Ray Ortland: Christ Our Only Social Category

Below is a short article by Ray Ortland found at the Gospel Coalition Website. With some comments following.

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.  Colossians 3:11

“The visible demonstration of Christ’s exaltation and lordship in seen in His people’s communal lives which form a new society.  This is nothing less than a new beginning to humanity in which all the old divisions, hatreds and stratifications have lost their bitterness and meaning. . . . a new order which is asserting its presence in the world and so witnessing to Christ’s transforming power in modern society.”

Ralph P. Martin, Colossians: The Church’s Lord and the Christian’s Liberty (Grand Rapids, 1972), page 118.

The sub-divisions and social collectivities we might perceive as too obvious to ignore — race, generation, class, and so forth — it’s not just that we are to be above these divisive categories.  It’s not just that we are to be too generous at heart to let them sway us any more.  Rather, we are to understand that now, in Christ, these distinctions no longer exist.  The only existence they continue to have is inside our thoughts and feelings, between our two ears.  But in Christ there is not Greek and Jew, etc.

If we would never allow a racial division in our churches, and we wouldn’t, let us neither allow a generational division or any other merely human line of separation.  Any thought grounded in an “us/them” assumption falls short of the gospel.  The wonderful reality we are seeing in one another moment by moment is Christ.

Interestingly enough, just last night we had a brief discussion about this very issue...especially in regards to skin color. In the Body of Christ, rich and poor, slave and free, old and young, black and white (or any other color for that matter) are all one. 

When it comes to skin color that's all it is...skin color. Skin color is like the color of your hair or your eyes. But yet we don't see churches or clicks of brown haired people or churches where only the blue eyed people gather. Sticking together because of skin color is foolishness and sinful. Your skin color does not affect your spirituality, your integrity, or your world view. What affects these things are the people you associate with, the family you your brought up in, the neighborhood you hung out in, the schools you went to. Unfortunately, many of us have been brought up in ungodly homes, associated with ungodly people, attended ungodly schools and listened to ungodly politicians and preachers. 

At the Church of Charlottesville our hope and prayer is God will mold together diversity into unity to be a beautiful, pure Body of Christ.