The word equality is a powerful, loaded concept. The phrase “racial equality” may be an oxymoron for some, but I believe that Christians are all one in Christ. Men and women, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, all stand on equal ground because of what Jesus accomplished for us. In essence, everyone has equal access to everything that Jewish men had under the Old Covenant. However, the word equality does not mean “sameness.” That’s key because we still have unique differences although we experience “oneness” in Christ. The cultural superiority of race, class, and gender is eclipsed by the newness of life in Christ, which conquers death, sin, and prejudice. The hands and feet of Jesus (Christians) no longer have the distinctions to be superior over each other.
We must daily renew our minds to have the mind of Christ and steer away from prejudice and the spirit of racism, which is a spirit of division, tension, and strife. This spirit is a stronghold that has been in place for centuries and caused men to look down upon the marginalized. Still, strongholds can be broken because the Holy Spirit can disrupt things in a person’s life to bring about correction. Unfortunately, the church has reached a point where it also has to renew. It must become an institution that doesn’t use the worldly principles of greed, prejudice, and inequalities that cause division. Historically, these principles were in place in our nation when the church promoted the inferiority of slaves. For example, here is a snippet of a sermon entitled “Know It All To Know Nothing” delivered to slaves by a lawyer named Thomas Bacon in 1743. This sermon was one of many that promoted the idea that slaves were inferior beings.
Your fellow slaves are more likely to be seen as your brethren. You have the same complexion, the same station, you inter-marry. As poor and ignorant as you are, you still have the capacity to do good. You can behave as brothers and sisters, and be decent to one another. If you were only capable of terrible behavior—idleness, drunkenness, thieving, swearing, etc.—you’d be beyond any hope of redemption. But you are not. You have the capacity for goodness within your own souls, your own families, your relationships amongst the slave class and with respect to your masters. In order to maintain your position in the eyes of the Lord, you must behave well and you must behave well to your families and your masters.
This messaging only benefited the slave owners and programmed the minds of the slaves to be inferior. This may have been the tradition of our ancestors and lineage, but we must elevate our thinking beyond being inferior. We are perfectly and wonderfully made in God’s image, and we are all one, unified in Christ. Old things have passed away, and all things are new. As Christians, we are all in Christ. We are Abraham’s seed and heirs of God according to His promises.
Once we make a quality decision to see ourselves and others as God does, we will discover and understand that we are not defined by race, class, background, gender, or any other classification the world places on us. We are all unique and special in our right, but we are all equal because we are in Christ. This makes us all worthy of His many blessings and not superior or inferior to anyone. We can defy the stereotypes, odds, and norms by surrendering our hearts and minds to Christ. As we grow in Him, the importance of promoting harmony through racial equality increases, and the propensity to encourage division decreases.