Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Curse Of Racial Superiority

As I think about Charlottesville and the misguided and satanic attempts to blend the teachings of Christ with any form of racial superiority, hatred, or bigotry, I think about Paul's letter to the Galatians. The people who made up the church in Galatia were probably Celtic settlers from Gaul, a region of western Europe that encompassed France. They were ethnically, religiously, and culturally very different from the first Christians in Jerusalem, but when they heard and believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ they became one with every true follower of Christ.

There was a group in the early church who were either legalistic Jewish Christians or simply false teachers who accepted some of Jesus' teaching. They were called Judaizers. They believed they were superior to the Galatians, because they were Jews and still followed Jewish tradition. One of these traditions was circumcision, which was the mark of the covenant God made with the Jewish people. It was not, however, a mark of the covenant God made with Christians. No external mark makes one a Christian. "For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift, not from works, so that no one can boast." (Eph. 2:8-9)

When these Judaizers came to Galatia, they would not eat with the Galatians. They felt they were superior. They also believed the Galatians were inferior spiritually, because the Galatians had not been physically circumcised. Apparently some in the Galatian church forgot that they were saved by grace through faith, that they were not inferior because they were of another race and tradition, and that all who follow Jesus Christ are one. So, when Paul heard about this attitude and this heretical teaching, he was incensed. To the believers in Galatia, he wrote, "You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified." (Gal. 3:1) He then went on to remind them, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:28) And, regarding the Judaizers he was graphic, writing, "I wish those who are disturbing you might also let themselves be mutilated." (Gal. 5:12) In other words, Paul wished those who were teaching the Galatians they must be circumcised in order to be Christians would go beyond circumcision and actually have themselves emasculated, turning them into eunuchs.

There is no room in the true Christian faith for any attitude of racial superiority; white, black, brown or otherwise. There is no Biblical justification for it. It is sin and it requires repentance. It also reveals a great depth of misunderstanding about how great our need is for the grace of God. To think that my skin color could make me spiritually superior is to preach another Gospel. To that, he wrote, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, a curse be on him!" (Gal. 1:8)  He didn't call that a mistake, or an opinion. He went so far as to say "a curse be on" whoever believes or teaches such a thing.