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Great Equalizer . . .

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Easter Is the Great Equalizer

Remco Brommet, IFA Contributing Author 

 

 

Father, open our eyes anew to the great miracle of the death and resurrection of Christ: that it provides the only way of reconciliation with the Father, and the only way into the Kingdom of Heaven for every tribe, tongue, and nation in the world. Set our hearts ablaze for the unity we have in the Spirit, brought about by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and pour out your love into our hearts that makes Jesus visible to an increasingly loveless and divided world, through our unity, in answer to His high-priestly prayer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Recently, my eye caught a headline that read: ”Chicago Church Fasting From Whiteness During Lent By Ditching Hymns Written By White People.”

Ouch. The article went on to say that the church, headed by a white pastor, is aiming to be more inclusive to people of color, thus promoting unity. I think I understand their intention, but I think it misses the point of Christian unity. My heart hurt when I read it, and it intensified what I have felt burdened to pray for often: unity in the American Church

 

Our divisions along racial, doctrinal, political, and socio-economic lines run deep. Volumes have been written about why that has happened. Racial division, which has plagued the church as far back as Acts (Acts 6:1), has come back to the foreground since the unrest and violence triggered by the violent death of George Floyd. There have been lots of helpful suggestions such as these on how to be proactive in ending racial segregation in the church. All good and important stuff.

But I can’t help but think that every human effort to end racial discrimination and segregation in the church is only putting Band-Aids on the wound if it does not go hand in hand with a deep work of the Holy Spirit to change our hearts. The fact that segregation exists is a symptom of walking in the flesh, rather than the Spirit (see Galatians 5:18-24). Some of the works of the flesh that are listed in this text are dissensions, strife, divisions, and enmity. Verse 24 emphatically states that those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” The fact that visions, tensions, and enmity like racism still exist in the church imply that those works of the flesh have not been crucified in our hearts by us who claim to belong to Jesus Christ.

That is a matter for deep, urgent, and persistent prayer that should be fueled by understanding one of the aspects of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that is all too often overlooked, namely that it is the Great Equalizer.

During Easter we commemorate that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross once for all, and that He rose from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:25, 1 Peter 2:24,25). By His death and resurrection, He provided one entry point into the Kingdom of God for every human being regardless their skin color, ethnic heritage, political views, past deeds, economic standing, language, or anything else. The one entry point given to all human beings is this: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (Acts 2:38) The immediate result of this repentance is that “you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (same verse).

The outcome of repentance and receiving forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit to indwell us is, that we all become members-in-equal-standing of God’s global Church: “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”  (Ephesians 4:4-6) Because of that amazing unification in Christ, we are exhorted to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Easier said than done. As a matter of fact, we can’t manufacture that with human effort, no matter how good our intentions are. Which is why we need a heart transformation by the Holy Spirit. The preceding chapter in Ephesians explains what that transformation consists of: “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 

 

And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:14-22).

The breaking down of the dividing walls of hostility – which I believe to be both our sinful inclination to discriminate against others, and the anger caused by that discrimination – is done in us by the Holy Spirit, and is key to us walking in our true identity as members of one Body, filled with one Spirit, worshipping one Father, who is over us all, through us all, and in all – a chosen generation, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a people of God’s own possession from every imaginable background (see 1 Peter 2:9-10). A major aspect of the gospel is that it brings us out of a world where hatred, strife, and divisions reign, even to the point of violence, into a kingdom where love, unity, healing, and equality rule.

The fact that division of any kind, including and perhaps especially, racism, means that either the Holy Spirit is not in us, or that we have quenched Him to the point of not allowing Him to do the work He desires to do in our hearts that leads to love and unity and the visible presence of Christ among us.

Easter – the celebration of Christ’s atoning death and glorious recollection – is the great equalizer. It reminds us that we are one in Christ, that we should walk in the unity He purchased on the cross by His blood and vigilantly oppose any division, any exaltation of outward differences, any strife that have been giving Satan footholds among us.

Divisions, especially those based on outward appearance, deeply grieve Jesus, Who endured unimaginable pain and suffering to pave the way to reconcile the people created in His image to God and to each other, and Who prayed fervently that the people that the Father would give to them would be one (John 17:20-21).

As an intercessor, I identify with the things that grieve the heart of God. His grief over our shortcomings as a church, in this case disunity, awaken in me desperate prayer for His mercy and intervention.

For me, that is where Easter and Intercession come together. As I celebrate the resurrected Christ I do so with a deepening desire for our faith in Him to unite us, to stir the same mind and heart in us that are in Him, and to see wounds of discrimination, injustice, and division healed.

In my own desire to see Spirit-wrought radical change in the Church, I invite you to pray with me throughout this Holy Week:

•That the strife in the world, and in His church, would cause Christians to contemplate that Easter signifies the Great Equalization and Unification that exists for us in Christ.

•That our unity is to set an example to an increasingly dark, divided, and loveless world.

•For a spiritual awakening in the church that a deep work of the Holy Spirit is needed to overcome our divisions, heal our wounds, and unite us in genuine, unconditional love that makes Christ visible to the world. A work that God desires to do, and we must let Him do.

•For conviction of our lukewarmth, worldliness, and clinging on to judge appearances that leads to a repentant, heartfelt, desperate desire for that outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

•For His Church in America to re-enthrone Christ in our hearts, homes and congregations and make His priorities our priorities, His will, our will, His desires our desires, and thus return to walking in a manner worthy of our salvation, pursuing unity at all costs, and making His presence in us visible to the world.

 

Author Remco Brommet is a pastor, spiritual growth teacher, and prayer leader with over 40 years’ experience in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the US. Born and raised in the Netherlands and pastoring his first church in Amsterdam, he moved to the US in 1986. He and his wife Jennifer currently live north of Atlanta, GA When not writing books, he blogs and assists his wife as content developer and prayer coordinator for True Identity Ministries. Jennifer and Remco are passionate about bringing people into a deeper relationship with Christ.

 

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17.03 | 00:11

Praise God! He is so good to all of us!

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16.03 | 15:20

I needed to hear this today. Its been sooo very difficult for a long time honestly asked God if I was the toxic one and just didn't realize it so I could repent

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11.01 | 20:32

this is so beautiful and such a testimony to the Lord's healing power and sanctification through our suffering. Much of my walk with Christ is similar to yours.

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12.12 | 00:13

Shavua Tov

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