South Asian and Christian? Really? Isn’t Christianity the “white man’s religion though?” As our society becomes increasingly secular it may not be heard as much since fewer individuals identify themselves as Christians, but the sentiment is still out there.
What does it mean to be a Christian?
In order to honestly address this issue, I think first of all it would be appropriate to agree on our terminology. What does it mean to be a Christian? Am I talking about the family I was born into? There is a long lineage of “Christians” in my ancestry therefore I am a Christian. Am I talking about the culture I was born into? I once prayed a prayer many years ago so I’m a Christian. I read my Bible and/or attend church on Sundays therefore I am a Christian. These are some of the reasons why people identify themselves as Christians, but if you’re trusting in any of these or a combination, I’m sorry to inform you that you’ve missed the boat. Now before you get upset with me, I would urge you to hear me out and resist the urge to shoot the messenger.
The Creator of life and the universe is the one who has the right to set the terms, not you or me. If you disagree with that statement, then I’m guessing you believe we can all set the terms (relativism); however, you will find that if you push that “truth” to its logical conclusions an organization or society cannot function in harmony and it will collapse. When every individual becomes a law to oneself, the ultimate outcome is anarchy. Like it or not, we’re all subject to laws and parameters from “with-out” even though we would like to fuel the desires that are born from “with-in.” That is a discussion for a different day and perhaps I will address it in another blog.
The Creator of life and the universe (God) has existed as the Trinity (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) since eternity past. Man (Adam) was created by God as the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible tells us; two chapters later Adam disobeys God (sins) which results in spiritual death not only for Adam but for all his descendants (us).
We’ve all sinned in thought and action so we’re all rightfully condemned by a Holy and just God. Because sin needs to punished, someone has to pay. You’ve likely heard the saying, “he who does the crime does the time.” Unfortunately, we’ve all committed crimes which means we all deserve punishment. A just judge punishes guilty parties, and we’re all guilty of sinning against the almighty God of the universe. That’s the bad news
God is just but he is also merciful (not giving people what they deserve). How can one exercise justice and mercy at the same time? By introducing a third party, that’s how. Let’s use an example to explain. If a judge pronounced me guilty for a traffic violation, I would be subjected to paying the fine. To exercise justice the fine would have to be paid. If I couldn’t pay the fine and begged the judge for mercy, he would have the right to dismiss the fine, but then justice would not be served. He could either be just or merciful, but not both at the same time in this scenario. In order to be both just and merciful, a third-party transaction would have to take place. For example, if somebody else agreed to pay the fine then both justice and mercy could be exemplified. Justice would be served because a price would be paid for the crime, and mercy would be shown because the guilty party would not receive the punishment he deserved.
Even though God has the right to wipe us off the face of the earth for our iniquity, He instead sent His Son (Jesus) on the rescue mission. He was born to die. He came not be served but to serve others and give His life as a ransom for many. He lived a perfect life and satisfied the requirements of the law (something we can never do). In God’s mercy He allows us to be spared from the punishment we deserve, and puts it all on Jesus at the crucifixion instead. Every sin of every person: past, present, and future was put on Jesus; He bore the crushing weight of it all. Either I pay for my sin, or Jesus pays, there is no third option.
That’s what’s so amazing about GRACE: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. We receive Christ’s righteousness and in exchange He receives our filth. When we repent of our sin (stop going our own way) and by faith put our trust in what was done for us at the cross, it is then that we become acceptable to Him.
It’s not my heritage or family I was born into, it’s not my culture, it’s not my good works, it’s not even my Bible reading or church attendance that makes me a Christian. Repenting of my sin, in faith trusting what was done for me at the cross, surrendering my life to Him so that I am no longer my own but His, that’s what makes me a Christian. We are granted the highest privilege of becoming part of the True King’s family but it’s on His terms, not ours.
So where are you today in your journey?
So where are you today in your journey? Have you thought about or wrestled with the ideas of repentance, the cross, surrendering to God? Are you struggling with guilt? Maybe you feel guilty because you are guilty. All of us are guilty before Him but we do not have to continue with this heavy load that is crushing us. Jesus came to set us free from the sin predicament!
Now, back to the question of Christianity being the Caucasian’s religion. I believe the question itself is flawed because the questioner in this case does not understand what Christianity is. Instead of going into the history of missions and its outcomes, I would implore you to ask the individual, “What do you believe makes one a Christian?” or some variance of the question. Chances are the individual thinks it is one’s culture or heritage. It will be a great opportunity to clear up their misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian. Depending where they’re at spiritually, it could also be a great chance to sow seed regarding God’s nature, man’s fallen state, the redemption plan, etc.
Last I checked it’s not just our Caucasian brethren who are suffering from the sin predicament; it is a universal problem and we all suffer from the wages of sin which leads to death (separation from God). God’s love for us motivated Him to send His Son to free us all from the tyranny of sin and to put us in right standing with Him. This gift is for people from every tribe, nation, and tongue, including us South Asians. Now that’s what you call Good News.