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There has been a huge amount of material written on the topic of racism from a Christian perspective, particularly last year in response to the tragic murder of George Floyd, and throughout the Black Lives Matter protests.
I don’t expect to share anything new or ground-breaking in this piece, but I think it’s helpful to continually be thinking about how the gospel message combats racism. It’s alarming when we see professing Christians exhibiting racist behaviour because the gospel condemns it so loudly and strongly. Please allow me to share these three simple points.
Made in God’s Image
Then God said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”-Genesis 1:26
Right at the beginning of God’s word we learn that mankind was made in the image of God. There are no exceptions here, no divisions, no ifs, buts or maybes. Every single man and woman has been made in the image of Him.
That we are all made in the image of God isn’t just an interesting fact – it has enormous ramifications on how we ought to think about and behave towards others. James alludes to this and makes the point clear when writing about the importance of taming the tongue, he writes “With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:9-10)
The clear implication from this passage is that professing to be a Christian goes hand in hand with using our tongues to build up, encourage and bless others. There is no room whatsoever for division or bias based on skin colour, all are made in God’s image.
For God shows no partiality.– Romans 2:11
Something that is repeated several times in the New Testament, is that God shows no partiality. Peter says it in Acts 10:34-35, Paul states it in Romans 2:11, and James writes in James 2:9 that “if you show partiality, you are committing sin”.
It couldn’t be any clearer from reading scripture that for us to show partiality, or to put it another way, to discriminate against anyone, is utterly wicked and it’s totally contradictory to God’s character.
The Gospel Unites
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.– Romans 10:12
One of the many beautiful aspects of the gospel, it its unifying power. Through the gospel we find ourselves united to followers of Christ all over the world. We become family with them, united in an even more profound sense than our biological families.
It is a marvellous thing that there is level ground at the foot of the cross. That anyone, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, social status, economic status, or any other distinguishing factor, finds the same gracious offer of salvation. We celebrate and rejoice in this together, uniting with brothers and sisters all over the world in our joyful gratitude to God. I love the following section from Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, where he is expanding on what Christ has achieved for us, and what he means for us.
“He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.– Ephesians 2:14
He has made us one, and in doing so has broken down the barriers between us. Today, let us thank God that he made us in his image, that he shows no partiality even when man does, and that through the cross of Christ which primarily unites us to himself, he has also united us to each other.