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God’s Answer for Racism

How do we overcome the sin of racism?  The ultimate answer is Jesus.  He alone makes two become one (Matthew 19:6) and is the peace that tears down the dividing wall of hostility between races (Ephesians 2:14).  The gospel of Jesus Christ is the great equalizer.  It places everyone, regardless of race, social status, and gender on the same level – in Christ. 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.  There can be no unity with each other without first being united with Him!  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.  Being immersed into Christ and clothed in His grace declares equality and worth through His redemptive gospel.  Verse 29 says we are all of Abraham’s seed.  While we are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), our blood line changes once saved in Christ and people of all backgrounds, cultures, and races are of the same lineage – children of God. 

Just before He left and ascended back to heaven, Jesus told us to spread the gospel “in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The gospel is for everyone! Those who heard Jesus words knew the racial tensions that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans.  You see, before racial tensions existed between whites and blacks, you had those of the Jews and Gentiles.  God knew how to heal that sin problem then through His reconciling gospel and He can do it again today.  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 Jew hated their mixed race.  Jesus, however, 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 befriended the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4).  He even rebuked his disciples when they asked to call down fire from heaven and destroy the Samaritans (Luke 9:54-55).  Jesus loved the people of Samaria and desired them to be saved and loved.  He illustrated true Christian love does not separate because of race.  We are all equal at the foot of the cross. 

When Paul confronted Peter about his abstinence from eating with Gentiles in the presence of Jews (Galatians 2), racist tendencies were at play. Previously, when the Jews were not around, Peter ate and drank all of the things the Gentiles did, fellowshipping with them. By withdrawing in the presence of Jews, Peter was telling the Gentiles that they were not worthy simply because of their race. Paul could not let this happen! He publicly defended the fact that the gospel adds nothing to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Paul later concluded in His letter to the Galatians that in Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female” (Galatians 3:28). In Christ, through the gospel, we are all the same – sinners saved by grace.  God did not save us based on our merit, money, or melanin but by His grace alone. Here again, we see that the gospel is the great leveler. People of all nations, genders, backgrounds, age, and social status are invited to God’s table through the blood of Christ.  We don’t have a skin problem, we have a sin problem.  We don’t have a race problem, we have a grace problem.  God’s grace deals with sin and makes us one with Him and each other in Christ. 

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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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