The Spirit of Racism is Alive and Well
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
I am becoming more convinced each day that when Scriptures talk about "running this race" people mistakenly think God is talking about the color of their skin. I don't make this statement from a political or social perspective. I am speaking strictly of spiritual implications.
First, let me say that I acknowledge there are still many social ills which occur based on race. I also experience these things. However, what value should we as Christians put on race?
Many are quick to admit that religious cults such as Mormons, Hebrew Israelites, Christian Identity Movement, etc. which have used race as a means of excluding others from faith in Jesus Christ are in error. But there are other sides of this coin which apparently some Christians have no problem with.
A number of Christians still identify themselves predominantly by race (even subconsciously). It is this type of perspective that made many feel justified in voting for Barack Obama since he is a "Black man", without regard for his anti-Christ agenda. When it comes to matters of race, too many are ready to set aside the cause of Christ in order to champion their own cause of skin color. Race can be an idol just like anything else if given preeminence above our relationship with Jesus Christ.
One of the criticisms I received about this blog is that I "talk too much about Black people". They said that I must be a "White man trying to stick up for my European ancestors." Another person recently said, "I want to share some of your articles with my family as I feel they are true, but I want to make sure you are not a racist first." I mention this not because I care what people say, but because it provides insight into this warped mindset. An inordinate allegiance to race can even prevent you from seeing truth!
The question I have for these people is, "Who cares? When are you going to start walking in the fullness of new life that Jesus has given and stop clinging to worldly distinctions that have no relevance in Christ?"
A Christian's identity is to be found in Jesus Christ above any national, ethnic, gender, or social identity.
"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3
Believers do not defend or offend the races because the Gospel message is not racial. God is focused on the "human" race and its condition - fallen in sin. That is why His church is here.
The truths of God cannot be preached by race, nor can we cater to men's views about race (whether to prop up a race as superior or degrade a race as inferior). There are no such distinctions in Christ.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
When people still see by race, then they have not understood and appreciated the newness of life that is available to all in Jesus Christ. Yes, there are racial divisions today; but such is a product of the flesh. The best way to address this and all issues is by focusing on the Spirit.
"Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." II Corinthians 5:16
In Philippians Chapter 3, Paul admonishes about putting ANY confidence in the flesh.
"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." Philippians 3:3-8
Jesus said to know no man after the flesh. Paul said we are to have no confidence in the flesh. He counts such things (his ethnicity, education, his social affiliations, etc.) as dung! Is not skin color a matter of the flesh?
Are there ethnic differences? Sure. Are there cultural differences? Yes. Are there national differences? Absolutely. But these things only add to the beautiful tapestry which is the Body of Christ; they don't define the Body.
Christians are to be like water; able to ebb and flow as the Spirit wills with no worldly identifications that would interrupt or disrupt this movement. If you see yourself as a Black, White, Asian, Indian, or Hispanic person more than (or even as much as) you see yourself as a Christian, it WILL affect your testimony for Christ. More importantly, it will limit your relationship with Him and with His Body.
I am not saying to pretend you don't notice skin color. I am saying not to put stock in that. Understand that God - the Creator of ALL of the races - has made you new in Him, with a spiritual heritage that does not have its roots in this world.
"Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." Luke 21:10
The word for "nation" in the above text is the Greek word ethnos which literally means ethnic groups. Jesus states that one of the signs of the end times will be contentions between ethnic groups. That doesn't just apply to those who use race as a means of oppression, it also applies to those who try to insulate their race against any criticism. If you cannot receive truth because it offends allegiances to your race, then your race has become your god.
Racism is certainly a wicked spirit. I have come against it many a time. However, I write this article to try and impress upon you the importance of seeking and finding your identity in Christ alone!
"For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." Acts 17:28