We’re first going to have to define racism. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary lists as its first definition:
“a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”
Some say that racism is more than a belief but is a practice of implementing laws and policies or establishing societal norms that discriminate against individuals or groups because of their race, ethnicity or skin color. In America, people are often categorized as those who benefit from or those who are victims of racism. This divisiveness exacerbates relationships, tears at the fabric of our society and often prevents seeing others as individuals made in the image of God.
The answer to your question is found in the Bible. Men and women have repeatedly turned their backs on a loving God who wants, more than anything, to be in relationship with him. Because we are in a constant state of rebellion against God, we no longer pay attention to our moral compasses. We no longer listen to God’s spirit within us that wants to show us how to live in right relationship with God and with our fellow man. As a result, all of us imagine that we know what’s best for ourselves…and we want others to affirm that belief.
So, we seek out like-minded individuals. In doing so, we feel obligated to find fault in others who do not think or act as we do. We seek to minimize the accomplishments of others and think of them as somewhat of lesser value. That, in turn, allows us to imagine that we are somehow superior to others—a foundation of racism. Those attitudes lead to wars, conquest, and the infliction of pain and suffering on others.
Racism, then, is the extension of man’s individual rejection of God and his creation. The fix that God has provided is the transformation of an individual’s heart and mind. It begins with confession of one’s own sins, and a cry to God for forgiveness. Recognizing that we have turned our backs on the God who created the universe and knows everything about us is very sobering. It comes with a realization that the penalty for our sinfulness is greater than we’re willing to bear. That’s why God allowed his son, Jesus, to come to earth and to die on a Roman cross, substituting his death for the death we deserved.
When we accept what he has done for us and let him refocus our lives to be more like him, we will begin to see others as he sees them—not looking on their outward appearance, but on their hearts. That’s God’s fix for racism. That’s why true followers of Christ cannot be racists, and should actively seek to drive racism from society.
Throughout history, Christ-followers have worked to end divisions between peoples. In America, it was predominantly Christians who worked tirelessly to end the scourge of slavery. For example, the nation’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams was a deeply religious Christian who did something no president, before or since, has done. After leaving the White House he fiercely fought against slavery for last 17 years of his life as a Congressman.
Would you like to know how to embrace a faith that leads to an end to racism as the hearts of men and women are aligned with those of Jesus? We encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?
In a world where daily headlines shout bad news 24/7, there remains one story that is not just good news, but the best news for all of mankind for all time. That good news of Christmas dates back to the creation of the world by God and the creation of man, the only creature who was made in God’s image. God intended that the man and woman he created, Adam and Eve, and all of their offspring, would live in perfect harmony with Him. In this ideal world, humans would enjoy perfect fellowship with God by obeying His commands which would, in turn, allow them to experience perfect joy.
The problem is that man rebelled against God, breaking the fellowship and learning that what men and women thought would be freedom, turned into slavery to sin. That brought all the negative consequences that humans experience today–the bad news that that assaults us from without and the pain, suffering, broken relationships, lack of peace and death from within. This is the natural result of breaking fellowship with a perfect God who could not be in fellowship with imperfect humans. Their sins separated them forever from God and ensured that they would suffer throughout eternity for their continued rebellion from God. This is where the Good News breaks through.
God loved his creation so much that he provided a way for men and women to be rescued from the consequences of their sin. God asked his son, Jesus, to take on the sin of all mankind–a substitute sacrifice that would be acceptable to God. Jesus acceped the task, leaving the glory of his father in heaven to come to earth as a baby, live among sinful men, lay down his life on a Roman cross, rise from earthly death, and return to his fathers side.
Jesus, the baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, did all this so that that those who willingly accepted his substitutionary sacrifice might have their relationship to God restored. That brings with it the promise of an eternal life free of the consequences of sin. That’s the good news of Christmas, because Christmas is the celebration of the arrival of Jesus on earth in the form of a human. It’s the celebration of a life that culminates in death on a cross where the sins of all men and women–past, present and future–are paid for by the shedding of Jesus’ blood allowing us to be redeemed through the subsequent resurrection of Jesus.
