Last Sunday, we studied what the Bible has to say about a very emotional topic in our society: racism. Before studying for that sermon, I did not realize just how universal the biblical emphasis is on the Gospel’s truly being for all—all income levels, all education levels, all criminal backgrounds, and, yes, all ethnicities. God wants people of all kinds to be saved—for His glory. (For a tiny sampling, check out Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 96:3-4; Romans 3:28-30; Galatians 3:28; and Ephesians 3:6.) What a tremendous privilege and responsibility we have: to welcome people of all kinds into our hearts, arms (post-COVID!), and church buildings without a second thought as to their backgrounds.
I do not claim to be an expert on the practical application of that duty. However, we must all make strides every day to walk “in step with the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:14). Perhaps this duty is uniquely important every time we open the doors of our church building for worship or other gatherings. As Paul said in Colossians 3:11, “Here [in the Church] there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” In light of that, may I suggest five very practical goals for which we can aim to aid in God’s goal of being glorified by one people made up of different people from all the peoples of the Earth.
- Invite people of different ethnic backgrounds to come to church with you. Give us a chance to show how God changes people.
- Be uncomfortably intentional about welcoming newcomers (of every race) every week. Some are naturally good at and comfortable with this; some are not; but we must all make an effort. Make a weekly aim to welcome someone you don’t know. The loneliest place in the world is feeling alone in a room full of people. Talk to the people you don’t know.
- Be glad and thankful and welcoming when new people of any and every background walk into our doors.
- Spend a few minutes thinking about the cross of our Lord Jesus and what it means (cf. Ephesians 2:11-22).
- Pray toward more wisdom, sensitivity, compassion, love, and empathy.
I am not an expert at any of those 5 goals, and I suspect that most of us will fail at living out one (or more) or them weekly. Despite that, though, may we all strive to show the glory of God to our world by being what and who he wants to be in every aspect of our lives—including this one. As the Psalmist (96:3-4) wrote, “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.”