What Is Racism?
By Dan Payne
That question is echoing louder than ever today in light of the mass obsession over the trial of George Zimmerman and its verdict. To find some answers to this question, we have to travel back to ancient Babylon.
“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’ And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.
Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:1, 4, 6-9).
God quashed mankind’s rebellion against Him by scattering them throughout all the earth. What would be an efficient way to immediately clear unruly mobs off the streets? Scramble their communication and you eliminate their ability to organize resistance against authority. God’s method for separating humankind was first according to their language, then according to their family, and finally into their nationality.
“From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations” (Genesis 10:5).
Before Christ came to earth racial separation was God’s institution. After Christ came to earth He was sacrificed to free mankind from the slavery of sin. Now all who trust in Him for their salvation are one in Him. Your national identity is completely blotted out by your identity in 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” (Galatians 3:28).
Pentecost was the descrambler of Babel (Acts chapter 2). The Good News of God was pronounced to everyone in their own language so that they could understand what was being said. God did not want them to be confused by what was being spoken; He wanted them to understand the message of the Gospel. He wanted them to know they could be set free from sin through the blood of Christ.
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:18)
None of us were righteous before Christ died for us. Now we have a righteous standing in the eyes of the Father when we trust in Jesus for our salvation. Unfortunately the majority of the world has not put on Christ. They are not free and still under sin.
“For we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; With their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.’” (Romans 9b-11; 13b-18)
They live according to the order of things before Christ shed His blood for them, the order that includes the separation from the Tower of Babel. They fill the streets with confusion. There is no peace without understanding. Don’t expect the racial divide to close anytime soon apart from the unity of Christ. Only those who are slaves of righteousness are one in Christ, motivated by His love and not the will of man. Just like when the walls came tumbling down in Jericho, only Christ can tear down the walls of racial separation.