Diverse and In Christ

by Reggie Austin
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:28    

God sent His Son to save us from these sins. That salvation unites us as one in Him. Things that used to divide us no longer hold as much sway or value as they once did. Neither ethnicity, social status, or even gender are as important as being “in Christ.” This is an amazing and powerful truth that can lead to a radically changed life. But that life still exists within the framework from which it was taken. That is to say, a free male Greek doesn’t stop being Greek when he comes to Christ. Nor does a female Jewish slave stop being female. So what are we to make of that which remains?

From the very beginning, we are told that God loves diversity. We learn that God is the creator of two different and distinct genders that bear His image (Genesis 1:27). We find that God is the author of all different types of language (Genesis 11:1-9). And we see that God is a lover of all cultures, as His redemptive plan from the beginning involved blessing “all the families of the earth" (Genesis 12:3). All of these are good things. Though they are ravaged by the fall, they are nevertheless part of how God made us. Yet these differences—that God made and finds beautiful—are the very things we use to sin against each other. We know that these beautiful differences will exist forever (the book of Revelation speaks of heaven being filled with people from every tongue, tribe, people and nation). So how as Christians are we to live with them now in this fallen world?

In the book of Acts, Paul—a Jewish man—speaks to a crowd of Greeks in Athens. He says that “in [God] we live and move and have our being.” After his address, “some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them (Acts 17:34).” Paul reached out with the truth of the gospel to those of a completely different gender, ethnicity and social status. The resulting group was a diverse body of believers, bound together in love, as each person sought to “count others more significant than [themselves] (Philippians 2:3).”

The call is the same for us today. We need to actively and deliberately set our minds to the great task of selflessly loving one another. Such purposeful pursuit allows us to come to see how we can celebrate all the wonderful diversity God made, even as it is subsumed by the greater culture of being in communion and fellowship with Him.