Saved, Christian, and Racist
Do you think a racist person can receive the eternal life guaranteed to Christians?
The short answer is…Well let’s see what the Bible says!
No one asked me this, but in my opinion there is no such thing as a racist Christian. There is a lot to be unpacked in this question because many racist people say that they are Christians and some even use the Bible to justify their racism. Here is my interpretation:
I want to take a look at John 3:36 in two different translations because before I looked at this verse in multiple translations I was convinced that someone could be saved, racist, and a recipient of eternal life; but I did not believe that someone could be a Christian and racist, and therefore racists could receive eternal life. I was separating people who are saved from Christians, falsely believing that someone could be saved only and being saved did not mean one had to closely follow the teachings of Jesus. I thought Christians were saved while striving to be more like Jesus. But is that what the Bible actually says? John 3:36 (NKJV) states “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Then I read the NLT which says, “And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.” At first glance I thought that the NLT contradicted the NKJV but they do not. The NKJV states that one must “believe the Son” to see eternal life and the NLT states that one must “obey the Son” in order to have eternal life. They are one and the same. The criteria for eternal life isn’t just belief, it is the kind of belief that leads to obedience. So in order to be a Christian we must believe and trust that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 NLT), and we must follow Him in all things.
Is it enough that we don’t steal, kill, or lie? Do we all have to denounce racism and not participate in or condone anything that is racist? Hmm well… if we believe in Jesus, then we must adopt His mentality surrounding human relationships. Galatians 3:28-29 (ESV) says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise”. So, if you claim to be a Christian but are racist, then you hate your siblings of all races who are also Abraham’s offspring. And “everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15 ESV).
As Christians we need to strive for love. According to Jesus, love is the second most important commandment. Mark 12:31 (ESV) states, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. Our neighbors include people of every race, nation, ethnicity, and religion. “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10 ESV). Racism and love cannot exist together and racism has no place in the body of believers.
Let me sum up my thoughts:
Racist=Hate=Murderer=No Eternal Life
Christian=Love=Fulfillment of the Law=Eternal Life
But we must remember that God is a forgiving Father, abounding in grace and mercy, and He has provided us a way to receive eternal life while we are still sinners. Even racists can make it to the Kingdom of Heaven. A racist person makes it into heaven just like anyone else: first they must understand that racism is a sin, then they must have true repentance and confess their sin, finally one must ask God for forgiveness of the sin. At this point, they will have access to eternal life with the rest of their brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that I look forward to the days where I worship God in His presence, and I would love for everyone to be there too.
What are your thoughts?
I want to be clear that what I have written is simply what I have deduced from the Word of God in my studies. I know that His ways are higher than my ways, and He is the only One who makes the final decisions on who receives eternal life. But like God, I want everyone to be saved and enjoy everlasting life, so if my words can help someone recognize the error in their ways, I’m happy to help.
This blog post is specifically about racism. I fully understand that there are several Biblical reasons that someone may not inherit the Kingdom of God, but I have chosen to specifically focus on racism because of the current social and political climate.