What Do We Need To Say About Racism As Disciples of Jesus?

As disciples of Jesus, we would like to talk to people about racism and how we are striving to overcome it; but what exactly do we need to say?
Here are some quick thoughts and Scripture references to remember when speaking with others about racism in the world (and unfortunately in the church).
“We know that we have come to know [Jesus] if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:3-6).
At its core, being a disciple of Jesus is simply imitating and obeying Him (through the supernatural empowerment and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit).
“You heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24)
As we imitate and obey Jesus as His disciples, we are conformed to His image. As we are conformed to His image, we are re-conformed to the image of God that we were originally created to be. In doing so, we fulfill our original purpose of rendering unto Him the glory He is due.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:14-18).
As we are conformed to the image of Jesus (the One who reconciled all races through His death on the Cross) we also become reconcilers who put to death the hostility between races by crucifying our old, fallen (racist) selves.
And as we are re-conformed to mankind’s original purpose as the image of God, it unites humanity rather than dividing them. All men are both equally created and equally fallen; and therefore equally in need of rescue, redemption, and restoration.
“You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Colossians 3:9-15).
Rather than judge men by their race or the sins of their race, we simply see them as fallen men in need of restoration into the image of God that they were originally created to be.
Racism in the life of a believer is simply an indication of an immature disciple (or in the worst case, a false believer). If you see a believer being racist, it simply means they need to be better discipled (or saved to begin with).
Ultimately, the re-conformity of men into the image of God, through conformity to the image of Jesus (through imitation of Him as His disciple), is the only real solution to overcoming racism in as much as it can be overcome in the current fallen state of creation.
All other solutions of men are tainted by both their fallenness and the deception of Satan.
Finally, we must realize that racism (along with all other forms of fallenness) will not be completely overcome until Jesus returns and totally restores both His disciples and the rest of creation to complete perfection.
If you would like to learn more about what it means to imitate and obey Jesus as His disciple, and to be conformed to His image, start here and follow the link at the end of each article to the next one: The Four Principles of Discipleship…
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