Monday, March 31, 2008

Red and Yellow, Black and White (Part III)

By Taft Ayers

Jesus was often confronted by the self-righteous, by those who thought that they were better than everyone else simply because of their race. For example, in John chapter 8, Jesus was speaking to a group of Jews...or a group of people who were natural descendants of Abraham.

"Abraham is our father," the people shouted to Jesus.

Jesus’ reply: "If you were Abraham’s children then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.You are doing the things your own father does."

"We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only father we have is God himself."

Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here...You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire."

So here we are brought back again to the distinction between what is "clean" and what is "unclean."The natural descendants of Abraham thought that they were "clean" but Jesus is telling those who do not believe in Him, natural descendants or not, that they are "unclean." He tells them, in fact, that they are children of the devil, for from within their hearts come the desires of the devil, not the desires that come from God.

They just didn’t get it. Abraham was justified by faith when God tested him by asking him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. The Lord declared to Abraham: "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore." This was because Abraham believed God.

Faith is the key for God, not our flesh, not the color of our skin, not where we were born. The real descendants of Abraham are those who believe! It is a spiritual ancestry, not a natural one.

In the first chapter of John we are told that all who receive Jesus Christ, to those who believe in His name He gives the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent (as the natural descendants of Abraham felt), nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Everyone who is born of God, or born again through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are Abraham’s descendants. "Consider Abraham", Paul tells the Galatians, "He believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham......You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."

We believe that racism is universal but fail to realize that the effects are also eternal. The Jews had their struggles with the Samaritan. The Greeks conflicted with the Barbarians. The romans struggled with the slave issue. The Crusades battled with the infidel. Today, the United States of America sadly still struggles with the "non white."

There are some human factors which frequently contribute to a situation and make it seem racial. Sometimes, upon further examination, man can see that this is not the case. Some time ago there was a church in Dallas that was considered a "white church." The area started to become racially mixed. The church had great plans to serve as a model. It became white-black with both races having equal representation in the offices of leadership. The church is now all black. It is not because all of the members were racist, they just "moved" from the community.

In the whole racial controversy, some people have flat out lost the right sense of respect for authority. Jesus came to change men, not political laws. Changing laws is only a temporary affair. Paul said in Romans 13 that man was to have respect even for the corrupt place we know as Rome. Even if the land said that it was okay to persecute a race or group of people, it would never be acceptable for God’s people to engage.

Racism has caused riots, wars and bloodshed across the globe because it possesses the ability to inflame the passions of people in an irrational sense. Closer to home, we have seen large cities torn apart due to racial riots. More than 100 American cities have been burned throughout history because of racism. How strange is it that our schools were properly desegregated by the Supreme Court in 1954, yet our churches still have not figured it out? White preachers who will take a very convicted position on the racial question are often forced to move on, because their views are contrary to popular customs.

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