Racial Reconciliation and the Gospel
This past Sunday, I spoke on the topic of Race and the Gospel as we continue our series on ‘Our Mission.’ The issue of race is a topic on which the Body of Christ must teach, apply and especially lead in when it comes to our culture. If we allow the media or politicians to lead in this, we as a church body have failed. The only hope for racial reconciliation is for the gospel of Jesus Christ to draw us as churches together .
Ephesians 2:1-10 speaks of our alienation from God, and because God is rich in mercy, He has saved us by His grace through faith – and not by our works. Racial reconciliation must first start with us being reconciled to God. Jesus Christ is our peace (2:14) and though we were once far off we have been brought near by the blood of Christ (2:13). Jesus Christ has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (2:14). This is the message we must proclaim, but it is a message we must also demonstrate to the world.
The Apostle Paul continues that because the hostility has been abolished by Jesus, He is creating in Himself ‘one new man’ in place of the two, thus making peace and reconciling us both to God in one body through the cross.
It is the phrase ‘one new man’ that should get our attention. First, the word ‘one’ speaks of unity, those who were once divided now joined together in position and privilege. Second, consider the word ‘new.’ This is a powerful word. The Greek word is kainos and it means new in kind or quality. It means unprecedented, never heard of, never existed before. Jesus is creating a new church that has never existed before…it is a church that has Jew, Gentile, man, woman, Greek, Barbarian, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, and every other ethnicity created. Third, the word ‘man.’ It speaks of something corporate, not individual.
Jesus is building His church, this ‘one new man’, and it will be something never before seen. We as members of Christ must be INTENTIONAL in building relationally with those from different backgrounds than ours. We must love and build with those who are different than us, so that God can be glorified and His church exalted.
Jarvis Williams has said, “Many churches are more committed to their ethnic heritage than to the gospel.”
My prayer is that this may never be the case with my church or me. How about you?