What does God expect us to do with this knowledge that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s wrath against our sins? He expects us to accept the sacrifice of His son Jesus, turn away from our sin, and have faith that we will experience peace in this life and an eternity of contentment with Him. Christmas is a celebration of this good news, “For unto you a Savior is born who is Christ the Lord.” The final question is, have you believed it and accepted Jesus as your Savior? It is the most important decision a person ever makes.
If you would like to learn more about how you can enter into a relationship with the eternal God who sent his son, Jesus, we encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?
This answer requires us to define two words, SIN and GOOD.
The Bible defines sin not as a bad deed, but rather anything that we do that separates us from an intimate relationship with God. We can recognize how adultery destroys the trust between a husband and wife often leads to separation. That’s what sin is like, an action that seems to be good, or one that we rationalize as good can cause a break in a relationship. Stealing items of value, or lying, or saying something that damages the reputation of another person are all acts that destroy trust and break relationships. We may not feel it at the time, but sinful acts often create feelings of guilt and shame and can lead to depression or worse. The second definition we have to consider is “good”. What do you mean when you say that you are “basically good”? What is your objective standard for measuring goodness? In the Bible we are reminded that no matter how good or righteous we think we are, by God’s standard of holiness and perfection our righteousness is like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) So, it is clear by God’s standard that you are a sinner even when you believe you are a “good” person. You don’t get to place all of your goodness on one side of a scale and expect it to outweigh your sin on the other side of the scale. No matter how much good is attributed to you, if you do not believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you will not be able to experience God’s love and forgiveness. The good news is that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Jesus paid the penalty for our sins at the cross. So now we can experience forgiveness and relief from sin that God offers when we put our trust and faith in Him. That also means that when we stumble into sin again we can seek God’s forgiveness and restore our relationship with Him. When we abide in Christ and walk in the light of God’s Inspired Word we are able to overcome sin and its power in our lives. Are you a follower of Jesus so you can enjoy God’s forgiveness and the abundant and eternal life that is available only in Him? If not, why not do it today.
Yes. But first we need to understand what the word ‘sin’ means. Many people toss the word around as if they get to define sin by their standards, not God’s. In other words, some people think that sin is anything they don’t like. For example, they may look disapprovingly at the way a person dresses, or not approve of the food or drink that someone chooses. In other words, they start judging people. But the Bible has is very clear is that sin is anything that separates man from God. That ranges from committing vile acts against others to becoming so self absorbed that you no longer recognize that you were created by the God who created the universe–the God who made man and woman so he could commune with them and let them experience his infinite love.
Sin causes this gulf between man and God and that, in turn, often causes a gulf between individuals too. Most recognize that infidelity causes great pain and breaks trust. Stealing from an employer is sin and in many cases has dire consequences. Even envy can cause a gulf to open up between another person. Those behaviors and many more that break God’s laws are sin, and yes, that is both serious and dangerous.
You’ve probably heard of the 10 Commandments that God gave to his people, the Israelites, almost 4,000 years ago. They set a standard of God’s holiness that human beings are incapable of attaining. The Commandments point out how sinful human nature really is and why a Savior is required.
What is really serious is that unconfessed sin and failure to repent (turning from sinful ways) results in separation from any relationship with God. The Bible says,
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (NIV)
So the really Good News is that God has provided a way to overcome one’s sinful human nature. The solution is found by repenting and in having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and following Him.
The simple answer to the question is YES! Sin does matter because any sin separates one from an intimate relationship with God just like the sin of adultery destroys the trust between a husband and wife and most often leads to separation. Sin also creates feelings of guilt and shame and can lead to depression or worse.
The real question to consider is; by what standard or definition is a person “good”? The Bible says no matter how good or righteous we think we are by God’s standard of holiness and perfection our righteousness is like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) So, it is clear by God’s standard that you are a sinner even when you believe you are a “good” person.
Therefore, if you are only a good person and do not believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you will not be able to experience God’s love and forgiveness.
The good news is that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Jesus paid the penalty for our sins at the cross. So now we can experience forgiveness and relief from sin that God offers when we put our trust and faith in Him. That also means that when we stumble into sin again we can seek God’s forgiveness and restore our relationship with Him. When we abide in Christ and walk in the light of God’s Inspired Word we are able to overcome sin and its power in our lives.
Are you a follower of Jesus so you can enjoy God’s forgiveness and the abundant and eternal life that is available only in Him? If not, why not do it today.