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Am I Truly Saved If I Don't Feel Convicted of My Sin?

The Value of Cross-Cultural Friendships

Posted August 7, 2023

Words like “diversity” have become controversial in our culture, with some deifying such terms and others demonizing them. But the Lord does not fall into our petty, polarized divides. He doesn’t regard diversity as our chief end as some do. Our end is to glorify him and enjoy him forever.[1] Nor does he regard diversity as a matter of indifference. Here are three reasons why we should not only strive for diversity in the church, but also in our personal lives:

1.) It reflects the heart of God.

Israel was never meant to be the sole recipient of God’s grace. The Lord told Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). That blessing would come through Jesus Christ—"for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Jesus instructs his disciples to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19) and to be his “witnesses to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The Lord loves the nations and means for us to as well. This doesn’t mean we should all be foreign missionaries. In fact, in many places of the world, God has, in his providence, brought the nations to us. It may be hard to live or work anywhere without crossing paths with someone of a different culture. Go out of your way to love them. Invite them over dinner. Listen to their stories and learn from them. Show them the love of God as he enables you to do so.

2.) It shows the power of the gospel.

By engaging and befriending people of different cultures—perhaps even worshipping alongside them—you are showing the power of the gospel, “for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:15). Especially in our tribalized age, it’s easy to let our differences deter and divide us. It’s more comfortable to live in our echo chambers.

The gospel of Jesus Christ changes this whole calculus. It doesn’t matter how different we are; we share the same fundamental hope in Jesus. All of us were once far off from Jesus, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13). There is no greater tie that binds than the blood of Jesus Christ. Diversity in our friendships displays this beautiful reality.

3.) It pictures the age to come.

In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John beheld “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!’” (Rev. 7:9–10).

People in our present day talk often of unity and inclusivity, but only the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord can truly accomplish this. What was dispersed at Babel will be brought together in the new heavens and earth. Let us join even now with our brothers and sisters of different cultures in declaration that salvation belongs to our God.

[1] See Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 1

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Stephen Roberts

Stephen Roberts is an Army chaplain and also writes for Modern Reformation and has written for numerous other publications. He is married to Lindsey—a journalist—and they have three delightful and precocious children.