God Is Not Racist (And You Shouldn’t Be, Either)

God Is Not Racist Audio File

Racism is a sin. As I say these words, I know there are many people of one color who wince when I say it, but many people of another color that will cheer. Please note I did NOT say “Racism is a WHITE sin”, nor did I say “Racism is a BLACK sin”, nor do I say “Racism is a RED sin” or “Racism is a YELLOW sin”. Racism is not tied to a single color. Like all sins, it comes from people of every color.

Racism looks at the outside appearance of a person and makes a judgment about that person because of that outside appearance. Jesus said “judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24)

God made us in His image and after His likeness. Every person has value. Every one, every color. Racism has hindered the growth of Christ’s Church from the very beginning. Today we’re going to read a true story about the early Church and racism. The story is in Acts 10. As we read through this story I am going to talk about it.

Cornelius Is A Light Skinned Italian Gentile
Who Believes In God But Doesn’t Know Messiah

Acts 10:1-2 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.

The Bible tells us several things about Cornelius. First, Cornelius was a Centurion. He was a soldier in the Army of Rome. He was a high ranking non-commissioned officer, in charge of up to 600 men. Furthermore, Cornelius was a light skinned man. The Bible does not specifically tell us the color of his skin, but says he is of the Italian cohort. We know from ancient records that the “Italian” cohort was a group of Roman volunteers from Italy. Cornelius was a Gentile, not a Jew. Nonetheless, Cornelius knew of and loved God. The Bible describes Cornelius as:

A DEVOUT or DEVOTED believer
A GOD FEARING believer
A GENEROUS and GIVING believer
, and
A PRAYING believer

The Gospel of Jesus Christ had not yet been preached to Cornelius, and he had not been baptized. Yet Cornelius knew God, and needed to know the Messiah had come. Like many of the Jews he had heard of God through contact with the Temple, but …

Cornelius had not been told of Jesus Christ yet. Why? Because of racism.

Not because of Jesus’ racism, for Jesus was not racist. But because of Jesus’ followers racism. Jesus told His early predominantly Jewish Church:

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH.

The Gospel was to be preached to the Jews first, but ALSO to the Gentiles. Jesus made this plain. Yet the early Church, led by Peter, confined it’s teaching and preaching to the Temple on Solomon’s Court. Somebody needed to tell Cornelius that the Messiah had come. The Jews in the early Church did NOT go to the Gentiles with the Gospel, and especially NOT to the Roman soldiers. The Jews were prejudiced against the Roman Army, for it was this Army that conquered Jerusalem.

God Himself could have told Cornelius about His Son Jesus. After all, God told Abraham about Jesus.

Jesus said to the Jews, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56). God prophesied of the Messiah through Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Psalmist David, and Daniel. Others had learned of Jesus Christ apart from a witness from His disciples. But this is contrary to God’s command. God told the early Church to go and tell the world. The Church initially did not. But God was not silent. Somehow Cornelius came to meet God, and prayed to God.

Acts 10:3-6 {Cornelius} saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: 6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

Cornelius was praying about 3 pm, the time when the Jews traditionally prayed their evening prayers (Exodus 29:39, 41; Numbers 28:3-31; 1 Kings 18:29-36; Psalms 55:17; 141:2). As he prayed, God spoke to him through a Heavenly Messenger. He gave Cornelius specific instructions. He was to “send men to Joppa, and have Simon Peter return to speak to you”. Cornelius did not debate with God – he OBEYED God. He sent men to Joppa. God spoke to Cornelius, telling him what to do in a vision. “Peter shall tell you what to do” (Acts 10:6).

Peter Was A Dark Skinned Jewish Believer In Christ
In A Purely Jewish Church

The next day as Cornelius’ men drawn near to Joppa, Peter is in prayer about noon. God has a word – once more – for Peter. God brings the word to Peter because, as the leader of the Apostles, he is in the best place to correct the racist course of the Church.

Acts 10:9-15 Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12 Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

Among the Jews there were certain animals that were considered clean, and they could be eaten or even sacrificed in the Temple unto God. Other animals were considered unclean, and were not to be eaten. God lowered an image of both clean and unclean animals before Peter’s eyes, telling him to “Rise, Peter, kill and eat”. Peter says “I’ll not do it, Lord. I have never eaten anything common or unclean”. God’s reply? “What I have cleansed, do not call it common or unclean!” As Peter saw this vision, wondering what it meant, Cornelius’ men showed up at the gate.

Acts 10:17-22 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate, 18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. 19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. 21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? 22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

What did the animals – both clean and unclean – symbolize in Peter’s vision? God made it clear by timing the arrival of the Gentiles to Peter’s home as the vision ended. These animals symbolized the variety found in humanity. In the Old Testament God had people sacrifice clean animals on an altar to atone for sin. These animals represented the One Who would come to save us, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God made all the creatures, and made them diverse. God made all the humans, and made us diverse. God loves all people, and wants all people to come to salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 10:23-27 Then {Peter} called them in, and lodged {these Gentiles for the night}. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea {a Roman stronghold}. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends. 25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshiped him. 26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. 27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.

Cornelius was not the only person at his house that day. When Peter and several of his friends arrived with Cornelius’ escorts, they found “many that were come together”. When Cornelius saw Peter he fell down at Peter’s feet, and worshiped Peter. Peter told him:

Stand up; I myself also am a man

Peter was right. No man should bow down or worship another man. This is satanic, idolatrous, evil. Only God is to be worshiped, only God is to be knelt to.

Peter was right in his statement … but now he goes on to make a wrong statement. Peter, like all of us humans, is often half right and half wrong. He says:

Acts 10:28 Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation..

