Things Unseen

“Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.  We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.  We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Christ may also be revealed in our body.  For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus Christ, so that Jesus’ life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you… Therefore, we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Second Corinthians 4.7-12, 16-18

Race is the way of the world and it bears repeating that as Christians, we believe that we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3.28) and that Christ is all (Colossians 3.11). Race is the way that the world separates human beings; it is not the way that God defines us. Jesus never employed color. He did not use “race” as a metaphor by which to describe his leadership, his ministry or his relationship to or with the believer. He never used race to describe us (Race is not synonymous with nationality or ethnicity though race has been decribed as a cultural experience.).

And the parable of the good Samaritan is no exception (Luke 10.30-37). The conflict between the two groups was not due to race but a family rivalry that resulted in the formation of two kingdoms after the death of King Solomon, here being northern Israel (The capital was Samaria.) and southern Judea (The capital was Jerusalem.). Sadly, they were all members of the same family: the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel and the conflict continued through the time of Jesus Christ. Even the religious leaders of both groups taught that it was wrong to have any contact with each other. Still, there are those who would put a twenty- first century lens on a first century experience that had nothing to do with race. However, it makes the story, that is a part of the Word of God, a part of the social truth of race as opposed to race being subjected to the truth of the Word of God.

Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth reminds me that though we experience trials, they are not because of the human conditions created by our belief in race or our systematic development of its ideology but because of our spiritual position in Jesus Christ. We must not allow the social distractions of race and the subsequent development of racism, prejudice and stereotypes to overshadow the spiritual reality of sin. This social fight and the sufferings of the ministry that Paul speaks of are not to be equated for the latter is far greater than the former. And there is a reward for those who perservere in the ministry of Jesus Christ. There are no rewards with race and there are no winners. Also, if we are carrying the death of Jesus Christ in us (that is, “in our mortal flesh”), then how are we also able to carry race?

The root of race is not divine but human. Carried upon the shoulders of conflict and flanked by the devoted soldiers of lies, is the truth that race is but an expression of hatred, violence, greed, power and lust. Race is evidence of our fallen nature and our sinful condition.

Race is not a part of the arsenal of our adversary, the accuser of the brethren. Satan did not create race and no cultural group should be described using terms that refer to the demonic. There are no white devils, black devils or red devils for that matter. Race should not associated with being a believer or assumed as part of the treatment described by Paul in the above- mentioned passage. Race is not a part of the spiritual warfare that he describes to the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 6.11-18). And even so, Paul describes it as light because of who we suffer on behalf of. Race is a social fight that has historically been supported, endorsed, enforced and protected by Christians. Who are we suffering on behalf of when we fight for or about race? What is race bringing about for us through our suffering on behalf of or in the name of it? I assure you that it is not spiritual and it’s not eternal because race is seen.

But, “we don’t look at the things which are seen but the things which are unseen; for the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal.” As Christians, our perspective on life should be eternal not temporal. So, what are you looking at?

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Seeking to lead words and people to their highest and most authentic expression, I am the principal architect of a race/less world.

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