During the last two nights the American public had the opportunity to watch the Democratic Presidential Debates. The current debates signal the beginning of a long battle to determine who will be the next President. One of the issues in the debates and that is being replayed over and over in our public discourse is the issue of race. There are few conversations today where the charge and accusation of racism is not being made by someone against someone else. For many, the issues surrounding racism have grown weary and divisive, mainly because there seems to be no end in sight or way to resolve the issue in a satisfying way that will allow our divided nation to move forward.
The most important thing that could be said about issues surrounding race and racism is that it is a spiritual issue, not a political one. Sadly, many of the people that talk the most about racism seem to have little interest in really solving the problem. For them, divisive racial issues create power over others and allow them to control public discourse for their political advantage. The real hope that we all should be praying for is that all our leaders, political and otherwise, would begin to understand that unless there is a deeper understanding and discussion of race taking place we will never find a way to come together.
For there to be any progress on racial issues there needs to be a deeper understanding of what connects every person in the world into the human family and how God has created an amazing and beautiful way to bring everyone together to reflect that common humanity. That understanding comes down to seeing and discovering that every race is united by blood. Every person on earth, whatever their racial makeup, has the exact same color blood...red. This same red blood can be donated to members of every race to save their lives. Whites can donate blood to blacks. Blacks can donate blood to whites. Asians can donate blood to Eskimos and Eskimos can donate to Asians. In other words, blood is the singular commodity that unites every race and it is the one thing that we can give or receive from one other that can bring forth life. The picture in this article is of a person donating blood to another person. Every day in the world, 1000's of people give and receive blood from one another to bring forth life. Therefore, it is a Biblical understanding of the meaning behind blood that stops all racism immediately.
How amazing then that this one thing that unites every race together, namely red blood, is the exact same thing that God chose to unite His people to one another and ultimately to Himself. It turns out that the entire story of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is connected by the blood of Christ and what the Lord had to do to bring people together in Him by forgiving their sin. Consider this wonderful passage from Revelation 5:9 that connects the blood of the Lord Jesus to the redemption of every race around the world,
And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation."
In this passage, the redeemed are singing a song to the Lord that recognizes the power of the blood of Christ and how that blood was the one thing that brought everyone together from all the races and nations of the world.
And while the Lord's plan is simple and beautiful to behold, it is virtually never discussed in public or even much in the church world. In last night's Democratic Presidential debate there were several rancorous discussions about race, but no mention of God at all, let alone anything about our common humanity in Christ that comes from the blood. Surely this absence of any talk about the Lord seems somewhat strange and noticeable to leaders of a nation that has "In God We Trust" as our national motto and printed on all our money. Sadly, it appears that God has disappeared from our political discourse for the most part and all we are left with is racial and identity politics, division, conflict and a lust for power and control over others.
This leads to an important point that needs to be made during this time of racial division and rancor. The ONLY hope for our nation and our communities is for the real church to speak out about these issues with the simple message outlined above. Most likely 95% of American Christians have never heard that the blood of Christ unifies the blood of our common humanity. For the most part our churches have lost basic Christian truth and doctrine that is desperately needed to keep the Gospel message powerful in bringing forth cultural change for the good. Without these glorious revelations and discoveries in place, the church will be more and more influenced by politics and culture than Christ. That is why these racial conflict and resentments are alive and growing in the churches of America and around the world.
When we understand these powerful Biblical truths, there can be a rebirth, discovery and celebration of our common humanity as blood-red people in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord has called the church to model and speak out about this redeemed humanity to the world, a modeling and message that is rare today. The Apostle Paul wrote about these issues in Galatians 3:26-28 where we hear,
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Only the blood of Christ brings meaning and purpose to our blood. Only the blood of Christ unifies all of us in Him to find our new life and common humanity, irrespective of racial and ethnic issues. That is the singular answer to our current political division and national battles over race and racism.
When I was ordained to Gospel ministry over 30 years ago, my ordination was led and preached by Dr. Abraham Lincoln Reynolds, a black pastor from my home church on the south side of Chicago. And while the Lord called me to a largely white church as a white man, not a single person cared about race on that day. Race was not seen. All we saw was the blood of Christ and our common humanity that at that moment united black and white and two very different churches together. My ordination day was a glimpse of glory and what our Lord had done to end racism and all sin. Without that spirit growing in our nation all we can be left with is increasing chaos and rancor until the Lord Jesus returns.
Dr. Reynolds was named after President Abraham Lincoln, a president that brought an end to slavery through his Emancipation Proclamation signed on January 1, 1863. Dr. Reynolds spent his life as a black pastor preaching the Gospel on the Southside of Chicago and brought hundreds of people from different races together in the Lord Jesus Christ. Dr. Reynolds was my pastor and friend and left me with a wonderful model of how all racism ends in Christ. Dr. Reynolds went to glory many years ago, but his legacy to me about the Lord and race issues will always remain.
Many people today see in our current political and racial division a replay of the American Civil War of the 1860's. The current rancor, anger and conflict in the Nation are not sustainable. That racial rancor, anger and conflict was in full display on the stage of the Democratic Presidential debates last night. That is not a spirit any of us want to run and guide our nation as we face the future. Whatever our political views or sympathies, we need to come to a recognition that only the Lord Jesus Christ can solve our racial issues and bring us together. It must start with the church as a witness and model to the culture all around us.
Just before the Civil War, then Senatorial candidate Abraham Lincoln quoted the Lord Jesus from Matthew 12: 22-28 on June 16, 1858 in a speech in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln said that no nation could be divided for long and stand as a nation. Lincoln was right! Within 7 years the Civil War would divide the nation with over 600,000 casualties from the shedding of blood, not that of the Lord Jesus Gospel for reconciliation, but their own blood in a senseless display on the battlefield.
America stands at the crossroads of a new civil war, if you will, of racial and political division as another Presidential election is on the horizon. Every Christian needs to pray for and vote for candidates that will bring us together as a nation and who will not subject us to constant division through racial politics with no real solution in sight. We also need to pray for our Christian leaders and the churches of America to powerfully bring forth the message of the Gospel. That Gospel brings the true revelation of how blood brings an end to all racism in and through the blood of Christ and the finished work of the cross for our world. May that message ring out each day from our lives and hearts until our Lord comes again.