After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9–10)
One of my prayers is that American society would stop trying to overcome racism through social engineering and instead embrace God’s solution.
God’s solution for racism starts with declaring that all people are equal, regardless of race or ethnicity. All people are created in God’s likeness and image. Hence, the above passage from Revelation describes people from “every nation” in heaven.
Even though God sees us all as equal, our fallen nature makes us susceptible to racism. Therefore, God’s solution for racism includes using His law to convict us of sins of racism. For example, if one race sees itself as superior to other races, God bring to bear the first commandment: You shall have no other gods. If we mock or ridicule others due to their ethnicity, God applies the fifth and eighth commandments to address the sin.
God will use these specific examples of sinfulness to expose the root cause of our racism: our sinfulness nature. We are powerless to overcome any and all sins. Thus, God’s solution includes the announcement of Good News: Jesus died and rose for the forgiveness of sins of all people, regardless of race and ethnicity. Through God-given faith in Jesus, we personally receive this powerful gift of forgiveness.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, this grace moves us to live out God’s commandments. We not only speak well of people regardless of race or ethnicity; we defend our neighbor being denigrated due to ethnicity or race.
God’s solution for racism is also realistic. Knowing that we are both saint and sinner (Romans 7:21-25), God has provided for us when we again fall into sins of racism. The steps for reconciliation after sin are clearly outlined in Scripture (Mathew 18:15-20). Confession and absolution are continually provided for God’s people.
Society’s solutions for racism all focus on changing behavior. God’s solution gets at the root cause – our sinful nature. This provides real hope for addressing racism, since God is the one who sanctifies His people. As we see in the vision of heaven in Revelation chapter 7, the day is coming when God will end all racism permanently.
(A Second Look devotions are written for the congregations of the Ohio District LCMS.)