We live in a world that is torn and divided, fractured at every turn. Racial division, political disunity, frequent injustices, anger, hate, oppression, and so much more threaten to tear us apart at the seams. None of us are immune and each of us has a role to play. There are no innocent bystanders and there is no neutral party. Apathy and disinterest are not the answer. Anger, rage, and retribution are not appropriate responses, either. There must be a better way. I certainly do not have all the answers, but I know that God’s Word teaches of these very things and instructs us on how to confront these very problems. Scripture guides us to the foundation of equality and an appropriate Christian response in the middle of a chaotic and broken world.
Before I begin, I want to be clear on the definition of “inequality”. Culturally, we understand inequality to mean better or worse. Inequality, in our current world, means that one person is greater and another is less based on gender, race, economic status, country of origin, etc. Better stated, 1 does not equal 2. 2 is greater than 1 and therefore 1 is less than 2. There is a clear hierarchy in inequality. This perception of inequality leads to stereotypes, racism, injustices, and deeply grounded anger. However, inequality merely means “different”. Our differences are what make us unique and should not be considered good or bad in comparison to each other. It is our collective differences that give us a fuller vision of God’s face. When I speak of inequality in this writing, I am speaking of differences, not greater or less. In fact, we need to think about inequality less as 1 does not equal 2 and more that A does not equal B. “A” is neither better nor worse than “B”, just different. The reason injustices exist is because there is inequality, or differences, between us that are exploited. An injustice is simply an unfair exploitation of differences. Without inequality there is no injustice. Therefore, true justice will only exist when there is true equality.
God’s inspired word is truly clear on the topic of equality among people. Our equality is rooted in the work of Christ. We demand equality, but we fail to understand how equality is made possible. We are not equal simply because we exist. Think of Esau and Jacob in Genesis 25:19-34. They were brothers born to the same parents who were opposed to each other because they were not equal. If there is inherent inequality within the exact same family, then we must embrace the idea that inequality exists. We can go even further back to Adam and Eve’s children and we can see inequality among Cain and Abel, Genesis 4:1-12. There was inequality present between both sets of these brothers and this inequality led to injustice and violence. If there is inequality present within blood relatives, it seems plain that there will be inequality anywhere where more than 1 person is present. Acknowledging that inequality exists is an important step to reconciling inequality. Inequality is not part of God’s perfect plan, but it does exist in this broken world. Where, then, can equality be found?
This is the question we are failing to ask. Demanding equality without listening to the answer builds more frustration and anger. The foundation of equality is Christ. Jesus is the great equalizer. Paul says in Ephesians 2:11-22 that Christ came to create equality among people. We were once divided because of the very nature of sin in us. Without Christ, we have no hope and it is our differences that consume us. We were separated from each other by these divisions, but “now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” In fact, Paul so clearly states this truth in 2:14 – “For He [Christ] is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…”! Christ came to remove division and inequality that naturally exists in this fallen world. To refuse the concept of inequality refuses the need for the work of Christ. There is no doubt that we are broken and hostile towards each other.
What is our solution? Christ. It has always been Christ and will always be Christ. Paul goes on to use these amazing words in 2:15-16 – “His [Christ’s] purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” The very purpose of Christ was to unite us as children of God through His work on the cross. God knows there is inequality and oppression and in His infinite grace, mercy, and wisdom He sent His son to resolve the conflict. Christ’s death on the cross and our belief in that truth allows us to be “fellow citizens of God’s people”. We are joined together in Christ and made equals together through Christ.
Galatians 3:28 states something that is often left only half read – “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female”, but this statement is only made true in the rest of the verse – “for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In sin, we have inequality and oppression and hostility. In Christ, we have equality and peace with each other and God. We cannot simply demand equality and expect a fallen world to suddenly be at peace with one another. We would merely be demanding a solution without an answer. This very problem is what leads us to the state we are in. We desire equality, but we are demanding that it be achieved without Christ. We do not need training and we do not need government mandates and we do not need more hate and anger-filled rants. We need Christ.
So, then, if Christ is the answer, what must believers in Christ do? Having the antidote without providing it to people is a worthless victory. If Christ is the answer to our division and inequality and if the very world we live in is being destroyed by the sin of division and racism and injustice, are we not complicit in standing silently by while we watch it happen? I will be very clear, this is not a call to civil disobedience or violent protests. I am calling for just the opposite. We must bring the very giver of peace more loudly now than we ever have. What we see happening should break our hearts from every angle. Why? Because what is happening shows the full need for a Savior and reveals a world who does not know Him. In 2 Corinthians 12:15, Paul sees division and hostility and he knows that Christ is the only answer. His response is to boldly declare – “So, I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?” Spend everything, expend himself fully, love unconditionally for what??? So that all may know Christ and be united together as a family in love. This, my brothers and sisters in Christ, is our call. We must boldly speak the words of 2 Corinthians 5:20 – “We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
In the middle of the racial divides, political disunity, and general division in this broken world, God is drawing us to Him through Christ. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you must be Christ’s ambassador to a world that so desperately needs Him. We do not need another opinion or another worn-out slogan. We need to be on our knees, praying boldly at the throne of grace. We need to be on our feet, standing firmly on the rock that is higher than ourselves. We need to be using our voice, declaring the name of the one true King who is worthy of praise and mighty to save. We need to be using our hands, reaching out to a world in need giving them the only water that satisfies. We need to be seeing with our eyes, watching for doors to be cracked open and windows to be slightly ajar so we can boldly step through to deliver the name of Christ.
The world doesn’t need you and the world doesn’t need me. The world needs a Savior and that Savior is Jesus Christ the son of God, the prince of peace, and the Lord of Lords. If you know Christ, I pray that we are united in this. If you do not know Christ, I pray that you will receive the wonderful gift of grace by believing in the truth of a resurrected Savior who came to unite us, equalize us, and reconcile us to God forever.