Once the New Testament church began in Acts 2, Israel was reckoned as a spiritual body, not just a physical nation. Henceforth, the division was not between physical Israelites and Gentiles, but reckoned spiritually between converted and unconverted people. This was first accomplished in Cornelius, a physical Gentile, via Peter's vision (Acts 10). Christ specially trained Saul/Paul, appointing him as apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13).

This transition was not without difficulty as students of Acts and of Paul's epistles are aware. Life-long animosities had to be dispelled, even among the apostles! Is there a lesson for us? Can racial hatreds actually be altered—changed to gentle, loving relationships? If so, how?

Paul had a monumental task on his hands. Israelites had migrated to all nations of the world (Acts 2:5-14). When Paul evangelized in Gentile areas, he encountered Israelites and Gentiles whom God was converting, and racial animosities boiled over. In Romans, he carefully explains to the Israelites that the Gentiles are now candidates for both inclusion into spiritual Israel and salvation. He also warns the Gentiles not to be too full of themselves or "high-minded," for the "Jew" still had an advantage, having been given the oracles of God (Romans 3:2) and being the natural branch (11:13-26). Nevertheless, ALL had sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Rather than being thankful to be included in salvation, everyone argued over physical superiority. Sounds like today!

Paul—and God—looked upon spiritual Israel as one spiritual people, no matter what their physical ethnicity. In that sense, bigotry, alleged inferiority, and discriminatory problems—referred to as "racial" problems—in this world, in this nation, or in God's church are more correctly conversion problems.

Apart from God's Spirit, the world's racial problems have no solution. They have existed between the different races for thousands of years, and not just between "whites and blacks" in this country. Satan will stir up the races against each other more and more as the end of the age draws near. Are we converted enough to love one another, regardless of race, in God's Family where "there is neither Jew nor Greek" (Galatians 3:28), black nor white?