Does The Bible Prioritize Some Groups Over Others
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were Gods chosen people. Through Abrahams lineage, God established a new nation. A nation that God protected and guided. The Jewish people were given laws and commands that, as Gods people, they were instructed to obey for their own good. They were invited to follow God not only in action, but also in heart by having faith in a God that loved them and took care of them as a father.
The Israelites were Gods chosen people, but Gods love and care was extended to every nation. God doesnt prefer one ethnicity or nation over another. For instance, God instructed Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach repentance so that the people there would be saved from destruction. There are also instances of converts in the Old Testament, those who were not Jewish who chose to follow God, such as Ruth or Zipporah.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus .
God has always had open arms to the whole world. In Pauls writing to the church of Galatia, we are challenged to consider how Jesus unites all of us as brothers and sisters, regardless of ethnicity or nation. God breathes life into every human being and everyone is fearfully and wonderfully made.
Heaven Is Full Of People From Every Tribe People Nation And Language
The reason the Bible teaches believers about what the future will be like, including the afterlife, isnt merely to satisfy their curiosity, but so that they will know what to value, pursue, and prioritize in their life on Earth.
One of the places that the Bible mentions the future is in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 7:9-10, readers get a glimpse of heaven. The verse paints a picture of a large multitude of ethnically diverse people worshipping God. John, the author of Revelation, describes the scene in relation to the ethnic makeup of those who praise God.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands and crying out with a loud voice, Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’
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Is Revelation 7:9 stressing the ethnic diversity of heaven? Yes. Bible scholar Grant Osborne, who many reviewers believe wrote one of the , says that every nation refers to the promise God gave Abraham.
God said Abraham would be the father of many nations, and that all the people of the world would be blessed through him . Tribes refers to the Israelites . These two descriptions together suggest that Jewish and Gentile Christians together form the whole people of God.
Racism Is Fought Through Proximity
In Ephesians 2:14 Paul says, For himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier the dividing wall of hostility. The two groups are the Jews and the Gentiles.
Paul says that Jesus has brought peace between these two groups by making them one people. The church is the people of God and it is the group in which Jews and Gentiles are one.
Jesus solution to racism is not to have each ethnic group politely stay in their own space. His solution is to bring us together and force us to get over our differences. Paul the Jew traveled with Titus the Greek. Philip the deacon shared the gospel with the Ethiopian.
Within Jesus 12 apostles, Simon the Zealot shared space with Matthew the tax collector. Jesus brings a powerful unity because with him we are all grateful recipients of the grace and adoption that he has brought us.
If you want to fight racismboth in your own heart and in societyyour best strategy is not to shame racists or shout them down. Your best strategy is to be around the diverse people of God, flex your empathy muscles, and practice unity with people who are different from you.
While there is a time and a place to advocate for structural and societal change, the biggest transformations take place when we are free from the need to justify ourselves and we can break bread with people of all colors and backgrounds.
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God Does Not Play Favoritism
Romans 2:11 clearly tells us:
For there is no partiality with God.
Isnt it comforting that we serve the Living God who doesnt play favoritism?
He is our God who made it clear that he doesnt favor anyone based on their race. He doesnt make any judgment based on peoples appearance, ethnic origin, or even their status in life.
God is fair and He is the God of justice. When He judges, He doesnt judge like us humans. Instead, we read:
For Yahweh does NOT see as man sees for man looks at the outward appearance, but Yahweh looks at the heart .
And because God shows no partiality or is not a respecter of people, this should lead us to the next point.
How Do You Respond To Racism With Example
In America, a white police officer brutally murdered a black George Floyd in handcuffs. After that, there were worldwide demonstrations against racism. The question is, why does racism still persist? If seen, the slavery of blacks ended in America only in 1863. From 1452, the slavery of blacks was not only moralized but also glorified by referring to the Bible. So even after slavery was abolished, legal segregation remained for another century.
This also ended after the protests, but America supported the apartheid government in South Africa for another forty years. The apartheid government collapsed. After that, pre-white universities in South Africa were forced to admit black students. But even two decades later, only five percent of blacks were successful in some sort of higher education.
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Listen Learn Lament Lead
Listen: Seek to hear rather than be heard. Seek to understand rather than be understood. Increased awareness will increase understanding.
Learn: While you cannot stand in another persons shoes, you can learn from his or her experience in this world. Taking a humble, teachable posture validates that their experience can be different than yours and may empower you to walk alongside your friend more effectively.
Lament: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. The ability to grieve with those who grieve as well as take responsibility for any part you may have played in their pain creates connection and trust.
Lead: Once understanding is gained, connection is established and trust is earned, you can now walk together into expanded conversations and actions that strengthen your relationship with one another and influence others in your life who need to join the journey of awareness and action.
Slavery In The New Testament
In the Old Testament era, people were enslaved primarily through war. But in the first century AD, the procreation of slaves swelled their numbers enormously. And many people actually sold themselves into slavery to improve their lives.
Owning and using people as slaves was so common in the Roman Empire that not a single Roman writer condemned the practice. But this acceptance of slavery would begin to change with the growth and influence of Christianity. Slavery in the Roman era was dramatically different from the despicable practice in American history. If you walked through any first-century Roman city, you would not be able to tell most slaves from free people. Slaves performed manual labor, but they were also doctors, nurses, household managers, and intellectuals. They managed finances and cities. They were often given an excellent education at the expense of their owners, with the result that philosophers and tutors were typically slaves.
Even more amazing to us, it was common for people to sell themselves into slavery to secure such privileges. A person who wanted to be a Roman citizen could sell himself to a citizen and then purchase his freedom. For many people, slavery was more a process than a condition.
As a result, no New Testament writer attempted to end slavery itself, as this was not possible in their time. But several other facts should be noted as well.
