Black lives matter to God

The issue of racial discussion is once again part of the national and global conversation in view of the recent killings of black people, especially in the US. White Christians now find themselves struggling with how to understand, respond to, and engage what many black Christians see as distinct instances of racial injustice.

Some Christians are posing questions as to whether they should affirm the dignity of black lives with the words “black lives matter”. The phrase is affiliated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization. However, the BLM organization professes things that are distinctly contrary to the Scripture.

Biblical and theological solutions

It is imperative that we Christians must begin our opposition to racism with a biblical and theological analysis of the problem. Also we must start with a biblical and theological presentation of the solution to the problem.

Christians must be rigorous exegetes of both the Bible and of our own social locations. This is as we use common-grace resources and common sense under the authority of Scripture to expunge the evil of racism in the power of the Spirit.

We must cautiously and critically evaluate every idea in any organization in light of Scripture and under the authority of Scripture. We must discard teachings in any organization that are contrary to the Scripture.

Created in the image of God

However, the latest criticisms against Christians who affirm the scriptural truth of black dignity using the words “black lives matter” seem odd. After all, the Bible affirms black lives are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–27), and our country has a history of dehumanizing black people. The words “black lives matter” affirm a scriptural truth about black people.

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God created humans in his image. From Genesis (3:15) to Matthew’s gospel (28:16–20) to Revelation (5:9), the Bible speaks distinctly about God’s vision to restore everything Adam and Eve lost in the Garden of Eden. In addition, it is His vision to redeem ethnically diverse individuals from different tribes, tongues, peoples, and nations.

Reconciliation

Through Christ’s death and resurrection, God makes sinners right with himself (Rom. 5:6–10), reconciles sinners to each other (Eph. 2:11–22), and restores and reconciles the whole universe (Col. 1:19–20). Paul refers to this cosmic redemption as the disarming of earthly and demonic powers (Col. 2:14–15) and the unification of all things and all people in Christ.

Racism is opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and against God’s vision to redeem and unify creation through Christ. God recreates through Christ a diversity of different tongues, tribes, peoples, and nations into one new (but diverse) people.

An already kingdom

God commands us to live pursuing a reconciled community with one another and with our neighbors in anticipation of the age to come (Is. 65:17–25; Rom. 8:19–22). God’s kingdom is an already-and-not-yet kingdom, whose king is a brown-skinned Jewish Messiah.

The kingdom is filled with different people and diverse stories of beautiful image-bearers who’ve tasted the salvation of the one God. They have tasted the salvation of one Lord, and the one Spirit by faith in Christ (Eph. 4:4–6).

Empowered to walk in the Spirit

As Christians, we must deliberately oppose racism because God through Christ both commanded us and empowered us to walk in love with the power of the Spirit. One way Christians walk in the Spirit is when we love our neighbors as ourselves (Gal. 5:13–14).

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We should not use our liberty in Christ to pursue our sinful passions in accordance with the flesh. Those who live to gratify their flesh will not inherit eternal life (vv. 16–21).

One’s conspiracy in racism may prove one is enslaved to the flesh and to its seductive powers of evil. We must oppose racism whenever and wherever it appears because we are new creatures in Christ (2 Cor 5:17-21).

We thank God that Genesis 1:26–27 clearly state God created all humans in his image and bestows upon us God-given dignity. Furthermore,  that God promises to redeem us, to reconcile us, and to restore the entire creation through Christ are all established in these verses.

A call to arise

When black lives are dehumanized and treated as though they don’t matter just because they’re black, Christians everywhere should be able to rise up. They should assert without hesitation and with their Bibles open that black lives certainly matter. They should establish that black lives have dignity, worth, and value, just as non-black lives certainly matter, have worth, dignity, and value.

God created black people in his image. God redeems black lives in Christ. Black lives matter to God because the Bible teaches they matter.

Source : Jarvis J. Williams

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