Firm Foundations Five (54 of 55) What About Racism?

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What About Racism?

Racism is the unjust treatment of ethnic groups different from your own because they possess different human traits and capacities, often causing one to see himself as superior and others as inferior. All racism is a sin because all mankind is from the same human race that is created in the likeness of God and thus each is of equal importance. Believers are called to reject the evil thoughts and actions of racial prejudice, discrimination, and are called to love others as themselves.
James 2:4, 8

God And The Human Race

  • God created all mankind in His image. One of the most important truths to understand regarding this topic is that there is only one race, the human race, and all of us are created in the image of God. The Bible says God made all nations of men of one blood to dwell on all the face of the earth. This means all mankind, no matter what ethnic group, comes from Adam, the first man.
    Genesis 1:26–27; Acts 17:26–28
  • God is no respecter of persons. He does not favor one ethnic group of people over another. All mankind is equally loved by God. All mankind will be equally judged by God. All mankind has the opportunity to be redeemed through the same means—repentance and faith in Jesus.
    Deuteronomy 10:17–19; 1 Samuel 16:7; Acts 10:34–35; Romans 2:11–12; Ephesians 6:9
  • God divided mankind into two groups, Jews and Gentiles. After mankind sinned, God promised a way of redemption. Then He said that way of redemption would come through the line of Abraham. Through Abraham’s seed, Isaac, Jacob, and continuing, God separated them and considered them His chosen people to give us Jesus, the one and only way of redemption. They were called to obey God, be a kingdom of priests, and a witness to the nations.
    Genesis 3:15, 12:1–3; 32:28; Deuteronomy 4:37–38; 7:7–8; Joshua 22:5; Exodus 19:5–6; Jeremiah 13:11; John 4:22; 7:42
  • God broke down the middle wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles. The Jews often failed at their task, but through the Jewish line of David, God brought forth Jesus, who through His death on the cross made it possible for both Jews and Gentiles to be reconciled unto God in one body. This one body is the church. In Jesus, we are one. Now, the only division that exists is believers and unbelievers.
    Romans 10:12–13; Galatians 3:26–29; Ephesians 2:14–22; Colossians 3:11
  • God loves the human race, including all various ethnic groups that exist or have existed. Before the throne of God, there will be a great multitude, which no man can number, of all nations, kindred, people, and tongues. God manifested his love toward mankind by sending Jesus to be the propitiation for their sins. As believers, we realize how much God loves us even though we weren’t deserving of it and commands us to love others in the same way.
    John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 4:9–13; Revelation 7:9–10

The Bible And Slavery

  • The form of slavery the Bible approves of was regulated by the law of Moses, and often people who couldn’t pay their debts or who couldn’t provide for their needs on their own would voluntarily enter into slavery. For many, this provided a better way of life and opened more doors of opportunity. Masters were to give their servants that which was just and equal, knowing that they themselves were under the God of heaven.
    Deuteronomy 15:12–15; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1
  • The form of slavery the Bible condemns is that of forcing people into slavery, stealing people and selling them into slavery, or enslaving someone based on their ethnic identity, etc. In the Old Testament, the punishment for this kind of sin was death, and the New Testament confirms this form of slavery is sinful and the law was given to help protect against it.
    Exodus 1:7–11; 6:5; 13:14; 21:16; 1 Timothy 1:8–10

Answers To Tough Questions

  • Do some people use the Bible to teach racism? Yes, but no scripture teaches racism. False teachers, cults, and people who misunderstand the Bible will twist certain scriptures to teach their own type of racism to justify their mistreatment of a certain ethnic group. Racism is a result of sin and causes people to commit sin. It is not a truth taught in the Bible
  • What about racism because of culture? Racism is often a problem that is taught through one’s culture and it is hard to change their way of thinking about another ethnicity. Often people are racists toward another group because of characteristics they are born with and don’t have control over, such as skin color, nationality, gender, social status, and financial situation. As believers, we recognize we are all of one race and that our different characteristics are God-given and we will not be a respecter of persons.
  • What about racism because of unjust treatment? Racism is often caused because of a past or current circumstance that leads one group to hate the other. Mistreatment, heinous crimes, a war between countries, etc., can make a person bitter toward an entire ethnic group, even if the current generation had nothing to do with the accusations. As believers, we forgive because we are forgiven. We are called to forgive and love in the same way that we have been forgiven and loved by God.
    Matthew 18:21–35; Ephesians 4:32
  • How can I forgive others when they don’t deserve it? Those whom you discriminate against may not have done anything to deserve your forgiveness, but neither have we done anything to deserve God’s forgiveness. God forgave us because He was holy and we are called to be holy like He is holy.
    1 Peter 1:14–21
  • What about “interracial marriage”? Marriage is defined as one man marrying one woman, thus not requiring the same ethnicity of the two people who want to marry. Believers are only told not to marry unbelievers because it can negatively affect their spiritual walk with God.
    Matthew 19:4–5; 2 Corinthians 6:14

Review Questions

  • What is racism? Is it right or wrong? Why?
  • How many races are there?
  • Who does God love? How did He show His love?
  • What does the Bible teach about slavery?
  • How should believers respond to racism?

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