God loves all people, and He wants His children to love all their brothers and sisters. But the Bible does talk a lot about ethnic backgrounds. Why?
When God looks at His Church, He sees “neither Jew nor Greek” (Galatians 3:28). He “made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
God has no prejudices; He hates oppression and injustice. And He wants Christians to follow that example. Racism and ethnic discrimination have no place in a Christian’s life.
But the Bible does not ignore the ethnic background of the people it features. Nor does it shy away from promising blessings and giving warnings to specific ethnic groups. Why? Are such passages a form of prejudice or racism?
God created families
Genesis shows we all are members of Adam and Eve’s family. And more recently, we are all members of Noah’s family.
All the nations of the world are related physically. And God wants us all to be related on a much deeper and more important level, as His children spiritually.
Still, God’s family plan would not be thwarted. Even though the majority of mankind rejected Him, God began to work through one man He chose to become the “father of all those who believe” (Romans 4:11-12). Though God wanted members of Abraham’s physical family to be examples of faithfulness, the ultimate plan was to adopt all people into the spiritual family of the faithful—no matter what their race or ethnic background.
God was pleased by Abraham’s faith and obedience, so He made wonderful promises to Him that would affect all people.
God promised: “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3).
The first part was for Abraham’s physical family, and God expanded on these physical promises several times to Abraham, to his son Isaac and to his grandson Jacob (also called Israel). In fact, some of these promises were so great they were not fulfilled during biblical times, but were prophecies for the last days (Genesis 49:1). (Read more about how God has faithfully fulfilled these physical promises, and how this confirms His faithfulness with all His promises, in our free booklet The United States, Britain and the Commonwealth in Prophecy.)
The last part of the promise in Genesis 12:3, though, was not just for Abraham’s family and was not just physical. It was for “all the families of the earth” and would involve the greatest spiritual blessing imaginable.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would come to make it possible to reverse our eternal death sentence. He paid our penalty for us! He gave His life because He desires all people to be saved from the “wages” we have earned by our sins—death (Romans 6:23).
This incredible spiritual blessing includes people of all nations and backgrounds repenting, being converted and becoming part of God’s spiritual family. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
What a wonderful promise! What a wonderful blessing to look forward to—when all people will understand this promise and have the chance to accept God’s offer to join His family!
But that hasn’t happened yet. Why?
Looking at this confused and crazy world, with all of its corruption, oppression and unfairness, it can be easy to wonder why God doesn’t just intervene right now. Why does He allow racism, prejudice, inequity and evil?
Again, it all goes back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve’s choice of the forbidden fruit was in essence a choice to decide right and wrong for themselves. They were telling God to keep His nose out of their business. And that is the path humanity has followed ever since.
This world is not fair. God hates its injustice and sins. His people sigh and cry about its evils.The result has been a world of selfishness that too often expresses itself in greed, oppression, prejudice, pride, anger and violence.
This world is not fair. God hates its injustice and sins. His people sigh and cry about its evils (Ezekiel 9:4).
But God takes the long view, and He has a merciful plan that will give each person a complete and fair chance to choose God’s ways.
God’s future plans for all people
Jesus promised to return to this earth to prevent our total self-destruction (Matthew 24:3, 21-22). After the wrath of God is poured out upon those who are disobedient to God’s laws (Revelation 6:12-17) and after Jesus Christ destroys the armies that gather to fight against Him when He returns (Revelation 19), people will finally be ready to listen and learn the way of peace and righteousness.
Then people of all nations will come to His headquarters in Jerusalem to learn His pure way of thinking that will help gradually wash away attitudes of prejudice, racism and violence and replace them with justice, righteousness and peace.
The apostle Paul, though a descendant of Abraham himself, worked tirelessly to bring the good news of this future time to those of other nations and ethnic groups, known collectively as gentiles. He longed for the time when the following prophecies would be fulfilled:
- “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people! …
- “Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! …
- “There shall be a root of Jesse [Jesus Christ]; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope” (Romans 15:10-12).
In preparation for that day when all nations will learn to live in peace and mutual respect, Paul exhorted Christians today to put aside partiality, prejudice, grudges, bitterness, anger, evil speaking and malice (Ephesians 4:31).
The fruit of thousands of years of hatred, jealousies and division can only be overcome by the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Attitudes of revenge must be replaced with service and forgiveness; evil must be overcome with good (Romans 12:17-21).
God is far from racist. He wants all His children to strive for and long for the unity and harmony He desires for His family—now and for eternity!