Is racism a sin? It’s a pivotal question for many in the Lord’s church are racists by any definition of the word. Webster’s dictionary defines racism as, “A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. The belief in the superiority or dominance of one race over another. Poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race” Racism takes on many fashions and forms. I know of many who call themselves law abiding Christians, both black and white, who hold the view that races should not mix for one reason or another. Calling someone a racial slur is often called racism, but truly, racism is so much more than calling someone a derogatory name. Call a white man a “Cracker” and I bet you he will laugh. Black people call each other the “N-Word” and they too laugh about it. What makes someone angry is when those names are used in hatred, to demean, or to hurt someone. Racism is the mistreatment of someone based solely on their race. In many ways, most everyone is a bit racist at various levels. In many ways, we all are guilty of the sin of racism. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture?
The Bible teaches that there are many nationalities, but there is one genetic race known as mankind. When Eve was named by Adam, she was named so because “she was the mother of all living” (Gen 3:20). The “all” is significant. It means that every man and woman can trace their ancestry back to Adam and Eve. As Paul told the Athenians, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). While many of their children sinned against God, it was Noah who remained faithful. When God destroyed the world, Noah and his immediate family (8) were saved. Hence, every person in this world can trace their lineage back to Noah and to one of his three sons. “Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated” (Gen 9:18-19).
Genesis 11:1-9 records the origin of our various nationalities and languages. After the flood, mankind violated God’s command to fill the earth; instead, they attempted to settle in one area. They formed a building project to create a name for themselves, possibly to further encourage people to remain. “And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’” (Genesis 11:4). God stopped the project by altering the language of each family. Since communication back then became impossible, mankind began to scatter across the earth.
It really doesn’t matter what the skin color is of any of our ancestors because to God we are all one. “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:35). We are all offered the same hope of salvation. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). This was the promise of the new covenant, the people from every nation would flow into the kingdom of Christ. “Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him” (Daniel 7:14). The gospel is preached “to those who dwell on the earth–to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Rev 14:6). John’s vision of heaven was one of “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Rev 7:9).
The gospel is to be taught everyone without regards to their race, gender, nationality, or color. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20). No one is to be excluded. For one nationality to place itself above any other would be sinful. As God is no respecter of people, neither can be His people. Rather than seeking to divide, we must seek to fulfill Christ’s dream of becoming one in Him. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (Jn 17:20-21).
Therefore, if you are a Christian and you hold racist thoughts or feelings towards another, you need to repent, that the thought of your heart may be forgiven you (Acts 8:22). God is not a racist and his heavenly kingdom will not inhabit those who are racists. God bids all to the gospel and not willing that any be lost. The book of Acts records a white man (Cornelius), a black man (Eunuch), and a Jew (Saul) all being saved by the same gospel. “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17).