As we celebrate the 244th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence there is much turmoil and division within our nation. The Pledge of Allegiance tells us that we are “one nation, under God,” that our country is “indivisible,” and that we stand for “liberty and justice for all.” But if you are an informed and watchful citizen you know that right now our country, and our people, are portraying quite the opposite. The brutal treatment and death of George Floyd has sparked worldwide riots and protests advocating for liberty and justice for all. They are words which we recite quite regularly, but it is a reality which even now eludes many people of color. The George Floyd riots and ensuing chaos is just the most recent event in a long history of events that signals our beloved country has not yet achieved liberty and justice for all and is in fact quite divided.
There have been many diverse and mixed responses to the poor treatment of Blacks and other people of color that we have witnessed in 2020. But does the Bible have anything to say about this important matter? Does God have a response to all of the pain, hardship, injustice and disunity felt by so many around the world?
The very first chapter of the Bible tells us that “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). How wonderful! We see that from the very beginning God instilled value in us by creating mankind in His image, in His likeness. We were not made like the animals, we are different, and we are special. We, the human race, were designed to bear the image of God wherever we go; we are to be God’s representatives, His ambassadors in our time on earth, regardless of the color of our skin.
Much later, Jesus of Nazareth arrives on the scene. He lived the perfect life that we should have lived and died the death that we deserve to die because of our sin, our rebellion against God. He gave Himself up by dying on a cross for us so that “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17). Jesus came to set the captives free so that they might have life abundant in Him (Luke 4:18 and John 10:10). He showed no favoritism in regards to race,
ethnicity, social status, etc. Rather, He came to show us how to love God with all of our heart and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).
Paul, a follower of Jesus and the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament, took Jesus’ teachings to their logical conclusion. He argued that the gospel, the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, breaks down the barriers that man has put up. “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28). For those who turn from their sinful ways and place their faith in Jesus Christ alone
for salvation and for life, there is a transformation that occurs. In Christ we are adopted into God’s family as “sons (or daughters) of God.” In God’s family there is no division based on race, ethnicity, social status, etc. Instead, our identity comes from our relationship with God, and because we are created in the image of God, each and every one of us deserves to be treated with love, dignity, and respect. Hallelujah!
God’s Kingdom came and is still coming to bring everlasting change to a broken world and a broken system. He will one day “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” (Revelation 21:4-5). We have a promise from God that things will improve; everything that is wrong will be made right. But we must have faith in God, we must trust in His Son, Jesus Christ. For He is the one that will return to consummate his Kingdom and bring us with Him.
This message could not be more relevant for our world today. The road that leads to “liberty and justice for all,” both in this life and the life to come, is a long and arduous one. It is an uphill battle that will require Holy-Spirit empowered love, sacrifice, and perseverance from millions of people. But there is hope. Our nation, by God’s help, can once again act and operate as “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” But we must take the narrow path, the path of most resistance. It is the path that Jesus walked on and is now inviting you to walk with Him. As we celebrate
our country’s independence and our freedom, will you choose to walk with Jesus and love like Jesus, the true emancipator, the true King, the true judge, the true friend who died for you and died for all?