Christ Above Culture

Scripture shows us how the problem of racism can be fixed immediately when it is dealt with as a sin problem rather than a skin problem, as a spiritual and theological issue rather than merely a social and political issue.

The solution to the sin of racism is in Galatians 2, the well-known incident in which Peter decided that it was okay to hang out with Gentile believers – that is, until the boys from his Jewish hood showed up. Peter stopped having fellowship with the Gentiles because he feared what his Jewish brethren would say.

Then it got bad. “The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy” (Galatians 2:13). Even Barnabas followed Peter out the door of the Gentile soul shack on the other side of the tracks in Antioch.

There was only one problem: Paul saw it. Paul was equally committed to his Jewish history, culture, and people, yet he publicly excoriated Peter’s non-Christian action, saying that Peter was “not straightforward about the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:14). The key point is truth. An objective standard transcended Peter’s cultural commitment.

The fact that even an apostle could not get away with such an action is very instructional and should not be marginalized in its importance and contemporary application. No one is excused for placing culture above Christ, or race above righteousness. God’s standard reigns supreme, and cultural preferences are to be denounced publicly when a Christian fails to submit to God’s standard. Scripture, and only the Scripture, is the final authority by which racial relationships are determined.

Verse: “But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” Galatians 2:14

Prayer: God, I ask for Your hand of peace between the races in our nation. Calm hearts of hatred and breathe into each of us a spirit of unity, forgiveness, acceptance and of love.