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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, July 25 2019

Racism and the Bible

Some think God favours one race above another, because ancient Israel was the nation through which God worked in the Old Testament, but this is a false assumption.

God makes it clear that no one race of people is superior to another. On the contrary, He makes a point of telling Israel, the nation He chose to work with in the Old Testament, that “the stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34).

However, some have felt that Israel and its descendants are racially superior to those around them. God has gone to great lengths to show us that this is absolutely not the case.

Some of the Jews of Christ’s day viewed themselves as superior to those around them because of their descent from Abraham, and saw their salvation as secure because of their lineage. John the Baptist told a handful of these Jews, “Do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones” (Matthew 3:9).

Peter was given a revelation by God to show him what had been true from the very beginning: that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34, King James Version). The gentiles were just as much a part of God’s plan as those descended from Israel—neither group superior to the other. Peter’s very next sentence, as recorded in Acts 10:35 in the New King James Version, removes all doubt concerning what characteristics God pays attention to: “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (emphasis added).

Nationality, lineage and race do not determine where we stand with God. People like Ruth, who has her own book in the Old Testament, or Rahab, who appears in the faith chapter (Hebrews 11), or Luke, a follower of Christ, were all gentiles who found a place in God’s Word. Conversely, Israel, God’s chosen people, suffered continued defeat and near-annihilation because of their insistence on disobeying God’s Word (Hosea 4:6).

The Bible in no way supports the superiority of any ethnic group above another. The eternal distinction is between those who follow God’s way of life, and those who do not. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).