The Biblical Story of Overcoming Social Divisions

picture of a painting of chairs gathered around a table set for a mealWhy should Christians care about racism and justice issues and social divisions? Because overcoming social divisions is at the heart of the biblical story, at the heart of the gospel. For Christians, acknowledging the ways we have contributed to social divisions and participating in their healing is integral to knowing the fullness of God’s work in our world. 

The Biblical Story and Social Divisions

We see the biblical story of overcoming social divisions when Paul writes, at the center of his letter to the Ephesians:

“This mystery [of the gospel] is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise of Christ Jesus.”

Heirs together.
Members together.
Sharers together.

The Family of God

Together, together, together. Paul writes that the hidden secret God has finally made known in and through Jesus is that both Jew and Gentile (all the non-Jewish people) are both, together, the family of God. 

Elsewhere, Paul writes that in Christ, the dividing lines between male and female, slave and free, are also no longer relevant. If we translate these passages into our day, once again we have to ask how God wants to welcome people who are on opposite sides of our social dividing lines and bring them together, together, together, into the family of God. 

Distinctions

None of this means that our very real cultural distinctions, historical experiences, and diverse individual characteristics don’t matter. None of this means that God is “colorblind.” 

What it does mean is that those distinctions should never create a hierarchy of human value. They should never honor one person or one group above another. They should never become the basis for systems of oppression. 

Rather, in Christ, we get to participate in undoing the divisions and knowing ourselves as children of God, together.


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Hi, I’m Amy Julia.

I write about faith, family, disability, and privilege.

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