“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”
Some time ago, the elders here at Newcastle Fellowship Baptist Church participated in an elders’ training class. One of the questions asked of each elder was: “Who are you?” And each elder was asked to give a description of themselves, using neither physical appearance, nor ethnic heritage. Some deep reflection goes into answering exactly how to identify oneself, without referring to any physical traits.
A great deal of attention seems to be paid these days to the things that divide us: Are you Male or are you Female? Are you Black or are you White? Are you Rich or are you Poor? Are you Single or are you Married? Are you Educated or are you Uneducated? Are you Liberal or Conservative? Or the American version, are you Republican or Democrat? Environmentalist or Climate Change Denier? African, European, or Asian?
Division is not new! Abel cared for sheep. Cain grew crops. Abel’s sacrifice pleased God. Cain’s did not. And the first family on earth experienced tragic division. Paul faced the same division is his day – Jews and Greeks, Circumcised and Uncircumcised, Slave and Free, Male and Female. But there was one place where all the divisions were erased. Paul says, “Here, there is not Greek or Jew…” Where? At the foot of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ! When we come to the cross in genuine repentance and faith, all that divides is done away with! The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is the bridge that unites people of every gender, every ethnic background, every colour, every economic status, every political conviction! Only the power of the gospel is able to bridge such great chasms of division!
Dr. Kynan Bridges is a black Pastor in a large church in Florida. He reports that at one time in his life, he was so overwhelmed with the discrimination he faced, that he cried out to God, “When are you going to take the reproach of black people away?” The response he claims to have received is this, “I already did, in my Son, Jesus Christ.” Bridges goes on to say, “My blackness is not my identity, neither is your whiteness. Our identity is found in our relationship to God through Jesus Christ.”
Who am I? Who are you? Sinners, who have been adopted as Children of the Heavenly Father, by pure and matchless grace manifested in the cross of Calvary! The things that divide mankind are many indeed – but the bridge that unites is but One! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!