Of all people on God’s green earth, Christians should be the most passionate about racial justice. If what the Bible says (repeatedly) about humanity is true, we should abhor racism in all its forms and work tirelessly to see it rooted out of any society in which we dwell.
I mention this because, when Christians begin to speak about racial justice or other issues that have political overtones (with the exception of abortion—a curious inconsistency), inevitably the charge comes from other Christians that we are promoting a social gospel. “We must stick to the gospel,” they say, as though the gospel doesn’t have enormous implications not just for personal, but corporate holiness as well.
Consider with me, if you would, how centered the issue of racial justice is on the gospel of Jesus Christ. The foundation for racial equality comes on page one of God’s good Book: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Every human bears the very image of God, and thus possesses inherent, inestimable worth. This is why God forbids the taking of life (Genesis 9:5-6), and reminds us repeatedly that the unjust taking of life—as in the case of George Floyd and the many others who preceded him—pollutes the very land in which we live (e.g., Numbers 35:33).
And because God our king reigns with perfect justice and righteousness (as in Isaiah 9:6-7), he abhors unjust, unrighteous structures and systems. Throughout Psalms, Proverbs, and the prophets, God condemns those who flout justice for personal gain. Lest we think that, because we haven’t personally acted unjustly for personal gain, we needn’t bother about these verses, God reminds us, “Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered” (Proverbs 21:13).
Finally, in Christ Jesus, God has put to death the hostility that otherwise exists between different (ethnic, socioeconomic, religious) groups, tearing down the dividing wall of hostility between us (see Ephesians 2:14-18). Christ is gathering to himself persons from every people, tribe, language, and nation, in order to display the power of the gospel to unite those who would otherwise divide. What we have in common in Christ is infinitely greater than any difference we might see. We are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). Allowing racial injustice to divide our churches, then, is an affront to the reconciling power of Christ’s gospel.
Christian, do not stay silent. Speak up for those who bear the same image you do, but who are afflicted, marginalized, oppressed (Proverbs 31:8-9). Work for righteousness and justice in this land (Micah 6:8). Display the power of the gospel in the unity of the church, as you stand with your brothers and sisters in Christ with a different color skin (Ephesians 4:4-6).