Christ's Precedent for equality

By Jon DiNovo, participant at Goud op Zondag

There’s a saying in the Bible- “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This is important for many reasons, it was revolutionary and far ahead of its time and, today remains a powerful reminder of human brotherhood and liberation from persistent evils. This statement attests to Christianity’s timeless answer to the timeless issue of discrimination- one that’s necessary from generation to generation, especially in a day and age when polarization is rampant in our own backyard.

But what does this statement mean? It’s not a rejection of ethnicity or gender but instead an argument against discrimination. This verse tells the reader that, as far as God is concerned, a human’s nationality, ethnicity, social class, and gender do not make them better or worse than another person. The Bible teaches that all men and women are made in the Image of God and, for this reason, the differences between each person are no call for separation but instead signals the strength found in the diversity God has created- a strength that can be used to the benefit of humanity.

For Christians, this verse is discouraging any mistreatment of others based on these grounds. In this way, Christian communities of the first century dramatically defied what was expected back in those days. This verse greatly empowered women who had next to no rights at the time it was written. It granted liberty to those who were enslaved. It discouraged any form of hostility based on race or national background.

This statement was written at a time when the Christian Church was very young. Christianity was still in development and was coming from a predominantly Jewish culture. As a result, many of the Jewish Christians were unsure if they should accept Gentiles (non-Jews) into their ranks. This caused divisions and arguments among the churches. Christian tradition teaches us that God inspired St. Paul (the writer of these words) to deliver this statement to a church in Galatia (a former Roman province located in modern-day Turkey). And though the message first came to Galatia it soon spread to all followers of the Way of Jesus.

Why should this matter for us today? Especially for those who do not follow the teachings of Christianity? As I said before, polarization is a rampant issue in today’s world. We need not look far to see what it has caused. Just this past New Year’s, racist messaging was projected onto Erasmus Bridge. The issue of discrimination is sadly still alive and persists in our own city. This can often be very discouraging. With so much discrimination from race, gender, class, etc. it can be easy to feel that there’s no place to go to find relief. That this is it.

And that’s exactly what this saying from Scripture is fighting against. For a truly surrendered and genuine Christian Church will put this verse into practice. And, in doing so, they create a place that is free from the corrupt influences of discrimination. The world can continue to splinter over silly things, but the intention of the Church is to be a place where this isn’t so.

This is what we within the Church would like to provide. An environment where men and women, people of all nationalities, races, and stages of life can come together- bound by a greater love. It is an integral part of the Christian message is that even with the world at its worst there can exist a place that defies the nastiness.

Religion can be daunting- that’s perfectly understandable. What I say here is by no means a way to force you into joining a Church. Instead, please consider it an open invitation, an invitation to see a place where polarization and discrimination are not running the show. Then decide for yourselves if it’s worth exploring deeper.

If you want to see this in action then I’d like to invite you to Goud op Zondag, a church that meets on the second and fourth Sunday of each month. Service begins at 13.00 at Bergsingelkerk on Bergsingel 150. All are welcome as we fight the rising tide of polarizing discrimination by love and togetherness- a model created and sustained by Christ.

Be blessed.

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Wij delen graag met jou de mooie dingen die gebeuren bij Goud op Zondag.
We hopen dat het je inspireert.

Goud op Zondag  |  diaconale en interculturele geloofsgemeenschap in het Oude Noorden van Rotterdam

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