I don’t even like the phrase “racial division” because I think it sounds as though it is possible to “divide humanity” into more than one race. And really—we are all one race—we are all created as image bearers of God. No matter our skin color or place of origin—we are all members of the human race; sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. Yes, there are ethnic differences. We shouldn’t wipe away the distinction of ethnic origin, but should appreciate the beauty and variety that God has created within the one race of mankind.
But, at the heart of things, we are all united by our Created purpose to be image bearers of God.
After the fall, after the tower of Babel debacle, mankind dispersed and differing ethnicities grew in distinction—and along with those differences grew our division. But another amazing thing about the cross is the fact that it breaks down every wall and division. The cross alone can bring true unity. The peace of Christ is the only hope for the ethnic wars that are taking lives today.
I love how Colossians includes this important component within the instructions of chapter three. Following the instruction to “put on the new self” (who we are in Christ), Paul provides the beautiful picture that is a result of that new birth—unity in Christ.
For a helpful read on how to achieve ethnic unity within the body of Christ, check out Trillia Newbell’s book, United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity. Click here to read my review of her book. You can also find several posts by Trillia by clicking here.
As we continue our study of Colossians, I hope you’ll read chapter three again today before answering the questions below:
- Verses 9–10 provide the key to overcoming the sins of the “old self” what is that key? (See 1 Peter 2:1–3)
- What does it mean to be “renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator”? How are we renewed? (See Rom. 12:2 and 1 Cor. 2:16).
- Verses 11–12 provide the answer to today’s racial problems (see Gal. 3:23–29 and Eph. 2:11–13). Christ has broken down the barrier of the “dividing wall of hostility” through his sacrifice on the cross. Does this work abolish ethnicity and gender distinctions? Can these distinctions remain and actually bring a unified diversity that reflects God’s intentions? (See 5:9–10)
- What phrase in v. 11 supports the theme of Colossians?
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