There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28, NLT).
Friend to Friend
Close your eyes for a moment and picture who you will see in heaven. Perhaps you’ll see the face of that beloved grandma who prayed for your salvation or the women from your Bible study. You know who else you’ll see in heaven? Jesus, loving people from all different colors and cultures, many who will look nothing like you. Yet, in eternity we’ll stand unified worshipping God together and proclaiming His name with one voice.
If we’re going to worship God with one voice for all eternity, what is keeping us from worshipping and serving God with that kind of unity today?
One of the most uncomfortable barriers to our unity as believers in Christ is the topic of race. During a discussion after one of his speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told an audience that “We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America.”
To be clear, our struggle with race in America isn’t unique. In ancient times, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Jewish believers in the Galatian church imploring them to fully embrace their Gentile brothers and sisters with Christlike love, not discrimination. Paul’s priority was the gospel and he knew that as the gospel’s power began to bring down the walls of divisions between believers, their unity would overflow into the world.
Today’s truth offers an inspiring and challenging vision for us today: “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28 NLT).”
In Paul’s day, the gospel meant that Gentiles, women, and slaves were now on the same level as the men and religious leaders. Imagine the beautiful scandal in that! It would be like a server at a country club strolling into the main dining area, taking a seat at the best table, and being served as if he or she was a top member of the club. The gospel means that every believer is a top member in God’s kingdom.
When Paul says that we’re all one in Christ, does that mean we’re to ignore our differences? Not at all! When it comes to the gospel, Paul teaches that everyone is an equal heir to the promises of God. There’s no room, space, or place for jealousy, pride, hatred or superiority because all of us are recipients of God’s precious promises.
For many years, I served as the only black staff member at my large, nearly all-Caucasian church. One of the most helpful examples that I watched during my years on staff was my senior pastor’s commitment to having lunch with the black pastors in our community several times a month. Those pastoral lunches also created opportunities for real conversation, breaking down barriers that divided black pastors and white pastors.
Eventually, our church began partnerships with black churches that still exist today and together, our unified presence shares the gospel with our community in order to make a lasting and positive impact for eternity.
I define unity as a “gathering of imperfect people passionately committed to something greater than themselves.” Unity is powerful because our human nature is to reject our differences and tear each other down. Lucky for us, the gospel of grace recognizes our shortcomings as human beings. As believers, we’re united by the gospel that frees us to stand together and share Jesus’s message with the world.
Could it be that in the midst of all the divisions we have as believers, we have an extraordinary opportunity to show the world—especially those who are far from God—what the gospel looks like through our unity? Is there an opportunity to partner with believers of another color or culture in your community or online? Let’s never forget that unity is the vehicle that can transport the gospel to the world!
What is one way that you can create community with someone that is different from you? Click comment and let’s share.
God, I am committed to championing unity with all believers! Help me to see and treat all people with the same love and value that You show them. And in those times when it’s hard, I will allow Your Spirit to work in me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What do you find uncomfortable or difficult when it comes to discussing race and the church?
As you reflect on Paul’s teaching on how we are all one in Christ, what can you do to connect with other believers who do not look like you?
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s content is from Barb’s new Bible study, Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ. This six-week Bible study on the book of Galatians teaches you how to find freedom from following religious rules and any fear of not being enough for God. Barb’s study includes six powerful Freedom Principles and application exercises that equip you to break free from fear and experience God’s great adventure of joy and purpose for your life.
© 2021 by Barb Roose. All rights reserved.