Come, Lord Jesus, Come…

Posted: June 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

Today may not be the right time for this; I don’t know.  However, I do know when I woke up this morning, I heard the same horrific news many of you also heard concerning the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.  Up until this point, I have stayed pretty quiet on the circumstances in Ferguson, Charleston, Baltimore, and so many other places.  This is an extremely delicate subject to most people, however I am going to attempt to sort through some of these issues.  I honestly do not believe these circumstances are a direct result of racism.  Let me clarify.  Yes, racism does still exist in our society today.  There is no denying that fact.  Yes, racism is wrong.  Yes, this hatred and violence needs to stop, and yes, I believe we need to continue to work to promote racial reconciliation.  There have been countless individuals who have risked their lives for the sake of unity and I applaud those individuals for doing so.  There is no doubt in my mind that these men and women have made a profound impact on where we are today as a society.  So, thank you to the Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, the Rosa Parks’, the Thurgood Marshall’s, and the countless others who have fought for racial equality.  We would not be where we are today if not for your courage and strength and dignity to stand up for what you believed in.

However, as I wrote previously, I do not believe that although racism may seem to be the culprit of these issues, but I do firmly believe there is a deeper issue at stake than racism.  This issue goes deeper than the pigment of my skin or the pigment of your skin.  This issue goes to the very heart and soul of our being.  Yes, the end result is racism, or violence, or murder, or greed, or envy, or stealing, but these things are not the issue.  These things are a direct result of the real issue.  The real issue is our heart and I firmly believe this issue cannot be cured without the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.  Let me try to explain.  Let’s begin by looking at Galatians 2:11-15:

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.  For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.  And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.  But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” – Galatians 2:11-15 ESV

So, in this passage, we see Cephas [Peter], who is a Jew, eating with the Gentiles…until some other people show up.  This causes Peter to step back and think, “Whoa! What am I doing?!?!  I should not be eating with these Gentiles!”  But Paul tells us that their actions were not in step with the truth of the gospel, so he confronts Peter.  I do not believe Peter was guilty of an honest mistake here.  He knew better.  Paul knew that Peter knew better.  Paul knew that Peter was acting in a way that was contrary to his convictions.  Paul knew this and he confronted Peter’s hypocrisy.

Paul’s main struggle in Galatians was with certain Jewish-Christians who were telling Gentile-Christians that they must uphold the Jewish Law, mainly circumcision, in order to become Christians.  So, in other words, in order to become a Christian, Gentiles must first become Jews through the covenant of circumcision and the keeping of certain Jewish feasts.  This created hostility between the two camps because, now that Christ had been crucified and resurrected, the Gentiles no longer had to answer to the Jewish Law.  The Jews looked at the Gentiles as different.  The Gentiles did not do things the way the Jews did.  The Jews looked at themselves as being better than the Gentiles.  Sound familiar?  This society was not much different than our society today.  The hostility was there.  The hostility is still there.

So, what does the gospel message have to do with all of this?  What does the gospel message say about this hostility between Jews and Gentiles, different races, and different ethnicities?  Look at Ephesians 2:14-16:

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. – Ephesians 2:14-16 ESV

So, from this passage in Ephesians, we can know four things:

  1. Jesus Christ is our peace
  2. Jesus Christ has broken down racial and ethnic barriers
  3. Jesus Christ has created in Himself one new man
  4. Jesus Christ has reconciled people of different ethnic backgrounds (Jews/Gentiles, black/white, etc.), through the cross

This is important stuff.  Jesus Christ through His work on the cross has broken down these dividing barriers.  If we are in Christ, we are all now brothers and sisters.  No matter of our skin color.  No matter of our ethnic background.  No matter of our economical status.  Brothers and sisters…period.

But I believe there is hope.  I know there is hope.  There is hope that one day all of this hatred and violence will be put behind us.  There is hope that one day all things will be placed back into the order in which God intended them to be.  There will be a day when we are no longer judged by the color of our skin.  There will be a day when the only thing that matters is the glory of Christ and that we show Him that glory and worship Him eternally.  How do I know this?  Because the Bible tells me so.

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

One day, Jesus is going to come back to get His children, and when He does, it is going to be a glorious, glorious day.  Jesus is going to come back and He is going to gather His children from every tribe, language, people group, and nation.  Guess what that means?  That means that the color of our skin will no longer matter.  We will all be gathered around the same throne worshipping the same (only) God, and nothing else is going to matter except the glory of the LORD.  Sunday mornings will no longer be the most segregated time on the face of the earth.  Again, we will no longer be judged by our outward appearances.  This should give us grounds to boast in the glory of Christ.

If you have not heard anything else I have said so far, please hear this: Racism is an issue in our culture today.  It has had devastating results for us as a nation since our beginning and it continues to do so.  However, the bigger issue is that as a nation, we need the Gospel more than we ever have before.  Paul writes in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…”  If you have a relationship with Christ, that is great!  I rejoice in that.  If you do not currently have a relationship with the one, true God who will one day make all things new again, please contact me.  I would love to talk to you.  If you do not contact me, please contact someone.

Again, I pray that I have addressed this subject matter in a delicate and respectful manner.  And again, this is not me trying to undermine the issue of racism.  It’s real and it hurts. However, this is me trying to address what I feel is the real issue at stake. My prayer is that God will comfort all of those affected by senseless acts of violence and that, if not already, people will come to know Him through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Come, Lord Jesus, Come.


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