Tuesday, April 29, 2014
RACE AND GENDER BIAS AND KINGDOM LIVING
Galatians 3:28 clearly declares..."There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." [NIV]
Matthew 6:10 adds..."Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."
I think it is perfectly clear that for Christians the race issue is settled. Racism is wrong. We are a new kind of Kingdom people and racial bias is simply not permitted to add to OR detract from our value as a Kingdom member OR our Kingdom relationships with each other. Racial prejudice is not allowed in the New Covenant and any idea that racial or ethnic groups should not, for example, inter-relate or even inter-marry are false concepts to Kingdom people. There is NO superior race. There is no inferior race.
Anyone who names Jesus as Lord is equally my brother or sister in the Kingdom of God [aka the Body of Christ] and anyone who denies that fact, because of race, is being something worse than racist, they are being unchristian and unbiblical in thought.
It goes without saying that the same is to be understood in the area of gender as well. There is an equality in Kingdom living that society may or may not understand, depending on the culture with which one is familiar, but that equality is ever present in God's Kingdom. Paul's Jewish culture of the New Testament era did NOT understand that and consequently did NOT view slaves or women or other races an having an equality with the Jewish people.
But the gospel Paul preached did recognize an equality then, and does so now. And while Paul DID NOT necessarily fight the social biases that existed in his day by storming City hall, he DID lay down the Kingdom principles of grace and life that WOULD eventually militate against slavery and racial or gender biases in the minds and the lifestyle of believers. That gospel message has the same effect and outcome in the Kingdom of God today.
Paul's single-minded focus was the message of the doing and dying of Jesus, we call that message "the gospel," which radically resulted in the kind of grace that places every redeemed human being in His Kingdom where all the biases of which we've spoken are no longer practiced. That is a settled reality.
Present day true New Testament Christians are to learn to live totally different than their society as well. Making full application of the gospel, that difference will always be seen in the freedom experienced by men, slaves, females, husbands and wives, and every other relationship one might have with another person.
Christians ARE different that's for sure. All this does NOT dispute that difference. Whether it be race, gender, age, abilities, strengths, giftedness, and a host of things left unmentioned, people ARE NOT the same. But the Body of Christ and her relationships are SIMPLY NOT structured on any hierarchy of those differences.
We do use our differences, including our spiritual-giftedness, under His anointing and authority, for the good of all the Body. But we ARE ONE with each other in value AND relationships when the gospel does it's work. "You shall know the Truth [Jesus] and the Truth shall set you free,"
So I believe, when properly understood, the scriptures will not allow for the value of OR the basis of relationships to be those differences. There is, simply spoken, no such thing as a racial or gender hierarchy in the Kingdom of God NOW or in the Kingdom that is YET TO COME. It is the grace of God alone that is the basis of our relationships with all other believers.
As already said, this is not to say that the color of skin does not remain white or black or yellow or that one does not remain male or female or young or old obviously. But that is only a biological reality that does NOT alter the biblical reality.
I have to honestly say that I'm looking forward to the day when gender or racial bigots are no longer esteemed among the people in Kingdom living in the present day. Then we ALL could serve our Lord by loving and serving each other as the highest privilege we have as believers.
We would then be living out the gospel as well as sharing that gospel with our world. I think the prayer "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" would be something impressive to see in the here and now. How about you?
You can tell I believe there is only ONE head of the Body, the Church, or the Kingdom and only ONE Lord and ONE King and any issue, such as race or marriage or church relationships in Kingdom living, is NOT one of authority.
Men don't rule and women submit__whites are NOT superior and blacks slaves__pastors DO NOT rule and people submit. But Kingdom living is one of serving "one another" out of our giftedness and uniqueness under His authority.
He's superior and rules__we all submit__ and we all serve" one another."