In my last article, I broached the idea that our current racial struggles are not a skin problem as much as it is a sin problem. We have tried for centuries to deal with this very real problem on sociological, economical, psychological and political terms only to fail. It is like a man trying to remove weeds from his lawn by cutting them off; you get a temporary view that the issue is resolved only to discover it hasn’t. To get rid of weeds, you’ve got to get rid of them roots and all. I suggested last week, to get rid of racism we are going to have to deal with the real problem: sin.
The Apostle Paul, citing numerous other authors wrote, “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.’ ‘Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.’ ‘The poison of vipers is on their lips.’ ‘Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.’ ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.’ ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
(Romans 3:10–18;23 NIV).
Sin simply means that we have missed the mark; we have failed to do what we are required to do. Put simply, even though at the founding of our nation, we find the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We have never lived up to this belief — that’s sin.
The core of sin is questioning God. What did God really say? And then we get the wrong answer to that. Thomas Jefferson, who penned the words cited above in the Declaration of Independence, did so while owning slaves! How could a man write that it is self-evident that all men are created equal, yet own slaves? Sin. Sin blinds us. In fact, sin destroys everything it touches! It promises pleasure but delivers pain; it promises real life, but delivers death.
Sin is a problem every person (with only one notable exception) is infected with. One of sin’s great deceptions is, the deeper it is the less we suspect it! Sin blinds us to its presence within us. So, if you think you are not guilty of sin, well, you’ve just proven my point.
The only exception to sin was Jesus of Nazareth. Here is Paul’s testimony about this: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV). “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NIV). And Peter wrote, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18, NIV).
What we couldn’t do for ourselves, God has done for us! Jesus didn’t die so good people could get into heaven (because there are no good people), but he died so heaven could get into us! He died so we who are unrighteous could be made righteous! He didn’t die to make bad people good (though that is an effect coming to him has on us), but he died to make dead people live!
If we are going to remove the weeds of racism from our society, we have to start with this root problem; we have to remove the sin, and the only way to do that is by accepting Jesus as your savior. He and he alone can forgive your sin. He and he alone can give you a new heart and a new start. We’ve tried everything else to address the race issue, maybe it’s time to address the real issue.