One: Paul abolished all racial and social discrimination for Christians:
How Should We Respond To This Situation According To Scripture
In Galatians 3:28, Paul shows us one of the ways the true gospel impacts human relationships. It says this in Galatians chapter 3, verses 28 there is no Jew or Greek slave or free male and female since you are all one in Christ Jesus see at the foot of the cross we are all equal.All that matters is that every single one of us is broken sinners before a holy God in desperate need of grace and salvation, and thats exactly what Jesus offers every single one of us.
I want to point out three categories that Paul references in this verse. He mentions Jews and Greeks, slaves and free and males and females, and hes saying that theres no Jew or Greek, theres no slave or free, theres no male and female. Now what Paul is not doing is saying that there are literally no differences between these two groups of people.
Of course, we know that there are real differences between men and women. Even for you who may be watching and me, there are real differences between you and me. I have red hair. Maybe your hair is a dif color. I have blue eyes. Your hair might be a different color. I have white skin. Your skin might be a different color.
In this verse, Paul is referencing three categories in his culture where one group of people were seen as inferior to the other. Jew saw themselves as better than Greeks. Free people were seen to be better than slaves. Men were seen to be better than women.
How Does God Feel About Racism
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community .
There is no passage that specifically answers the question of how God feels about racism, but Scripture gives us plenty of guidance about Gods love for all people, Gods hand in creation, and what the Lord does hate.
Pride, dishonesty, and conflict are found at the root of racism all are evil that God hates. Racism leads to a plethora of injustices, discrimination, and outpouring of evil toward fellow human beings. When we judge the fruit of racism, we see that this only produces evil, pain, and strife.
In the New Testament, Paul wrote a powerful insight to the church of Ephesus:
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility .
Jesus tore down the divisions of hate and prejudice between groups that hated one another. Some of Jesus ministry on earth was aimed at opposing racism. Racism is a grave consequence of the fall, and part of the redemptive work that Jesus did was to begin deconstructing racist ideologies and challenging the evil of racism in the world.
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Know The Difference Between Righteous Anger And Sin
Be angry and do not sin do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil .
Seeing the innocent suffer should break our hearts and not only stir us to compassion, but to action.
We must hold ourselves and those around us to a higher standard of behavior and call out racist attitudes and assumptions. As we do, we must take care not to allow our anger over injustice to lead us to sinful behavior.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord .
Even those who perpetrate evil are image-bearers of God and in need of Christ. We cant allow our actions to inhibit our witness.
Wash yourselves make yourselves clean remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes cease to do evil, learn to do good seek justice, correct oppression bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widows cause .
Racism Is An Affront To The Creator
There is no verse in the Bible that says, Thou shalt not be racist. That said, mistreating others because of their race is utterly inconsistent with the message of Scripture. Genesis 1:26 says that human beings are created in the image of God. James 3:9 says that curses against people are evil because people are created in Gods image.
Throughout Proverbs mistreatment of the vulnerable is condemned because it mocks their maker. When we mistreat, dismiss, or exclude people because of their race, we insult the God who created everyone in his image. Practicing racism is not simply breaking a rule it is mocking God himself.
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Twelve Bible Verses About Race And Ethnicity
Tracing the plotline of Scripture from Creation to New Creation
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The United States established this federal holiday to honor him and to serve as a time for Americans to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr. It has been celebrated annually since Jan. 20, 1986.
In keeping with the purpose of this observance, I would like to reflect on what the Bible teaches about race and ethnicity. The Bible is divinely inspired and infallible, so what it says about race and ethnicity sets the standard for what Christians believe and practice. The term most commonly used in the Bible to describe racial and ethnic others is nations , although Scripture uses other terms as well.
In what follows, I outline 12 Bible verses that touch on race and ethnicity, and I offer a brief explanatory comment about each. These 12 Bible verses follow the plotline of the biblical narrative: creation, Fall, and redemption. The list is illustrative, not exhaustive.
1. Created in Gods Image
According to Genesis 1:27, God created all humanity in His image.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them male and female he created them.
The creation of humanity in Gods image is the basis of human dignity and equality, as well as the sanctity of life .
2. Marred by Sin
3. Judged Impartially
As the apostle Paul put it in Romans 2:11, God does not show favoritism.
What Does The Bible Say About Racism Prejudice And Discrimination
The first thing we need to agree upon when talking talking about this topic is that there is really only one racethe human race. For example, Caucasians, Africans, Asians, Indians, Arabs, and Jews are not different races they are different ethnicities within the one human race. Other than minor variations, all human beings have the same basic physical traits, and every person is made in the image and likeness of God Himself .
How cool is that? We get to have similar characteristics as God, such as creativity and having a spirit. And He loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to lay down His life for us. When John 3:16 refers to the “world,” it is talking about the entire human raceall ethnic groups, religions, subcultures, and social cliques included.
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The Israelites Were To Love Foreigners
Its easy to treat those who look like us well, but how about those who dont look like us? How do we treat those who are not our own nationality or skin color? We are far too comfortable in our circles. Gospel community fights to love and connect with others regardless of someones skin color.
There is only one race and that is the human race! There are different ethnicities of the human race, but we are all made in the image of God. Are you lovingly pursuing all people? Are you looking down on other races in your mind? Are you silent on the topic of racism?
If youre thinking to yourself that racism is not your business, then make it your business. In the same way that God pursues you, then pursue others. The oppression of others should never cause us to shut our ears and close our eyes. I loved Charles Spurgeons commentary on Isaiah 58. What promises God gives to those who consider the poor and needy round about them! But if you shut your ears to the cry of the distressed, God will shut His ears to your cry.
27. Leviticus 19:33-34 When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
28. Exodus 22:21 Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
Lets grow in our love for others.