|Volume 22 Number 6 August 2020||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Acts 17:26 informs us that God “…made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…” (NKJV, KJV, YLT, etc.). Other translations of the same verse read somewhat differently but teach the same truth. “…he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…” (ASV). “…he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…” (ESV). “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth…” (NIV). “…He made out of one source material every nation of mankind to inhabit the entire surface of the earth” (Wuest’s New Testament Expanded Translation). (The derived Greek text from which the KJV and similar translations were translated relies on a large quantity of manuscripts, while the ASV and other translations depend on a derived Greek text from three or so older manuscripts, therefore, supposedly of higher quality.)
Irrespective of the translation above to which one turns respecting Acts 17:26, it ought to be obvious to every Bible-believer that actually there is only one race—the human race. Dissimilarities of skin pigmentation, hair color, eye color, physique, ethnicity, culture, language, gender (i.e., male or female), age, economics, education, social status, habitat and such like are relatively irrelevant and do not alter the fact that every person is a part of the human race. Everyone—who has ever lived, is now living or who shall ever live—has Adam and Eve as his or her first biological, ancestral parents (Genesis 1:28). We’re all related to Adam and Eve; every human being ultimately belongs to the same extended family. We are all brothers and sisters through Adam and Eve. Later in human history and following the universal flood of Noah’s day, God at that time charged Noah’s family to repopulate the earth (Genesis 9:1). Therefore, every human being is a descendant of those eight souls who disembarked Noah’s ark (1 Peter 3:20). Once more, we emphasize that we are brothers and sisters through the expanded family of Noah.
We are all humans and equally related to our first parents—Adam and Eve—and subsequently related likewise to Noah’s family. It is no wonder, then, that God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11; 1 Peter 1:17). That being true, the Gospel—God’s plan for the redemption of humanity—is for all of mankind irrelevant of dissimilarities of skin pigmentation, hair color, eye color, physique, ethnicity, culture, language, gender, age, economics, education, social status, habitat and such like. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16 NKJV). “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). “…make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). No member of the human race is exempted from the potential blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When anyone, irrespective of dissimilarities of skin pigmentation, hair color, eye color, physique, ethnicity, culture, language, gender, age, economics, education, social status, habitat and such like, conforms to that Gospel, then, he or she is “saved” and added to the church of the Bible by Jesus Christ Himself (Acts 2:47). The New Testament categorizes all of humanity into two groups—Jews and non-Jews or Gentiles. Through compliance with the Gospel, people from those two groups become one body.
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision [Jews] made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both 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, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off [Gentiles] and to those who were near [Jews]. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:11-18)
Non-Jews and Jews who obey the Gospel are “fellow citizens…and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). Non-Jews and Jews “who do not obey the Gospel” (2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17) remain interrelated and equal through their biological, ancestral relationship to Adam and Eve, as well as to Noah’s family, but they are not family members of the household of God—the “one body” (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 20; Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 3:15)— “the church” (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23; Colossians 1:18, 24). “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13). “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 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” (Galatians 3:27-28). Each child of God, without distinction owing to dissimilarities of skin pigmentation, hair color, eye color, physique, ethnicity, culture, language, gender, age, economics, education, social status, habitat and such like enjoys spiritual equality—salvation. (Only roles differ for male and female Christians, elders, deacons, preachers, and teachers.)
The artificial distinctions of the dissimilarities of skin pigmentation, hair color, eye color, physique, ethnicity, culture, language, gender, age, economics, education, social status, habitat and such like do not detract from anyone’s membership in the one race—the human race. Neither do the peculiarities from one person to another reduce the spiritual equality and membership of any Christian in the one body—the one church of the Bible. All we are one race—the human race. All we who have believed Jesus Christ to be the Son of God or the Messiah (John 8:24), have contacted the saving blood of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:5) by being buried in baptism into the death of Christ (Romans 6:3-4) and have been resurrected therefrom to walk in newness of life with Him (Romans 6:4-5) are “one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28). (Repentance—Acts 2:38—and professing Jesus to be the Christ—Romans 10:9-10—go along with Gospel obedience, which leads to forgiveness of past sins.) Human beings are brothers and sisters through a common ancestry with Adam and Eve, and all Christians are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).
God Hath Not Given
Us a Spirit of Fear
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
“For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV). These were Paul’s inspired words to a preacher who, no doubt, was facing some fearful times. Paul was imprisoned for a second time, which imprisonment would result in his death, when he wrote his second letter to Timothy. Can you imagine the fear that must have passed through Timothy as he considered his mentor and “father” in the faith, Paul, no longer being there on whom to lean? Timothy was most likely filled with apprehension, anxiety and doubt. Paul’s words were sent to Timothy to remind him that God does not want His children to live in fear. Fear is a crippling, debilitating, spiritual disease that can overcome and control us. There are numerous things that fear brings about, none of which are good for the Christian and his work for God.
Fear is a prison. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they were fearful and hid themselves from Him (Genesis 3:8). Fear becomes a prison where people work diligently to hide from everyone, especially from God. Fear becomes a prison wherein we hide, trying to avoid anyone and everyone. Fear will immobilize us to our full potential and keep us from growing. A person who is fearful seldom attempts to do anything outside his comfort zone because he is locked up in a prison of allowing fear to control and contain him. If we allow it, fear will enslave us to our own little thinking (little box mentality), and we can never reach our full potential. Are you enslaved to fear?
Fear causes a loss of perspective. Have you ever tried to walk on a balance beam? As long as you focus on the beam and not on the ground below, most people can walk a straight line. However, when a person becomes fearful and loses perspective, falling is almost a guarantee! Why? Fear pulls our focus and perspective off course. Can you imagine how successful Noah would have been in building the ark if fear were present? Instead of fearing the pending flood and the tragic results of that flood, Noah kept his perspective on the task at hand. Noah kept his perspective and was saved. Peter began to sink when he lost perspective due to the fear of the winds and the waves (Matthew 14:30)! Peter lost perspective and almost perished! When fear is present, our perspective is skewed, and doom is certain!
Fear causes us to forget God’s promises. When Jesus was crucified and buried, fear caused the disciples to forget that Jesus promised that He would rise again on the third day (Matthew 16:21), and thus, they scattered and hid themselves. Fear caused them to have spiritual amnesia. When fear is present in our lives, we forget that God has promised great and wonderful things to His children. When the world seems to be against us, do not fear but remember, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31; cf., Matthew 10:28). When we fear and feel as though we are all alone, remember the promise of God, “…I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b; cf. Matthew 28:20; Joshua 1:5). Certainly, when fear begins to control our future, remember, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9).
Fear is the great paralyzer of the church and the individual Christian alike! Dear Friends, if we operate in fear, we can never reach our full potential in the service of God. Faith, not fear, is what moves mountains. There will always be obstacles and uncertainties that can result in fear in our work for the Lord, but may we ever strive to replace that fear with faith, because truly, “God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).