- - Monday, November 9, 2015

All Christians are called to study the Bible, to be men and women who understand the Scripture and know how to apply it to contemporary life. Like the “men of Issachar” (1 Chronicles 12:32), Christians are to “understand the times and know what Israel ought to do.”

Ben Seewald is one such man. In addition to his role as a husband and father, Seewald puts the Bible in front of his eyes daily and seeks the wisdom of God.

Recently, he sat down to write about the problem of racism, especially as it occurs in the life of one who professes Jesus Christ as Lord. How can this be? 

I’m proud to bring you the following column Ben wrote for The Washington Times, as an answer to that question.

‘No Room For Racism in Christianity’ by Ben Seewald

Racism is ugly; it’s horrific to see people treated and mistreated by others because of their skin color or physical attributes, but racism isn’t just an eyesore, it’s also sin condemned by the Word of God. In other words, Jesus hates it.

What is racism?

Let’s define exactly what we’re talking about. Racism is an attitude or belief that produces actions. Racism takes pride in one’s own race, believing it superior to others. And attitude turns into action.

We see examples of it all around us today, in overt cases like racially motivated shootings and in less obvious examples, like the parents who say they love all races but discourage their daughter from marrying a man of a different color or culture, simply because of his race.

Is there room for racism in Christianity?

No, there is not. The Bible says in the fifth chapter of the New Testament book of Galatians, “Now the works of the flesh are evident,” and then proceeds to give a list of “works of the flesh” worthy of condemnation. Three of the items on this list are rivalries, dissensions and divisions. What are we to think of these sins? Are we to take them lightly? Verse 21 concludes, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

This means that if you are comfortable living with the actions and attitudes contained in this list, then you should not be so comfortable in your claim that Jesus is the Lord of your life. One comfort or the other is the true master of your life.

Now this is NOT saying that a true Christian will never slip up and fall into some of these things. But when a Christian sins, it will grieve his or her heart, and there will be a turning away from it at some point. The trajectory of a Christian’s life is bent toward Christ-likeness.

A racist Christian is an oxymoron; it’s impossible. Sometimes Christians fall into the sin of racism, but in time they will repent and turn away from this sin. True Jesus followers must not continue in racism. Racism is anti-God and anti-Christian because it divides and destroys, but in Christ there is no distinction between any race. All are created equal, and salvation is by the same way for blacks, whites, Hispanics and every other tribe, tongue and nation. So if you hold on to racial prejudice and call yourself a Christian, you are a hypocrite. You say that you follow God and love Him with your mouth, but your attitudes and actions scream the opposite.

So, what is the trajectory of your life? Is it described by the negative things in Galatians 5? Heed the warning, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

If you belong to Jesus, then you have a new heart of love and new desires. The old self — which lived in rivalries, dissensions and divisions — has been put to death, spiritually speaking. This transformation provides evidence of the reality of our conversion. This is the fruit of our salvation.

Even more importantly, God is not partial to race. We are all created in His image, and 1 Samuel 16:7 reveals to us the truth about God, saying, “The LORD sees not as man sees: Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” God’s concern is with the soul of a person — are they reconciled to Him? In contrast, racism does the opposite, looking at the physical, outward appearance and then treating a person accordingly.

When Jesus spoke privately to Nicodemus, a Jewish Pharisee, he told him, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus said, in effect, “Nicodemus, God doesn’t only love the descendants of Abraham! He loves Romans, and Africans, and Asians, and Polynesians, and every other ethnic group!”

God is not concerned with race; He is concerned with faith in Christ. So if God isn’t concerned with race, then neither should we as His followers. Galatians 3:28, written by Paul (a former Pharisee) says there is “neither Jew nor Greek” for you are “all one in Christ.” Faith in Christ is what unites us as believers.

Racism is an attitude of the world and is hostile to God and His way. Racism boasts in the flesh rather than in Christ. Racism is pride, contention, rivalry and dissension. God’s way is love, humility and unity in Christ.

As Christians, we must repent of any racism that we may fall into and hold fast to the truth of God’s Word. We are called to love our neighbor — our neighbor of any race, culture or creed — as ourselves, just as God commanded us.

There is no room for racism in Christianity.

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