Through the Lens of The Gospel

By: Student Pastor Michael Matson

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 5:28

Needless to say, we are living in a tumultuous time. If you are like myself; it has been difficult looking at a young man jogging in a neighborhood and losing his life, or another man have his life slowly taken from him in plain view of a camera and not have a sinful thought come through your mind. On top of that, we have witnessed business owners lose their livelihood at the unmerciful hands of rioters, and innocent people lose their lives unjustly through the same acts of lawlessness. How can any human with an ounce of emotion take these images in and not have a sinful reaction? Thankfully, none of this has caught our Lord Jesus by surprise. Even saying that though, how should the Christian respond?                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Unfortunately, too many of us have let the pundits on broadcast news or social media frame our response. We have become very good at regurgitating the talking points of the people we follow on social media, or watch on television at  the expense of being able to give a biblical response to the chaos. For some context, let’s begin by framing our mind around the truth that racism has always existed in the realm of human society. It is in fact a result of our fallen human nature. So much so, that over and over, the Bible addresses the sin of discrimination and racism. I don’t have the time in the space of this writing to exhaustively cover each of these, but I would like to touch on one significant engagement. 

In John 4, Jesus has an encounter with a Samaritan woman. This was not a chance meeting; it was by design. You see, the racial tension between the    Jewish society and the Samaritans pales in comparison to what we are experiencing in America. The Jews committed heinous acts of discrimination towards the Samaritans for generations. The Jews hated the Samaritans so much that they would not even walk on the same dirt as them. But Jesus changed all that when on His way to Galilee, instead of bypassing the very dirt the Jews hated, He choose to walk on it. Because of this, he had an interaction with a woman from Samaria. Think about this, Jesus could have started a revolution against the elite Jewish government and the oppressed Samaritans would have been justified to do so. But instead, Jesus gave the Samaritan woman the understanding, love, kindness, and most importantly the forgiveness of the gospel. In return, the Samaritan woman took the gospel to her own people, and Jesus ended up staying with them for two days. The Samaritan’s had a change of heart, because their hearts had been changed by the gospel. 

Here’s the point…. sinful actions cannot be totally rectified through human measures. I have heard a lot of well-intended Christians say that our current situation needs Jesus. With that, I do not think some of us actually know what we need Jesus to do. Our nation does not need Jesus to simply stop the riots, or change government policies. We need Jesus to change the hearts of the people in America. The racists in our society will only change when their hearts change. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “If anyone (replace anyone with the racist, the bigot, the murderer, the corrupt) is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; new things have come.” 

It’s the gospel and only the gospel of Jesus Christ that saves, that justifies, that sanctifies, and changes the hearts of wicked people. Protesting can’t do that. The talking heads on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox News can’t do that. Donald Trump and Joe Biden can’t do that. Their position alone doesn’t have that power.

But dear Christian, you do! You have the Indwelling Holy Spirit! You have the truth of God’s Word! You have the love of God flowing in you and through you! You have the spirit of reconciliation permeating your very being, because you have been reconciled to a Holy God!  You have the strength and the authority of God Almighty to give a broken world the only medicine that will truly cure it! The only question is……. Will you?