world map with title of tract

There is no such thing as the “British race”. You sometimes come across the phrase, especially in older writings.

But who were the British, before the time when people with different coloured skins began living here in large numbers (from the 1950s or thereabouts)? The British were a mixture of Celts, Picts, Irish, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, and Normans. There must have been a good bit of Roman blood in there too. So the inhabitants of this island were not exactly a race in the “olden days”. They were already a fair jumble of races.

God's purpose is to create a multi-racial community. He has fulfilled that purpose in Jesus Christ. Christ gathers a people from every ethnic background, who live together in peace with God and each other. As the New Testament puts it:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

(Puzzled by the reference to Greeks? In the eastern half of the Roman Empire, all non-Jews were looked on as being Greek, since Greek was the common language of the whole area in those days. So “neither Jew nor Greek"” means “neither Jew nor non-Jew” – in other words, everyone, regardless of race.)

The decisive thing for the Gospel is grace, not race. Grace is the free, undeserved, unmerited goodness of God, flowing from His heart of mercy towards a sinful world. Whatever race a person belongs to, grace reaches out to him or her in Christ. He has no racial favourites. No race has divinity written into its genes. Rather, all races have their share of sin; and all have access to God by the same route — grace.

And so God's grace in Jesus Christ creates an amazingly diverse community. "There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all" (Colossians 3:11 - Scythia was the region north of the Black and Caspian Seas; its people were considered unusually savage).

All racial pride is offensive to God. In fact, anything of our own we boast about and beat others with – whether race, class, gender, IQ, personal virtue, or anything else – is offensive to God. He gives us only one place to stand before Him: grace. That divine grace in Jesus Christ breaks down all our human barriers of racial pride, and other kinds of arrogance. It produces instead one united family – the sons and daughters of God, welded together in all their diversity, not by ethnic origin, nationality, colour, politics, social status, or moral achievement, but by grace.

Remember this. In a world like ours, festering with racial hatreds, it sums up an essential aspect of the Gospel. Grace, not race.

"Thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation"
(Revelation 5:9).