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Today’s Truth

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.

Let’s Pray

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.

25 Responses to “One Christ, Many Colors”

  1. Leigh says:

    Wonderfully stated! I will share today! God bless!

  2. Sarah says:

    The hardest thing about race in church is even having it acknowledged. Rarely do pastors bring up or allude to race issues within the church or elsewhere.

    • Barb Roose says:

      Sarah, I pray that more and more pastors will step us and talk about race. However, you can begin the dialogue in your community and church. Prayfully consider what God might be calling you to do. I have a resource page called The (G)Race Project that offers helpful starting points to help you as you pray about what God might want you to do.

  3. Rhoda Banks says:

    I love this piece! I personally believe that if we’re not united here on earth, loving one another unconditionally then our chances of making it in are at risk. There will not be segregation or race in Heaven. I pray we can learn to celebrate differences and leverage our similarities and focus on leaving the earth a better place than it was before we arrived.

  4. Darla says:

    I’m a White woman, married to a black man for 20+years, with two biracial sons. We have lived in our beautifully diverse neighborhood for 21years. I walk my dog twice a day and have the pleasure of meeting new neighbors or those just passing through. Many of those I come in contact with are African American. I’m not blind to the fact that many times the exchange between those who “don’t look like us “ can be uncomfortable for some ? Uncomfortable enough, to not engage at all. As I walk every morning, I pray that God will work through me. Saying hello to someone who feels alone. Smiling at someone who hadn’t seen a friendly face in days. I pray His light shines through me.
    The race issue in my opinion, will unfortunately always be…well, an issue ? However, little by little, through Him, WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE ! Sometimes all it takes is a smile, or a “good morning “ to bridge a gap that we’ve been trying to repair for CENTURIES !!!

    • Barb Roose says:

      Hi Darla, thank you for telling us about your beautiful family, your life experience and sharing such practical wisdom today for those who need a few practical next steps. Blessings to you!

  5. Sherri says:

    Bless you for acknowledging this truth and allowing God’s love and direction to flow through your sharing of scripture! I have a few sisters in Christ of another race and I see how uncomfortable they get when we discuss issues of today’s world. But God ALWAYS bring us back to HIS word and we continue to love and grow through it.
    What a MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!!
    Continue to have these discussions with a joyful spirit of the Lord. You never know who is listening and who is watching. Continue to be a light in this dark world!!

    • Barb Roose says:

      Thank you for your encouragement, Sherri! Talking about race is hard, but if God created us with different colors and cultures, He does want us to talk about it. I pray that God continues to use you to be a light on this topic as well as you point people to Jesus and God’s dream of unity amongst believers. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comment.

  6. Sandi says:

    I don’t struggle with race at all. I struggle with the people who think they are better than me and that think they are smarter than everyone else. Lol

  7. Laura says:

    Wow this is so powerful and beautifully said. I can’t agree more!We are not identified by our outward appearance, God looks to our heart and soul. We are indeed all one in Christ.

  8. Carolyn says:

    I enjoyed this devotion today. I used to go to a predominately Black Church but am now in a very diverse Church where there are 14 different languages spoken. We are from all over the world, I love it! I love it for many different reasons mainly the Word of God and only the Word of God is foremost (no excess rules, by-laws etc.) but also because we are one in Christ. Thank you for sharing this devotion today!

    • Barb Roose says:

      Hi Carolyn! Thank you joining today’s conversation and sharing about your church. I’m sure that there are many readers who can’t imagine such a diverse church, so thank you for letting everyone know that diverse churches do exist! We are one in Christ and I love that you get to see how beautifully colorful that looks each week at church.

  9. Carol says:

    Thank you and Blessings to you, Barb for opening this subject today!
    I know I stand alone in this subject in my circle of Christian friends, and once we recognize the issue of race and unity in the church, God will be served!
    Apostle Paul’s writing, “for you are all one in Christ Jesus” is a verse that has been ringing in my ears, for years.
    WE, the Church, are the representatives of Jesus. We have to start to realize God, the Creator, made all of us in His image.
    Our mission is to go, grow and gather ALL, who are far from God.
    Continued blessings in your writing ministry. You definitely,made me shout,AMEN this am!

    • Barb Roose says:

      Carol, thank you for your courage in caring about unity in Christ, especially when it comes to the topic of racial divide in the church. It can be tough to stand as a long voice, but I pray that your passion and conviction continues to influence the other believers around you. Thanks for stopping by Girlfriends in God today and encouraging others with your comment!

  10. Daphne says:

    Great devotional Barb! It really prompted me to think and commit to do better. God bless you!

  11. Debbie says:

    Good morning, “I can only imagine” comes to mind. The glimpse of eternal life depicted in this message is amazing and encouraging in understanding the need for unity. When I think of “race” I don’t limit my thoughts to the black community’ but instead I look around at the diversity in cultures,color,language etc…

    I struggle with negative thoughts about the growth of diversity in the US and selfishly react in questions such as why this is happening? Taking a step back and really digging into this message I am understanding that Gods Grace is a privilege,and that same Grace is given to everyone regardless of skin color. God loves each of us, and I need to love and not question the plans of our Mighty God.

    My heart and my mind are renewed with thoughts of compassion and empathy for ALL gods children. I’m seeking a more unified spirit to honor God and love all people, in the spirit of unity, including division in my own family. I seek to build relationships that will go into my eternal life with God,celebrating and worshipping with my brothers and sisters. The eyes of my heart are opened and feelings of shame for my negative thoughts are revealed. I approach the throne of Gods Grace seeking forgiveness, and the ability to see my brothers and sisters through Gods eyes. Amazing Grace…in his precious love thank you.

    • Barb Roose says:

      Debbie, thank you for joining the conversation today. I love that you’ve got vision for how you are working to honor God’s dream for unity amongst believers.

  12. Anne says:

    In my experience, one of the best way to break down boundaries is to work together towards a common goal! About five years ago, I felt God prompting me to start a blanket making group along with some other women at my church. As our group has grown, it has become multi-generational and multi-racial and inter-church. Although we have cultural differences, we all love working together in order to bless people going through a difficult time of life with the gift of a handmade quilt. This common goal brings us unity and also gives us the opportunity to get to know one another better, bringing understanding for cultural differences.

    • Barb Roose says:

      All of the YESES right here, Anne! Thank you for sharing how you listened to God’s whisper and allowed Him to use you to bring others together to shine the light of Christ in a tangible way. That’s so inspiring!

  13. Maryellyn says:

    Your GIG email today was well written and probably more true than I want to believe it would be possible based in this day and age and on what is my understanding on what it is to be a Christian. Jesus was about “inclusion” and love…not about exclusion and hate. Why can’t we be more Christ-like in our lives?
    I find it rather amazing that I grew up with no racial bigotry either in my family or in the churches that I attended. Guess I was blessed. But, I do admit, that because our neighborhoods defined the church membership we were essentially a white community and church.
    It’s interesting though that along the way into adulthood, I didn’t sense any polarization in my various churches based on racial issues, but I did based on political issues. Wow. I’m sure that’s another interesting issue to address.
    I admit that I don’t understand how we can study the life of Jesus and not set aside all of the things that can and apparently do separate us and instead focus on the things that should unite us. It’s been happening since the days of Adam and Eve in the garden and still we confront the hubris of humans. When will we ever learn?

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8