Now wait a minute. Think on that statement: It is an UNLAWFUL THING for a man that is a JEW to keep company or come unto (visit) one of another nation. Where is this at in God’s Law? Listen to me:

Peter Was Taught Racism By Fallen Humans,
But Racism Is Not Taught By God

Nelson Mandela, a brother in Christ (now with our Lord) who stood against apartheid in South Africa, once truly said:

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

Think about Peter’s statement to Cornelius for a moment. Listen to it again:

it is an UNLAWFUL THING for a man that is a JEW to keep company, or come unto one OF ANOTHER NATION

We saw earlier that Jesus gave specific instructions to the early Jewish Church to go into the whole world and tell every nation about the Gospel. But Peter is saying for him to go into a Gentile is “unlawful”. Unlawful based on what. On Scripture? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

There is absolutely nothing in the Scripture that tells a Jew to shun or stay away from Gentiles. Nothing, nowhere. The “Law” that Peter quotes is not from God, but from man.

Deuteronomy 10:17-19 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which REGARDETH NOT PERSONS, nor taketh reward: 18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and LOVETH THE STRANGER, in giving him food and raiment. 19 LOVE YE THEREFORE THE STRANGER: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

The “stranger” is a direct reference to people not like Israel. When Israel as a nation was going to be blotted out by famine, God sent Joseph into Egypt to prepare the way for Israel. God used Egypt to save Israel, when Israel was “a stranger”. This command is repeated numerous times throughout the Old Testament. God said:

Exodus 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a STRANGER, nor oppress him: for ye were STRANGERS in the land of Egypt.

Leviticus 19:33-34 And if a STRANGER sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the STRANGER that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were STRANGERS in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Strangers” were the Gentiles who lived all around Israel (see Jesus remark about the Samaritan in Luke 17:18). In fact, God prophesied that when Messiah came, He would come for the Gentiles as well as the Jews (Isaiah 42:6-7; 49:6; 60:1-3). The Bible is very clear that God loves all people, all nationalities, and all people are made in God’s image. The Scripture is very clear:

John 3:16 For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

2 Corinthians 5:19 … God was in Christ, reconciling THE WORLD unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Romans 8:32 {God} spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us ALL,

The “unlawful” thing that Peter had been taught was a part of man’s warped religious racism.

Acts 10:28 Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

When we as humans degrade others, we are not doing a Godly thing. We are doing a satanic thing. It is satan’s desire to bring confusion and destruction into our blessed Country, Country I dearly love. Satan is using red, yellow, black, and white people to perpetuate racism. Some are using slanderous words, others are using words like “white privilege” or “white guilt”. These words are as much racist as is the other rhetoric. God does not look at the skin, but at the heart. Do you know Him? Are you a child of God by faith in Christ? Where is your heart? God says:

Romans 2:9-11 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

To the person marching peacefully, you have that right as an American. Let your voice be heard. But to the person rioting, damaging property, hurting people because of their color or their uniform, you will stand before the Holy and Righteous God one day and give an account. This God is not red, yellow, black, or white. This God is Eternal. This God is the god Who made you, and could care less what your skin tone is. To those who are in charge God says:

Ephesians 6:9 … ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; NEITHER IS THERE RESPECT OF PERSONS WITH HIM.

To God, every person has value. Every person is made in God’s image. There were times in the Old Testament when God ordered Israel to destroy certain people groups, but this had nothing to do with skin color but with sin. James, the stepbrother of Christ, warned Christians saying:

James 2:8-9 If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

To treat people as less than or inferior to yourself is NOT part of God’s Law, but a direct VIOLATION of God’s Law. We, like Peter, need to heed what God says in His Word – not what some man made law or custom says.

Godly Love Opens The Door To Sharing & Receiving The Gospel

Continuing our story, Peter asks Cornelius,

Acts 10:29 … I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?

Cornelius tells Peter:

Acts 10:30-33 Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. 33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

Peter did what God told him to do ….. finally! Peter was a leader in the early Church, but was not the first one to reach out to the Gentiles. A deacon named Philip was led by the Holy Spirit to an Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:29-37) and led him to Christ. But Peter, along with the majority of the Jewish Church, stayed where they were comfortable … until now. Cornelius told Peter, in essence, “because you came, we are ALL of us Gentiles present before God. We are ready to hear what God told you to tell us.” Peter says:

Acts 10:34-43 Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

As Peter shared the Gospel to the Gentiles, the need of every person for Jesus Christ, God gave the same sign to Peter that He first gave on the Day of Pentecost. The Gentiles believed on Jesus and were saved. In obedience to Christ these men were baptized as Jesus commanded. Praise God! Praise God!

Beloved, we as God’s people must not be drawn into racism. The world relabels racism. Do not fall for words like “white privilege”, “white guilt”, “black lives matter”. If it is popular with the world, you can know it is against God. What is God’s standard? It is to show respect for every person, regardless as to their color or custom. God tells us in Christ that every life matters. If you are treating people of a different color with little respect then, beloved, you are racist. If you are looting and burning things which are not your own, you are a thief and a rioter. God is not the Author of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). And Jesus demands that every person you meet, you are to treat with respect and love. Jesus said in both Testaments of our Bible:

Leviticus 19:18 … thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself …

Romans 13:9-10 … Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

We are to love one another. Love for others is what turned the Jewish Church from racism to what Christ intended – a Church that reached out to all people. Jesus died for the world. Let us share Him with others while we have breath. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen and Amen.

May God the Holy Spirit touch our hearts with His Word this very day!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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