DIVERSE CONFORMITY

Diversity and/or conformity can be very contentious actions if they are mandated, whether by governments (limiting free speech on campuses) or religion (Sharia law). Without curtailing choice, both can be good things. Most people enjoy learning about different food, dress, languages, and even ideas from those outside their own culture. Chaos and anarchy would rule if each person refused to conform to national, state, and local laws.

Diversity is a very Biblical concept. The Jews were not a totally monolithic people. They absorbed and intermarried with other cultures. Hagar was the Egyptian servant of Sarai and had a son named Ishmael from the seed of Abram. (Gen 21:9) Ruth was a Moabitess who married Boaz and whose descendant was King David. The members of the first Christian church were from many nations. (Acts 2:5-11) God has always loved the Gentiles (non-Jews) and had a plan for their inclusion into His church. (Is 49:6) (Acts 11:18) (Acts 13:16) (Rom 3:29) Jesus said the gospel was to be preached to the whole world before the end will come. It seems that heaven will be a very diverse place. In fact, whosoever wishes may come and drink of the free gift of the water of life. (Rev 22:17) (Rom 10:11-12)

All of these diverse, joyous souls in heaven will be those who have yielded their stubborn will to Christ and conformed themselves to his pattern. (Rom 12:2) (1 Pe 1:14-15) (Eph 1:11) (1 Tim 1:11) Paul tells us that we should all speak the same thing. (1 Cor 1:10) Peter adds that what we speak has to conform to the oracles of God. (1 Pe 4:11) Nevertheless, we can be diverse in disputable matters (Rom 14:1) if we are making every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. When we look around us during a worship service in the Lord’s congregation we’ll see a wonderfully diverse group all striving to conform to Christ’s image and commands. (Jo 14:15) (Jo 15:17)

 

—-Jim Bailey