We live in a time when many people are obsessed with divisions. Critical Race Theory (CRT) is growing in its influence and is threatening to shatter the dream of Martin Luther King Jr – a dream in which people are judged not by the colour of their skin but the content of their character. That dream will never be realised if the proponents of CRT get their way, because their doctrine is that you must judge people, not on the content of their character, but on the colour of their skin. They want to identify and define you primarily by colour regardless of your beliefs and values, rather than by your beliefs and values regardless of your colour. As far as the Bible is concerned, there are only two races – there is the natural human race with Adam as the head, and then there is the new human race with Christ as the head – both are composed of people of every colour and from every culture.
We are not only seeing the promotion of racial division, but political division too. I remember when people on either side of the political divide would see their opponents as people who had the same goal (the good of society) but a different view of what the good was or how to achieve it. This allowed for sharp but civil and somewhat friendly disagreements. Now, your political opponent is your enemy, intent on the destruction of society. Brexit / Remain, Labour / Conservative, Republican / Democrat – the hatred between these opposing sides is often unconcealed.
1 Corinthians 1:18 shows how God divides humanity. The gospel presents a “them” and “us” scenario – “them that perish” and “us which are saved”. This is the division that really counts. Here are three points to consider about this division:
Each one of “us” was once one of “them”
Those of us who are saved should never forget that we were once in the category of “them that perish”. No one is born into the saved group. Because of Adam’s sin, we are all born outside of Eden, away from God, not enjoying the blessings humanity was created for, not fulfilling the purpose we were designed for. In our rebellion we earned God’s judgment, and were in danger of being lost forever, but we have been saved.
We need to remind ourselves often that, “I once was lost, but now am found…” These reminders would preserve us from being discontent and help us to be thankful. You may have big problems in your life, but if there was an offer on the table that all your problems would go away if you would move from the saved category into the perishing category, would you do it? Of course you wouldn’t. You realise this, salvation is a far greater blessing than anything else. God gave His Son for you, you are forgiven, a child of God, brought into the family of God, united to Christ to share His glory forever, and you deserved none of that. By merit, you should have been lost, but now you are saved – be thankful.
Notice as well, the division isn’t “them that perish” and “us which are good / religious”. We didn’t work our way out of the perishing category – we were rescued from it. We were helpless to get out. This will preserve us from looking down our nose at “them that perish” – we are no better than them – it was grace that rescued us.
Any one of “them” can become one of “us”
The door that was open for us is open for them and all are welcome. The power that delivered us can deliver them, no matter who they are, no matter what they have done.
So, don’t lose hope for your friends who are not yet saved, or if you aren’t saved, don’t lose hope for yourself. The love that took Christ into death shows us He is willing to save. The power that brought Him out of death shows us that He is able to save.
No matter how bad someone is, we can produce someone who is now in the “saved” group who was worse. The gospel “is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
None of “us” can become one of “them”
The door between “them” and “us” only opens one way. It’s great to know people can go from “perishing” to “saved”, but it’s even better to know that no one can go from “saved” to “perishing”.
God the Father ensures the eternal security of everyone who is saved – we “are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation” (1 Peter 1:5).
The Son of God ensures the eternal security of everyone who is saved – “the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37).
The Spirit of God ensures the eternal security of everyone who is saved – “having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
When it comes to these divisive issues, there is a lot of importance placed on making sure you are “on the right side of history.” People are very concerned with how people in the future will look back on them. It will make no difference to us how people in the future view us. The most important thing is to be on the right side of eternity. All other divisions disappear with the great equaliser of death. The division between saved and perishing remains, with this difference – it will not be possible then to move from saved to perishing.