The Gospel is the great equalizer. It places everyone, regardless of race, social status, and gender on the same level. Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The context of this verse is salvation. Verse 26 and 27 tell us if we are in Christ we are all His children through faith – baptized into Christ and clothed with Christ. This tells me Jesus washes away separation and clothes us with unity. He makes us all important and equal through His redemptive Gospel. Verse 29 says we are all of Abraham’s seed. Once in Christ, our blood line changes. Now, people in Him of all backgrounds, cultures, and races are of the same lineage. The Bible speaks a lot about racism and reminds us we are all one in Christ.
Just before He left and ascended back to heaven, Jesus told us to spread the Gospel “in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Those who heard that knew the racial tension between the Jews and the Samaritans. Samaria, just 40 miles north of Jerusalem, was so despised that most Jews bypassed it in their travels between Galilee and Judea. The Jews often chose a longer route to avoid the Samaritans. Jews did not associate with Samaritans because they were considered lesser and of no value because of their race. Samaritans intermarried with the Gentiles and the pure Jew hated this mixed race of Samaritans. But Jesus didn’t bypass the Samaritans. Jesus healed a Samaritan leper (Luke 17:16), preached to the Samaritans (John 4:40-42), honored a Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), and talked to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). The woman at the well was even shocked Jesus would speak to her. Jesus even rebuked his disciples when they asked to call down fire from heaven and destroy the Samaritans after they rejected Christ (Luke 9:54-55). Jesus loved the people of Samaria and desired them to be saved and loved (Luke 9:56). Jesus illustrated true Christian love does not recognize race.
Paul even publically confronted Peter about his racist actions from not eating with the Gentiles in the presence of Jews (Galatians 2:11-21). Peter feared a group of Jews who were acting racist towards the Gentiles. He had previously eaten and drank all of the things the Gentiles did and fellowshipped with them when those certain Jews were not around. But when pressure came, Peter withdrew and basically told the Gentiles by his actions they were not worthy of God’s grace because of their race. Paul was furious and withstood Peter “face to face” (v. 11) because he was “playing the hypocrite” (v. 13) and influenced others to do the same. They were not being “straightforward with the truth of the Gospel” (v. 14), which adds nothing (no works, race, achievement, social status, etc) to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and nothing else – especially race (Galatians 3:28). Peter was building walls between Christ and people that were torn down (Galatians 2:17-19). Paul told the Ephesians (2:11-22) that the Jews and Gentiles were reconciled through Christ. Jesus was the “peace who has made both become one and has broken down the middle wall of division between us (Jew and Gentile) having abolished in His flesh the enmity…reconciling them both to God in one body through the cross thereby putting to death the enmity…giving both access to Jesus by one Spirit.” Both groups who were now in Christ were together citizens, saints, and members of God’s household (v. 19). In Christ, through the Gospel, we are all the same. People of all nations, genders, backgrounds, and social status, are invited to God’s table through the blood of Christ. That table of grace covers all our sins and separations. This is the picture of heaven in Revelation 5:9 and 7:9 where a great multitude no one could number of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues stood before the throne of God and worshipped Him together. Let that truth and oneness in Christ permeate through our churches, cities, schools and lives. Instead of racism, practice gracism.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.
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