“And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” – Revelation 5:9.
In America, the topic of race is a hot topic. There are bold and courageous conversations going on all over the country on this important topic. As Christians, we believe this is a gospel issue. It is not just a social issue. Or a political or economic issue. This is an important issue for the church and for all of us who are followers of Jesus. Even when people take the time to study and learn the theology of race, the work of reconciliation can seem overwhelming. Where do we start?
The gospel is a way forward. One of the first steps should be getting back to God’s Word. How do we see God’s word address race? What does it say, what does it not say and what do we do about it. The Bible has plenty to say about the subject starting at Genesis and ending in Revelation.
It starts at the beginning: God made from one man every nation of mankind and He even appointed the specific boundaries of where they would live. Genesis 1:28 says, “Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”People got arrogant and decided they didn’t want to fill the earth: “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”(Genesis 11:4) The fall and the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) led to confusing and scattering people all over.
In his book Bloodlines, John Piper reveals the definitive source of hope: teaching how the good news about Jesus Christ actively undermines the sins that feed racial strife and leads to a many-colored and many-cultured kingdom of God; the bloodline of Jesus that is comprised of “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). Revelation 7:9-10 adds, ” “I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a mighty shout, ‘Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10)
If God created every ethnicity, died for every ethnicity, and brings every ethnicity into His everlasting kingdom, then we need to get in line with God’s view of every ethnicity. We share the same beginning, the same problem of sin, the same solution at the cross of Christ, the same destiny of heaven if we are children of God. We have a whole lot more in common than sets us apart. The things that unite us are bigger and better than the things that make us different.
- Why do you think God made each person unique?
- Many people think of change that the gospel brings as primarily personal change. How does the gospel effect social change?