The passing of another Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday brings reflection on the Biblical view of the relationship between people of different ethnic groups. The Bible speaks of a person’s nation (ethnos) rather than "race."
When Paul preached on the Areopagus (Mar’s Hill) in ancient Athens, he reminded the cultured Gentiles that the God of the Bible is the God of the nations: "And he has made from one blood every nation (ethnos) of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…."
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul says that for those who have put on Christ, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (3:28).
What matters is not the ethnos to which you belong in the flesh but whether or not you have been made part of the "holy nation (ethnos)" composed of those called "out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9). Have you by grace through faith come to know Christ? This is what matters.
When Southern Baptists revised our confession, the Baptist Faith and Message, in 2000, an article was added that addressed "The Christian and the Social Order." Included was this line: "In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography."
Though in this age there remain differences among men in language, cultures, and customs, what matters now is whether or not we are in Christ. Let us put racism behind us and preach the gospel to all nations!
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle