It Is Not Black or White: It is Jesus

John David Clark, Sr. - June, 1997

There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond or free; but Christ is all, and in all" Col.3:11

One pitfall for which the church must always be on guard is the temptation to become embroiled in this world's strife and envy. The church must learn to stubbornly maintain its hope only in the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. In this country, one of the battle lines which has been drawn is between races, and bitter feelings are stirred up by racists on both sides of the issue. It is not the church's calling to join either camp, but to offer all men of every race the only lasting solution to trouble: the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Injustice has been a standard part of human history since man first sinned, but Jesus did not suffer and die to end society's ills, nor has he ever ordained any man to try to do so. The holiness which the Spirit of God creates in a man does not inspire him to become a social or political activist. The call of the church is not to alter society or to overthrow governments, but to change individuals by confessing Christ; and if society is influenced by the church doing that, as it surely will be, then so be it; but that is not the primary goal of the gospel. For the church to resort to social and political action is sin, even if much praise is heaped upon such action by some religious leaders, and others. But just watch such men. When their will is not done, how quickly their ungodly spirits are revealed!

In the Scriptures we learn that God will destroy this world, with all its injustice and cruelty. Until then, man will only feebly execute justice; the very best that anyone can do is simply submit to the Spirit of God, the only place where cruelty and strife are never found.

In our time, God's children, as well as society as a whole, are under a strange pressure to deny that differences exist between races and cultures. But why? What good comes from doing that? We are asked to pretend that the history of all races and cultures has been equally beneficial to civilization. This is what is demanded of us by the spirit of our age, in spite of the multitude of historical facts to the contrary. Why can we not openly admit the differences, examine them, even rejoice in them, and still love people the way God loves them?

One motivating factor for the present demand that we deny the existence of differences among races and cultures is the inability of man to cope with differences. Human nature, or to speak biblically, "the flesh", is typically suspicious of all things different; and it appears that now men are attempting to conquer their fears and get along with each other by pretending that no differences exist. But that childish policy will not succeed in ridding the earth of unkindness. Contrary to all this, the love of God is most clearly shown in our differences, not in our similarities. Jesus said, "If you love only them who love you, what thanks have you?"

If we want to discover which race or culture has contributed most to the advancement of civilization, we need only look to those regions where the message of Jesus has been proclaimed. For the sake of the gospel, God has richly blessed the countries in which Jesus was preached with great technological and scientific breakthroughs, and those countries have historically been, in the main, European.

It is because of its respect for the name of Jesus that Western Civilization received grace from God to lead the world in many fields of human endeavor. As His reward for honoring the name of His Son, God greatly enriched the nations where Jesus was preached, and those blessings enabled the churches in those nations to send out messengers of the gospel to others. Jesus, not the color of someone's skin, is the reason for the economic difference between the predominantly white European nations and others. If you will read the tract included with this Broadcaster, "The Fullness of Time", you will see how this same principal has been at work since the beginning of God's dealing with fallen man. God's love for mankind has been the underlying theme of God's work in man's history from the beginning.

The secret of overcoming the strife of men over racial matters is not to deny, as we are being constantly pressured to do, that the white race has enjoyed more success in human history than the other races, but to understand the reason for that success. To see the hand of God as determining that European nations would prosper above others, for the sake of spreading the gospel, is the beginning of humility and compassion, and the permanent end of racism.

In this troubled and confused society, we are usually offered but two choices: we either (1) deny that there are any significant differences between the histories, abilities, and cultures of human races, and be called an enlightened good guy, or (2) admit the differences and be called a racist bad guy. Jesus gives his people an alternative: admit that there are many significant differences, hold the Father responsible for them, and harbor no ill will toward anyone.

Why cannot two brothers in Christ, one Black and one White, agree that history shows that Europeans have contributed far more to civilization's progress than Africans? They can do so, and still rejoice together in perfect harmony in the Spirit, when they understand that it is God alone who determined it all, and that he did so, not because whites are intrinsically better than Blacks (or Yellows, or Reds), but for the blessing of all the other races, that they too might hear the gospel and be saved. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God", wrote Paul. Sin has cast an equally dark stain on the souls of all peoples. It is only reasonable then that a loving God would enable those who heard the gospel first to have the money and means to transmit the saving message to others.

In Christ, said Paul, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal.3:28). We can add that "there is neither Black nor White, there is neither rich or poor, there is neither Republican nor Democrat, American or Russian." The love and the truth of God crosses all barriers, overrides all fleshly differences, and unites all men in a single family, the family of God. When the saints gather, they gather as saints, not as white or black, rich or poor, male or female; just saints.

Yet, by writing that verse, was Paul saying that women are equal in all respects to men? Of course not. Paul said that the man in Christ is the head of the woman in Christ, just as Christ is the head of the church (1Cor.11:3). Or was Paul saying that slaves needed not to obey their masters any longer, or that Jews in his time were as free as Gentiles from obeying the Law of Moses? Of course not. He demanded that slaves be good slaves, and that masters be good masters (Eph.6:5,9; Col.3:22; 4:1); and he demanded that Jews be good Jews, obeying the whole Law of Moses (Gal.5:3), just as he did (Acts 21:18-26). Paul was merely reminding the children of God that their earthly station, high or lowly, is just a temporary condition and is of no great concern to the one who has his heart set on the promises of God. Paul's meaning was simply that all believers have access to the Father, regardless of earthly standing; all believers have the promises of God; all believers are washed from sin and now "partake of the divine nature"; and all of God's children are dearly loved and cared for by God.

