One in Christ
If all Christians are committed to being united in Christ, then the various divisive boundaries that exist (including racial, ethnic, and economic boundaries) in culture will dissolve as all strive to live out the culture of the Kingdom of God. Our citizenship is in heaven, and this runs counter to ideas and practices that are based on selfish, shameful, and earthly pride (Phil 3:19-20). Please consider:
1. God desires all to be saved (1 Tim 2:4) and that none perish (2 Pet 3:9). Those who love God will desire what God desires. If God wants all to be saved, Christians should want the same.
2. All nations come from one (Acts 17:26). We are all related as human beings in one race. Human beings are made in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27), and this gives all of us a common bond.
3. God’s intention was, through Christ, to bless all nations (Gen 12:3; Acts 3:25-26). None are exempt. Christians ought to try to be a blessing to all as lights in the world (Matt 5:14-16; Phil 2:14-16).
4. No person should be thought of as “common” (profane, defiled) or “unclean” (impure, Acts 10:28). This was in the context where Peter was led by the Spirit to go preach to the gentiles. Peter’s conclusion was in line with God’s desire to bring in the nations.
5. “God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34-35). What nation is excluded from God’s offer of salvation?
6. Showing partiality is a sin and contrary to loving neighbor as self (James 2:8-9). This applies not only to those of differing physical characteristics, but also of economic differences. The rich are not to despise the poor, for example (Jas 1:9-10; 2:5-7).
7. Jesus broke down barriers to bring Jew and Gentile together into one body (Eph 2:11-22). Since Jesus died for all, then there should be no barriers or walls that divide Christ’s body.
8. Separating from brethren due to partyism and fear is condemned and out of step with the truth of the gospel (Gal 2:11-14). Peter and Barnabas got carried away in hypocrisy in this matter and were rebuked by Paul.
9. Physical and social barriers are broken down in Christ — all are in equal standing as children of God (Gal 3:28). While members of the body have differing functions, every member is equal before God as His children. No member is greater than another.
10. All people are justified by faith (Rom 3:30). No one can please God without faith (Heb 11:6).
11. All Christians have been baptized into one body and made to drink of one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13).
12. All people share the same ending in terms of death and judgment. All will stand before Christ (2 Cor 5:10). All will be raised up, either to a resurrection of life or a resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29). Economic, physical, or any other differences will not matter in judgment.
This should suffice to show that the intentional segregation of races in Christ’s body due to racial, physical, and economic distinctions is sinful and out of step with the truth of the gospel. Such segregation and distinctions harm both one another and the efforts to promote the gospel message, whereas purposeful integration witnesses to the power of the gospel in breaking down barriers and uniting believers in Christ.
Christians need to overcome the distinctions and barriers that divide so that brothers and sisters from all ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds will stand together as one. Scripture shows us what God wants in this matter. While we strive to improve in this area, let us be committed to excelling. Let us love one another as Christ loved us (John 13:34-35), fervently and zealously (1 Pet 1:22). Let us serve one another through that love (Gal 5:13). Let us submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph 5:21). Let us live in harmony with one another and as far as it depends on us be at peace with all (Rom 12:16-18). Let us repent of thinking evil of one another, sowing discord, partyism, strife, and separating ourselves from each other due to physical and outward differences. Let us all work to the purpose of the gospel and in so doing glorify God. The gospel speaks to our issues. Are we listening?
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” (Phil 2:1-5).