Black Lives Really DO Matter Because Christ’s Life Matters: 

The Most Promising Way Forward in Race Relations

 

Disclaimer: This blog post focuses on the phrase “Black lives matter,” chanted at marches and emblazoned on millions of T-shirts worldwide. However, ChristNow does NOT promote the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter or endorse the organization at www.BlackLivesMatter.com.

 

Take a good look at the picture above. Surely, you’ve heard about what happened on that watershed afternoon. It was covered by all of the news outlets—reporting a solemn parade that surrounded the popular Black NASCAR driver, Bubba Wallace.

First, NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from all its racetracks nationwide—permanently. Then, in an act of anti-racism, it publicly embraced the only top Black driver on the NASCAR circuit. In late June, shortly before the start of a race in Alabama, competing drivers and their pit crews physically rallied in unison around Bubba. As spectators watched, they escorted him down the track as he sat in his car.

It was their way of showing respect for the young Black sportsman and their support for racial justice and healing. 

What most reports did not mention, however, was this: The display of solidarity climaxed when one of the drivers led the entire group in prayer. I listened as he asked the Father to pour out the Holy Spirit on all of them, to bring them into the love of Christ for one another. Amazing!

That moment provided a snapshot—better yet, a foreshadowing—of how the core burden behind the phrase “Black lives matter,” proclaimed by millions of our fellow citizens in Black and White communities here and globally, will find its true fulfillment.

The most radical and comprehensive answer to the prayer on the NASCAR track that day is what ChristNow pursues every day, as we call for a wide-spreading reawakening of God’s people to the supremacy and saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In other words, the appeal to Americans to take seriously the urgency in the phrase “Black lives matter” will gain traction only to the degree that ANOTHER vision prevails. That vision could be summed up in a hashtag: #ChristLifeMatters. Wherever THAT message starts to “trend” within the Body of Christ—not the hashtag itself but rather the spiritual revolution it points toward—there we will find the most promising hope for peaceful and even loving race relations in our country. That’s because…

In God’s kingdom,
Black lives really DO matter
because Christ’s life matters.

The unmuzzled, anguished outcries we’ve heard this spring from a multitude of African Americans throughout our country have appealed to the majority culture, and rightly so, for a full embrace of their own sacred personhood as human beings who also happen to be Black. They want to be seen as valued and valuable in the eyes of ALL Americans.

Blacks in America are resolved, once and for all, to be respected and honored enough by the whole nation that we begin to work together across the racial divides to end endemic racism and racial injustice and to take a giant leap forward so that Blacks and Whites walk together, work together, and prosper together as fellow Americans. 

At the same time, to secure this transformation, many are lobbying for structural changes based on stronger government policies—policies that finally reverse the pervasive, ages-old disadvantages created by systemic racial inequalities rising out of 400 years of slavery, oppression, Jim Crow, segregation, discrimination, and deep-rooted prejudices.

For Christians, addressing such concerns should feel like familiar territory to us. Stop and think about it:

The current uprising for racial justice and equality attempts to amplify righteous outcomes within human communities for which Christ died, rose, and ascended on high. The redeeming work of our Lord Jesus opens the way for reconciliation, not only back to God but also to one another, along with the rehabilitation of the entire creation (see Colossians 1:18-20). 

Since our Savior took the throne of heaven, his reign has been actively bringing about our deliverance from the domain of darkness, our liberation from the curse of sin and self, the re-creation of our hearts to eradicate hatred and prejudice, and the forming of human communities shaped by truth, justice, and compassion—all of which is meant to unfold for the glory of the Triune God through the grace and triumphs of Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth.

The point is that when we start with CHRIST as the touchstone, then before him every life matters. Therefore, it becomes doubly true that:

In God’s kingdom,
Black lives really DO matter
because Christ’s life matters.

 

“The Overdue Awakening”

When TIME magazine ran a front cover story in June 2020 about current uprisings for racial healing and reformation in our land, they titled it “The Overdue Awakening.” 

Of course, TIME was talking about how, finally, the conscience of our nation is waking up and rising up to strive for a new day for the Black community and thus for all of America.

But there is another awakening that is also overdue—long overdue. It is the awakening that Christians nationwide must desperately seek as we cry out to the Holy Spirit to pour out his power upon us—the awakening to Jesus as Lord and King, as the ONLY answer to the full spectrum of social, moral, and spiritual problems that plague our nation right now.

This other “overdue awakening” will impassion Jesus followers everywhere as we encounter in new ways the full extent of the glory and greatness of God’s Son today and the breadth and depth of what his Kingship is all about. Clearly, we need a fuller revelation of how much Christ’s life matters in the midst of all the challenges we face at this hour—racial and otherwise!

