to do with our believing mindset. These have more to do with our attitude and view towards Jesus. This includes understanding the gospel(Luke 8:10-12), receiving the gospel (Luk 8:13), following the instructions contained in the gospel (Luke 8:21), and continuing to obey the word (Luke 8:15).
The faith also has rules and instructions. The Lord gave specific instructions on how one becomes a child of God, how a child of God is supposed to live, what the family of God is supposed to look like, and warnings to abide in those instructions (2 John 1:9).
Paul summarizes the instructions of becoming a son of God in the very next verse. In Galatians 3:27 he says, ”For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.” See, in Paul’s mind you don’t remove baptism from faith. To him, faith doesn’t stand alone without baptism. That is because Paul preached the faith of Christ just as James did (James 2:1). He preached the same instructions as the Lord himself (Mark 16:16).
We emphasize baptism because it is what people argue against, not because it is of greater importance. Repentance (Acts 2:38) and confessing Christ(Romans 10:10) are both essential to become a child of God as well.
Were you baptized to become a child of God, or were you baptized because you were already a child of God? No one gets into the baseball hall of fame outside of the MLB rule book. And no one will enter heaven outside of the rules of Christ.