The Spiritual Solution to Ethnic Strife

By F.B. Meyer

As racial and ethnic tensions rise, those who belong to God’s new community in Christ need to renounce prejudice. Instead, we are called to model love, forgiveness, and harmony. A biographical and doctrinal excerpt from the epistle to the Galatians shows us how.*

“Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I [Paul] withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision [Jewish leaders]” (Gal. 2:11,12).

Evidently Peter had gone back from the clear revelation of Acts 10:1-48 [when he introduced Cornelius’ family and friends to salvation], and from his former practice… The fear of the conservative party of the mother Church had brought him into a snare. His example had a very unfortunate effect upon the rest of the Hebrew Christians, who took their lead from him. But Paul’s remonstrance probably brought Peter back to his former and happier practice.

Paul goes on to show that the death of Christ has taken us altogether out of the realm of the ancient Law, with its restrictions and distinctions between clean and unclean, Jew and Gentile (Gal. 2:15-19).

“For [Jesus] Himself is our peace, who has made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross … And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:14-18).*
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