Dr. Esau McCaulley, Black NY Times opinion writer, New Testament scholar, and professor at Wheaton College (IL), defines such renewal as Christians becoming “re-enchanted” with Jesus. In Christianity Today, he recently wrote:

We need to be re-enchanted by the Resurrection. Instead of looking at the problems facing the church and the world through the lens of our Twitter feeds, we need to remember that Christ is risen and rules over all. His power applies to all of our enigmas. Racism and systemic oppression are not more difficult to overcome than death. And our hope for a transformed society comes directly from the risen Lord . . . [He is] unstoppable. (emphases added)

Many Talk These Days About Becoming “Woke.”
What Does That Mean?

 

When using the word “woke,” Black leaders are referring to the experience of people becoming more aware of, and then more concerned for, the historic calamity and current afflictions that have been visited upon the Black community in our nation by fellow Americans—such as acts of brutality, educational and economic deprivations, or simply being treated as discarded.

But we might apply the word “woke” in its current meaning to another kind of wake-up call that could profoundly alter the Black experience in our nation. Consider:

What if God’s people, Black and White, “woke,” first of all, to CHRIST enough to become proactive in striving to understand one another, to reconcile with one another, to forgive one another so as to take action together to redeem our nation from the extensive damage of its “original sin”—slavery. What if we did so in the presence of and before the throne of the Lord of our salvation?

What if God’s people would enter into our own “woke” experience of a fresh encounter with CHRIST enough that we become aware of and concerned about something far more comprehensive than the agenda of “Black lives matter”—caring deeply about what we’ve done to each other, yes, but concerned first of all about what we have done to Christ himself?

What if our first order of business was to be “woke” to CHRIST enough to repent—Black and White Christians together—over how ALL of us have too often neglected him, diminished him, used him, avoided him, sidelined him, commercialized him, politicized him, dishonored and disgraced him before the eyes of the nation? 

What if throughout the Church, God’s people became “woke” to the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ today enough to become newly alive to who he is in the majesty of his supremacy—alive to where he’s headed, what he’s doing, and how his kingdom advances?

What if Black and White Christians “woke” to the wonders of CHRIST together enough to join in opening wide our hearts and our churches to him as we restore him to his rightful place among us—and then, as a direct result, opening wide our hearts to each other?

What if we “woke” to his presence among ALL of us enough to confess our sins against one another; to openly share our pain and brokenness with one another as well as our hopes and dreams; to invite God’s Son to bring about cleansing, new beginnings, and redemptive solutions for the racial challenges we face in the Church and in our nation?

What if, as a result, the entire nation itself became “woke” to the gospel of King Jesus enough to see with their own eyes dynamic manifestations of his reign already breaking through here and now, doing so in such life-changing and society-changing ways that they grow hungry for the transforming, saving power of Jesus in their own lives?

 

How the Truth That Christ’s Life Matters
Makes the Truth That Black Lives Matter Really Matter.

 

To bring this all together, here is a summary of the meanings behind the two phrases—”Black lives matter” AND “Christ’s life matters.” They represent two separate but complementary realities, which working in synergy allow the one truth to fulfill the other.

Let’s start with the phraseChrist’s Life Matters.”

CHRIST

  • “Anointed One,” which is Jesus’ title as ascended Lord of all
  • Creator of the cosmos, Redeemer of the nations, Head of the Church
  • Mediator able to bring harmony between God and us and with each other
  • Risen, reigning, proactive, and filling the universe with his presence and power
  • Embodies in himself all the prophecies, promises, and purposes of God
  • Son of God toward whom all history and all nations are moving
  • Ruler of rulers, advancing his kingdom policies within earth’s domains
  • Source of love—of its cleansing, healing, reconciling, and restoring gifts
  • Advocate for true justice—among the nations now and fully at the end
  • Savior who alone can eradicate sin and hatred from hearts and societies
  • And so much more

 

LIFE

  • He is the fountain of all life—all things were created by him and for him.
  • He lived a perfect life as one of us, doing so on our behalf.
  • He gave his life on the cross to atone for our sins before God.
  • He rose to life from the dead, victorious for our sakes.
  • He remains the source and substance of eternal life for all who trust in him.
  • He infuses his risen, ascended life into his followers daily by the Spirit.
  • He gives us a fullness of life that’s like being raised from the dead already.
  • He is the reason why we are alive today—for us to live IS Christ.
  • Our identity and destiny will always be wrapped up in the one who calls us to share in his indestructible life.
  • And so much more

 

