Focal passage: Ephesians 2:11-22
Given the context of Ephesians 2:11-22, it is difficult to understate the magnitude of the grace that has been extended to those who are in Christ. Naturally, the implication of one receiving such grace should be to reciprocate it to others, even if they are from a different race or background (vv. 11-12).
In other words, because believers are saved by grace they are free from self-justification as it relates to their imperfections. That means their acceptance into God’s family is not based on who they are, where they came from or how good they try to be before God, but on receiving, by repentance and faith, the gift of salvation that comes only through the finished work of Jesus Christ.
With that in mind, you can see how extremely hypocritical it would be to apply a standard of acceptance to others in the covenant community that you yourself are not being held to by the head of the community, namely, Christ.
Furthermore, not only would it be hypocritical, it would also be supremely arrogant to place a standard of acceptance on other believers that is different from what God has given in His Word.
Tragically, some churches do place a different standard of acceptance other than what God intends. The Apostle Paul makes it clear, however, in Ephesians 2:11-22 that Christ’s work has broken the barrier of racism, and He is forming one holy people that together will be bring greater glory to God.
When thinking through Paul’s words there are several questions that can help us move forward in achieving what God intends for the church. First, “Why does racism exist in churches?” Most believers will admit it ultimately exists because of sin, but does skin color or ethnicity really matter, or is there a fear of the culture of the church changing when new folks arrive that do not look like us?
Second, “If there is a fear, how can we combat that fear as a church without being racist or compromising God’s Word?” Finally, “What steps can I take personally to help love all people regardless of race?”