( [email protected] ) Jun 25, 2010 11:06 AM EDT

Galatians 3:19-29 " 19What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law..."

One of the accusations often lifted against the church is that we are hypocrites. We say one thing on Sunday mornings and then do things that are inconsistent with our Sunday best at other times. We may want to resist the accusation, but we have to admit that in some respects it is true. Our actions do not always reflect our confessions. The Belhar Confession, as it focuses on reconciliation, picks up on the accusation: “The credibility of this message is seriously affected and its beneficial work obstructed when it is proclaimed in a land which professes to be Christian, but in which the enforced separation of people on a racial basis promotes and perpetuates alienation, hatred and enmity.”

There are so many important reasons why we need to address any racism that exists in our churches. Primary among them is that our witness to the gospel and to Christ is “affected” and “obstructed” when we do not practice what we preach. We profess, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” But when we live inconsistently with that profession, we give evidence to the accuracy of the accusation of hypocrisy.

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