MATTERS

  • He matters in all things because he’s received the supremacy in all things.
  • He matters so much that we must take him as seriously as he takes himself.
  • He matters as the one before whom every knee of every race will bow.
  • He matters since we have no other way to come to the Father but through him.
  • He matters as the center and circumference of our lives and our life together.
  • He matters because without him, in the end, we can achieve nothing that lasts.
  • He matters because he reigns over all people of all colors.
  • He matters because we all were created and redeemed for his glory.
  • He matters—thus, we must never forsake him as our all-consuming love.
  • He matters—thus, we must stop talking around him and start talking about him.
  • He matters—thus, we must become as passionate for him as the Father is.
  • He matters—thus, we must lose ourselves for his sake and the gospel.
  • He matters—thus, we must always seek more of him and share more of him.
  • He matters—thus, we must lay hold of everything for which he lays hold of us.
  • And so much more

If all I’ve outlined above is true (all taken from passages of Scripture), if Christ and the life he brings really matters as much as this overview suggests, then it makes plenty of sense to all of us Jesus followers—no matter the shade of our skin—to affirm this one eternal truth:

Now and for all ages to come, Christ’s life is the one life that really matters—for all of us. His preeminence in everything is what makes the truth that Black lives matter really matter. That’s because they matter to the King of Glory. Therefore, they must matter—they must be treasured—by every other human being on planet Earth. 

The magnificent destiny of every Black man, woman, and child who belongs to Jesus will join as an equal participant with all the saints of all the ages and from every nation and ethnicity in praising and serving the Lamb on the Throne forever—starting right now. 

Next, let’s unpack the three words that make up the popular sloganBlack Lives Matter.”

BLACK

  • Represents a distinctive skin tone just as beautiful as any other color.
  • Represents more than a race—it marks a distinctively incomparable people
  • Represents an extraordinarily resilient people who have survived the worst
  • Represents a complicated but amazing history full of suffering and success
  • Represents a stunning variety of cultures from around the globe 
  • Represents a unique reservoir of wisdom, strengths, capacities, and abilities
  • Represents a dynamic community emerging out of oppression and pain
  • Represents a spiritual vitality at a level that many Christians have missed
  • Represents a vision permeated with undiminished, unstoppable hope 
  • Represents a “gift” needed by all of America as well as the whole world
  • And so much more

 

LIVES

  • Black lives are created in God’s image and are, therefore, sacred and inestimable, both in the womb and in the world—full of unlimited potential to bring glory to God.
  • Black lives are precious, holding unmitigated worth equal to the peoples of every other race.
  • Black lives are irreversibly endowed by their Creator with the unassailable dignity and inalienable rights that are at the core of being human.
  • Black lives stand poised to be life-giving to the rest of the world in ways other races are not able because of the incomparable richness and resilience of the Black community and culture due to the profound, historical journey of the Black experience.
  • Black lives bring an uncommon level of moral and spiritual dynamism, mined out of centuries of suffering, that must be thoroughly woven into the very fabric of American character, if we are to realize our God-given purpose.
  • Black lives are indispensable and irreplaceable for establishing a level of justice and equality, healing and wholeness, and unity and collaboration that can make our nation truly exceptional in how we lead and bless the nations.
  • And so much more

 

MATTER

  • Black lives matter because of all the realities listed above.
  • Black lives matter—they are worthy of and deserve our full attention.
  • Black lives matter enough for Americans to stop, listen, and learn from them. 
  • Black lives matter enough to be treated with respect, justice, and equality. 
  • Black lives matter enough to finally secure social, economic, educational, legal—and even emotional—reclamation, restoration, and restitution.
  • Black lives matter enough to move our nation toward brokenness over how we have sinned against them, repentance over how we have misused and abused them, and compassion for their current plight and suffering.
  • Black lives matter enough to require all Americans to take immediate action to confront our long-standing prejudices; to finally right the wrongs committed against the Black community for centuries; to end all forms of oppressive treatment endured for generations; to open to them equal opportunities in education, housing, and employment; and to pursue government policies that implement practical solutions for their righteous cause.
  • Bottom line: The supreme reason Black lives matter is because, above all, “Christ’s life matters.” And Jesus Christ, as reigning Redeemer over all peoples, decrees that Black lives matter eternally to HIM—making Black lives really matter, right now, to all who love him!

Putting It All Together:
Application Questions

 

Finally, in view of these initial truths presented by these six words, I invite you to consider the following questions to reflect on how Christ himself offers the ultimate solution to making Black lives truly matter—to themselves and to all Americans.

