“Where there can’t be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondservant, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.”
There are no divisions, class structures or ungodly human social divisions in the kingdom. There is no regard for some and disregard for others. Christ is the head and Lord of all His people and no one else will trouble them. He deals with them directly and teaches and encourages them through the power of the Holy Spirit. All the constructed methods of dividing people are now defunct in the Christian church. There are no nationality issues, race issues, religious practice issues, social standing issues or relational issues. All are levelled and dealt with in Christ and all are put aside in the name of unity and the realty of Christian fellowship.
Of course these issues are still raised in Christian settings and there will always be divisions of all kinds, because of who we are as sinful people, but it ought not to be so. The role of prejudice in all social settings still raises its ugly head and we are still dedicated to making the divisions that suit our social settings. The tragedy today in our society, is that the church should be different, but it is not. The general society of human interaction is often fairer and more satisfying than the society we experience in the church setting. This should not be, but the church as an organisation has become bound up with corporate philosophy and the prejudicial thinking that the secular world has been fighting for years. Christian organisations and leaders have buried their heads in the sand and pretended that nothing is happening and that it does not apply to us. The result is a social arena with all sorts of factions and cliques that keep all outsiders out and condemns people to loneliness. People do not want to come among church people, because of the exclusivity of the environment and the condemnatory attitudes that dog the psyche of those who are involved there. The message is not proclaimed anyway and there is very little attempt made to reach out to others who are in any way different to the acceptable and set code of people behaviour.
Christ is not all-in-all, nor is that notion the prevailing culture of the people who go there and the mindset that they propagate. It is not biblical and not godly. Many are staying away and finding the Christian life challenging and lonely. There is no understanding of the people who live in the real society and who are not in our church groups. Divisions abound and all sorts of sin and wrong attitudes come in. We are so hot-housed in the church culture, we don’t even notice it. We might bear the name of Christ in saying we are “Christian” but we do not exhibit Him.
Our organisations become exclusive clubs for a limited type of person, and when they go, the group shrinks and one day the system will close its doors and die. This is how churches fold and fail. We do not grow because we are not preaching the gospel and people are not really changing and becoming like Christ, they are conforming to a social norm that is not real or realistic. If we refuse to change can we really call ourselves the churches of God? The structures in place do not meet the requirements in this verse and so we are not blessed.
As individual Christians we need to ensure our attitude is that of Christ, as spoken about in this verse. We need to regard people with the dignity of Christ and as image bearers of God and not as social outcasts, however we happen to interpret that term. There are no outsiders in Christ, only dearly beloved people who have been bought at such a great price. When we start regarding each other as such, we might start to make a difference…