That is the equality which all men should strive for. It is the only equality that really matters. The liberty Jesus has for all of us is a liberty that modern "civil rights leaders" do not preach, perhaps because there's no money in it, or no prime time news coverage for it. Many of these men claim to be servants of God, but if they really worked for Jesus, they would forget about social and political action and employ the weapons of the Spirit, which "are mighty, to the pulling down of strongholds." True freedom is not obtained by demanding our rights, but by confessing our wrongs. God's freedom is a liberation from all earthly burdens, including the awful burden laid upon the backs of my Black brothers and sisters to boycott, to march, to demand to be treated equally with Whites. As long as they strive for that vain earthly prize, they will stay frustrated and full of pent-up anger, because on this earth it will never happen. The flesh cannot love its neighbor as itself. It can only pretend, for a while, to do so. Real harmony and peace exist only in God's kingdom.

Many, but by no means all Blacks in this country have been deceived by fiery "leaders of the Black community" into demanding certain perceived "rights". People against whom there has been great prejudice can be easily manipulated to pursue such earthly goals. But those Blacks who have placed their trust in Jesus do not follow frustrated Pied Pipers. They follow Jesus.

If I could make it happen, I would. I would gladly bring an end to the cruelty and hatred and pride of White flesh against Black and Red flesh, and the cruelty, hatred and pride of Black flesh against White and Yellow flesh, and the envy and hatred of Red and Yellow flesh against White and Black flesh, and every other combination of evils, but hatred is a part of the nature of all flesh, which always wars against God's Spirit (Gal.5:17-20):and no social or political action can change that. Our only hope is Jesus, who will rid us forever of these bodies of flesh, and who will "change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body" (Phip.3:21).

My Black brothers and sisters, it will require courage and faith for you to confess perfect contentment with Christ and not to be swept away with the spirit of the leaders of the "civil rights movement", who pursue peace without the power of the holy Ghost and liberty without holiness. Their dreams are of this world; they are not your dreams. Their hopes are not your hopes. As far above earth as heaven is, your hopes are above theirs. Their demand for equality of all people is a vain, vexing hope. It is vain to pursue with unbelievers a brand of peace that the flesh offers. First, the pursuit of such an equality in the flesh is vain because God is the one who made the differences among the peoples of the earth, and man cannot change His work. Second, why should we be persuaded to join in a vain earthly struggle for any worldly status, when Christ has already made us free, and we are children of the only real king there is? In Christ, my Black brother, you already occupy a far higher position than the vast majority of humans on earth, whether they be White, Black, Red, or Yellow! Jesus did not call you to be equal with Whites; he called you to be better than that. He has called you to be holy, as he is holy!

While I was writing that last paragraph, I received an unexpected phone call from an elderly mother in Christ, a persecuted, Spirit-filled Black lady from Georgia. As we talked about the things of God, I felt honored that she would speak to me, that she would respect God's work in my life, and I wished that we could have talked longer. Her spirit was full of sincerity; there was a great beauty of holiness in her that this world, and much of the church, cannot see. In our conversation, there was no Black and White; because in the holy Ghost there is no Black and White. Our conversation was from faith to faith, and it was wonderful.

Why should it be a desire of anyone who belongs to God's kingdom to be treated as others in human society? The world loves its own, not us. No one who obeys God will be treated equally with others in any earthly society (2Tim.3:12). We are ambassadors here; we do not belong. I am White, and I do not fit into the society of carnal men. I have been belittled and discriminated against, by some of God's own children, for the faith. I don't become angry and demand better treatment; on the contrary, I rejoice (Lk.6:22), for it is God who has made me different from carnally minded men. You must have patience. God will make all things right after a while.

Look to Jesus as your liberator. There is absolutely nothing that this government or any other government can do to make you free. Real freedom is in Jesus alone. Do not allow men, especially those who call themselves ministers of Christ, to make you feel that others, including the government, owe you anything. If Jesus has made you free, you are free indeed. If he has not made you free, there is no amount of social or political action which will get you there. Listen, my Black brother, Whites are not your problem. Listen, my White brother, Blacks are not your problem. That's the way that some men want you to see things (for their own profit), but that is not how it really is. The truth is that sin is everybody's problem, and everybody is a slave to it, unless and until Jesus rescues us.