1. Kingdom compatibility. Reviewing the various observations about the meanings that lie behind the three-word declaration “Black lives matter,” do you see anything outlined there that is not of Christ—that contradicts or appears incompatible with God’s kingdom and the reign of God’s Son?

Put another way: Go back over each bullet point under “Black, Lives, Matter” and ask yourself this: If the Lord Jesus Christ were to openly and directly intervene in race relations in our nation, would the concerns and goals of Black America draw his gracious, sovereign involvement? Would he be willing to take the current movement, redeem it, and then direct it toward positive outcomes that mark his kingdom?

2. Kingdom possibility. As you review the meanings behind each word of “Christ’s Life Matters,” would it be appropriate to conclude that Jesus is both the goal and the hope for bringing about an end to racism and advancing racial justice?

In other words, considering how I presented the truths about Christ above, can Black equality and advancement ever be fully realized apart from the Son of God?

Could it be that the person and reign of Jesus today—and our coming before him, Black and White Christians together—offer the single greatest hope for ending the racial tensions and challenges broiling in our nation today?

If so, wouldn’t working toward a nationwide Christ Awakening be the most strategic step any of us could take in this hour of national upheaval and cries for change?

That is exactly what we believe at CHRIST NOW—so wholeheartedly that we labor day and night, as an international team, to foster and encourage and to feed and fuel a wide-reaching, Christ-exalting uprising throughout the digital world in every way we can.

Come join us, brothers and sisters in Christ from every nation, tribe, language, and color! Become part of OUR mission. We represent a movement that’s BY Christ and IN Christ and FOR Christ—because, above all, we believe and proclaim that Christ’s life matters for us all.

Tell us what YOU think about all of this at #ChristLifeMatters.

Postscript: The Place to Begin

 

Note the wording in Colossians 3:11. This may be the most relevant Scripture for discovering how a nationwide Christ Awakening can connect Black and White Christians in vital synergy for Christ’s sake and the gospel:

In this new creation of God’s design there is no distinction
between Greek and Hebrew, Jew or Gentile,
foreigner or savage, slave or free man.
Christ is all that matters
for Christ lives in them all.
(Phillips Translation)

 

Notice from the passage, that this solution:

  1. Involves diversity, including racial and social diversity
  1. Is all about a “new creation” that is corporate in nature—a new community
  1. Brings believers together around the clear conviction that “Christ is ALL,” meaning who he is and what his life offers is all that matters to everyone, uniting us with one passion
  1. Also unites believers because Christ is “in all”—meaning our Lord Jesus, supreme as he is in everything, still comes close to us, walks among us, is at work with us—dwelling and reigning in the midst of us (not far off somewhere), pulling us together as he pulls us to himself

Colossians 3:11 shows us, therefore, why the CHURCH in America—if it reclaims a fuller vision of and recommitment to Christ for ALL he is—could provide and should provide the common ground, the level “meeting place,” for resolving Black/White issues among Jesus followers.

In other words, Christians must begin to show the example and set the pace that can help bring the rest of our nation along with us.

What a moment we find ourselves in as God’s people! What an opportunity, as never before, for the spread and impact of the gospel of the Kingdom in America! In Colossians 3:11, we find the most basic starting point for us. Read it again:

In this new creation of God’s design there is no distinction
between Greek and Hebrew, Jew or Gentile,
foreigner or savage, slave or free man.
Christ is all that matters
for Christ lives in them all.
(Phillips Translation)

Yes, the truth that Christ’s life matters makes the truth that Black lives matter really matter. Does that matter to YOU?

 


About the Author

Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com. Enjoy his regular CHRIST TODAY podcast.


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2 Comments
  1. JUAN CARLOS VIDAL 3 months ago

    Excelente mensaje, esa desigualdad que se expresa en las protestas recientes y pasadas en los EEUU, también tiene su replica en distintas culturas a nivel mundial, por ejemplo acá en Venezuela, el contexto se ejerce bajo una presión de contenido clasista, donde las masas mas desfavorecidas, han sido impulsadas por los políticos de turno, en contra de las clases mas pudientes, esto ha traído como consecuencia la fractura y declive de toda una sociedad. Ciertamente la iglesia es la bisagra que puede conectar o nivelar esas diferencias. Y la verdad es que Colosenses 34:11 nos da la clave para ello, en cualquier instancia o lugar del mundo, LO QUE IMPORTA ES CRISTO, la esperanza de gloria. Gracias hermanos por su trabajo y dedicación, todo su esfuerzo no sera en vano.

    • Author
      David Bryant 3 months ago

      Thank you, Jaun Carlos! Although I can’t translate your words, I know the words that are ALL CAPS say “CHRIST IS IMPORTANT”! Yes he is!! David

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