What can be done about racism?

Racial differences are surface differences of color and culture. Beneath the trivial external variations all men are created in the image of God. The American religious landscape is dotted with perverse teachings claiming certain ethnic groups are not created in God’s image. Some have said the curse of Canaan is why black people will be slaves or poor. Some have said that blacks are not actually descended from Adam but from another group that was created by not given a soul like Adam and Eve were. Similar stupidities have been spouted about Indians, Mexicans and Eskimos. No teaching of racial superiority or inferiority is found in the Bible. The Biblical reality is that every person who has ever lived is a descendant of Adam and Eve. As a result, every person of every color and culture bears the image of God. Every person on this planet carries within the unique mark of the semblance of the Divine. All men share a common origin, common heritage and common created representation of God. Racism is not only an attack on others, it is an attack on the image of God.

The problems between ethnic groups are not caused by the intrinsic differences between groups. The problems between the races are caused by the intrinsic similarities between all people. Men do not hate others because they are different. Men hate others because of the sin, pride, selfishness, jealousy and hatred that resides naturally in every human heart. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” Romans 3 describes all men, “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Destruction and misery are in their ways.” Racial violence and tensions are not because a few men are racists. The problems between races are just one expression of the universal selfishness and hatred that characterizes all mankind without Christ. As long as men are without Christ they will find an excuse to hate others. The solution is not found in taking down all nationalistic or tribal symbols. The solution is not fostering dialog between different groups. The solution The solution is replacing the commonality that divides with a commonality that unites. The solution is the transformation of the heart and relationships that can only be produced by Christ.

This transformation and unity is to be modeled withing the church. Jesus prayed that all His disciples would be one, even as He and the Father are one. The church is a community that is characterized by it’s cross cultural communion. In the church station, privilege and importance are not defined by familial heritage, personal income or political power. In the church “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free:” In the church all the redeemed are “all one in Christ.” The work of Christ on the cross has removed all national, language and culture barriers between people. In Christ, Christians are made members of a new people group. Christians are now a “holy nation, a peculiar people.” Surface diversities are nothing when compared to the essential unity between men. Racism will end when man’s sin nature is replaced by the new nature of Jesus.

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