REPRISE:The Gospel as the Antidote to Racism

Racism: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

Today, we commemorate Martin Luther’ King, Jr.’s (MLK) fight against one of the oldest sins: racism.

The sin of racism has been around longer than the KKK or the slave trade hundreds of years ago. The sin of racism plagued the early church when Jewish Christians had to fight against their fleshly desire to keep Gentile converts out of the church. Racism was even present in the O.T. We can safely conclude that because in one of the earliest books of Law – the Mosaic Law – God had to remind His people that He did not show favoritism and was not discriminatory and neither should they be (Deut 10:17).

MLK

Racism is sinful because all of us are made in the same image – God’s. There is no human being – Arab, Chinese, Hungarian, Nigerian, Brazilian, etc. – that is not made in the same image as someone else. In Genesis 1:27, we read, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” We all reflect our Creator. That means there is no member of the human race that reflects God less or more than someone else. And the idea our own countrymen had of African Americans being 3/5 of a person is downright offensive to God!

Racism is sinful because being partial is a sin. When you pre-judge someone, you are being partial. When you show favor to another person at the expense of someone else, you are being partial. James 2:1 reads, “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.”

So what is the cure for racism? More laws? More African-American politicians? More friends that are other races? More multi-cultural adoptions? More ethnic diversity in the workplace or sports field? More leaders like MLK?

All of these are good options but they aren’t the best options.

The only thing that will cure racism is the Gospel. In his book Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian (published by Crossway in 2011), John Piper writes,

“The great issue of the human race is that we are alienated from God. That is the first and deepest problem. Alienation from each other is next and is rooted in that first and deeper alienation. Only the Son of God, Jesus Christ, by his death and resurrection, can reconcile us to God. And only then can we pursue Christ-exalting, God-centered, gospel-driven diversity and harmony.

“Our failure to love each other is rooted in our sin against God. When we are reconciled to God by the gospel of Christ, a new supernatural power enters our life, our family, our church’s, and the world. This is the power of Jesus Christ alive within his people. The failings of the human heart that Jesus changes by the power of his gospel are the root causes of racial and ethnic disharmony – guilt, pride, hopelessness, paralyzing feelings of inferiority, greed, hate, fear, and apathy. Only one power in the world can conquer these and the supernatural influence of Satan, which is constantly at work in the world to escalate them to genocidal proportions – the power of the gospel.”[1]

[1] Bloodlines, pg. 227

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