1 Timothy 1:3-11 (ESV)
As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
Sometimes I wonder how we Christians have long justified incorrect behavior with the glaring condemnation in these verses. Many Christians participated in slavery, or in shady dealings with indigenous people when western Europeans populated what is now the United States. Some back then called it the Manifest Destiny, and justified it because we were bringing Jesus to the pagans, or heathens.
However it happened, it is done, and all we can do about it today is learn from the wrongs that were done. We must resolve to treat all men fairly. We must preach the Gospel of truth, not any. other gospel. As it says above, “...We know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,...” Thus we know that we must be aware of, and reconcile our consciences to the sins of the past. We must ensure that we do not treat people differently because of their race, or gender. We must treat others as we wish to be treated.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Let us all seek to demonstrate the content of our character as we are washed by the Blood of the Lamb.
by Virgil Stripes