Paul asked another question: "Who is it that made the differences that exist between us?" The answer is, obviously, God. When the question is posed as to whether, in general, Whites are intellectually superior to other races, there is no reason for any child of God to run for cover, as if an unthinkable question is being asked. The obedient child of God is free to consider things, to reason, to judge with equity all matters. According to the statistics, the Yellows win the intellectual contest. Orientals consistently score higher than others on intelligence tests. If quality of intellect is to be judged only by what has been historically accomplished for the advancement of civilization, then, the White race has demonstrated higher intellect than other races; but as I have already said, there is more to it than that. It is where the news about Jesus has been preached that the greatest advances in civilization have been given by God. If the American Indians (the Reds), for example, had been the ones chosen by God to carry the torch of the gospel, then God would no doubt have blessed them above others with great riches, technological skill, and scientific discoveries - for the furtherance of the gospel. If American Indians had been the carriers of the message about Jesus, it may well have happened they that would have colonized Europe, not vice versa!

Who determined anything about world history? Who gave the Babylonians victory over the Assyrians? Who gave the Medes and the Persians victory over the Babylonians? Who gave the Greeks victory over the Persians? Who gave the Romans victory over the Greeks? Who then gave the Roman Empire into the hands of the Christians? Who gave Muslims victory of the Christians in Africa, Spain, the Levant, and Asia Minor, even to Constantinople itself? And who, centuries later, gave the Crusaders victory over the Muslims? By whose determination did the Axis powers lose World War II? It is God alone Who determines the course of human events.

Who made slaves of the Jews when they rebelled against God's Law? Satan? I don't think so, and your Bible will agree with me. Who made a slave of the young man Joseph, and who raised him up again to sit on Egypt's throne? Who both gave to Job what he had and then took it away? Who sent Jesus to the cross? The devil? Evil men? Don't fool yourself. Jesus said, "The cup which my Father has given me to drink, shall I not drink of it?"

My Black brother in Christ, answer this question: Who caused your forefathers to be enslaved and brought to this country? If you will confess the truth, your heart will begin to be cleansed from the shame, hatred, and strife that evil men have tried to inject into it. Yes, the men who brought them here did it for money, but there is an overriding consideration. After Joseph had discovered God's purpose for the suffering of his youth, he told his wicked brothers, "Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Gen.50:20). As children of the Most High God, you, too, can say openly to all men, with all confidence, that Jesus brought your forefathers here, for your good, and not for evil. If you belong to God, everything that happened to your forefathers was determined by God for your blessing; so, you can cheerfully thank God for whatever happened before your time, and for whatever is happening now, and be set completely free to love those who thought evil against you. All things are working together for our good, if we love God and are the called according to His purpose (Rom.8:28).

Why should it matter at all to a servant of God, whether one race of earthly men has been blessed above another, either with more wealth, or more territory, or more of any other fleshly benefit? There is not a single child of God on earth who any longer belongs to either the Black, Red, Yellow, or White races; we are no longer children of our parents on earth; we are born of God! And there is absolutely no need for any of us either to defend or to attack an earthly race of men. They are neither our enemies nor our friends. They are sinners, all. And we are ambassadors for Christ.

If a child of God is puffed up with pride because of his European ancestry, he is foolish and has erred from the faith. If another child of God is puffed up with pride because of his African ancestry, he, too, is foolish and he, too, has erred from the faith. In Christ, but only in Christ, all those fleshly feelings are finally put to rest. In dealing with this world, however, in every culture that exists, such fleshly things matter very much, as they always have. God, for His own wise purposes, made us different from each other in the flesh, and only God has the power to take those differences away.

Concerning Inter-racial Marriages

Paul said that if we marry, we will have "trouble in the flesh" (1Cor.7:28). When he said that, he was speaking to people of the same race, the same general education levels, and the same general economic backgrounds. So, even when people marry having virtually everything in common, there still remains the difference between male and female with which they must cope, and there will be problems. That is the nature of any fleshly relationship. When you add other differences to the male/female differences, you are invariably adding problems to be surmounted. A man who has earned a doctorate who marries a woman with a sixth-grade education will have to overcome more problems than the man who marries his educational equal. My father was twenty-six years older than my mother. They had problems that a couple who are roughly of the same age will not have to face. The greater the differences in natural things, the greater number of troubles the marriage will have to overcome in order to survive.

The Scripture says that a man must forsake his father and mother and be joined to his wife. In spite of how that sounds, a marriage is really more than a marriage to one person. Families are brought together in a marriage. When a person of one race marries a person of another race, especially, it seems, for blacks and whites, a great difference in cultures, world-views, and many other natural differences are brought into the relationship which are extremely difficult to overcome. From what I have seen, there is hardly any obstacle greater to a successful marriage than a difference in race. There is no Biblical prohibition to mixed-race marriages (Moses married an Ethiopian woman!); but anyone who is contemplating entering into such a marriage should understand that the "trouble in the flesh" which attends every marriage to some degree will be greatly multiplied by the differences which exist with a spouse of another race. There are, seemingly, exceptions to every rule; but from I have personally seen, unrestrained lust is what typically brings together couples of different races, not the righteousness and wisdom of God.

Note: After I had written this Broadcaster, our local newspaper ran an article by a nationally syndicated Black man concerning slavery. I do not agree with every comment and attitude contained in his article, especially any sarcasm he may express toward the President of this country, and by no means am I suggesting that he endorses what I am teaching. But he presents many little-known historical facts about slavery that might reshape some of your thoughts on the subject.

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