Racial Harmony and the Gospel

Session 6

Racial Harmony

We continue our series tonight. I think we have probably three more sessions to go before the year of Wednesday night teaching times is over. They’ll all be on this topic, namely, racial harmony.

News Sources on the State of Segregation

I want to start before I get to the word by reading a quote from an editorial that came out of a newspaper today, Insight News. It’s a black newspaper that Noël and I get. I want each time we do this for you to taste something of the perceptions of the black community, or I probably should say part of the black community, since we all need to be aware there are black communities, not one black viewpoint any more than there’s one white viewpoint. So when you hear this, don’t say, “That’s what all African-Americans think,”say, “That’s what some think.” It’s pretty negative, but I want you to know that in the world we live in right now, many — I want to say most — minorities perceive things are not what they ought to be.

If you live in the white majority culture, you can ignore that fact. You don’t even feel it. You don’t have to be aware of it. It doesn’t seem like it’s the case because your life is flowing along without any hitch. This is about the whole issue of racial profiling, which has been a front burner issue in the news in Minnesota for quite a while. This man writes after he talked to Linda Berglin, who was going to try to rally the legislation over at the Capitol. He says:

I figured right then and there that this particular bill stood about a snowball’s chance in hell of getting past the conclave of privileged, insulated white folk known as the Minnesota legislature.

So this person has a very jaundiced view of our legislature. He says, after he goes on for a couple of paragraphs:

If it seems to you, I’m saying that in the hallowed halls of government where laws supposedly are passed for the public good, a bunch of well-heeled elitists got away with prostituting due process in order to sustain entrenched institutionalized racism, your powers of perception are working in working order. When all was said and nothing was done to rectify an obvious wrong, black, native, and hispanic Minnesotans were still behind the eight ball.

Divided by Faith

A little phrase in there that I won’t deal with directly tonight, but in the weeks to come, I will try, is this phrase institutionalized racism. One of the books I’m reading right now called Divided by Faith, which some of you are familiar with, is a book recommended to me by Dwight Perry, especially chapter 4. Dwight is my son’s professor of homiletics at Moody and who is an African-American, and I had lunch with him when I was down there to speak at the Moody Founder’s Conference, and he said, “If you’re going to read one chapter, you should reach chapter four in that book,” which I was reading this afternoon.

It’s a chapter all about the apparent inability of American white evangelicals to grasp the concept of anything other than individual problems. In other words, we tend to boil everything down to individual sin. And that’s absolutely right, there is individual sin, and it is probably the biggest problem at the root along with Satan and his influence. But he said, “There seems to be just a constitutional blind spot,” or this guy uses the term “cultural tools.”

Every ethnic group has a bag of cultural tools, he said. And each bag is defective. So each group has some tools with which to interpret what’s happening in the world. And when you pull out your tools and you interpret what’s happening, if you don’t have a tool that fits what’s happening, you tend to skew it. Well, he says that missing in the toolkit for white evangelical Americans, is the tool of corporateness, or institution, or sociality, or whatever other words might fit. So I want to try to grow in that and test that and see it in the weeks to come.

In the next three weeks, I’ll be moving towards the issue of injustice. Not expressed because I have a bad attitude, but expressed in more institutional ways, because that seems to be something the minority communities feel like a lot of people don’t get. So I picked that phrase out here just to highlight that issue that I’ll be trying to deal with. We’ve been laying foundations for that, and I think the Bible does have significant things to say about injustice in terms of individual perpetrations and larger manifestations. That’s the first thing I wanted to do. I wanted to read an excerpt, just to give you a flavor of what right now, in some parts of the black community, anyway — perhaps most of it — the attitude is towards what happened with regard to racial profiling.

A More Diversified Community

Now, here’s the second thing I want to do before we move into the text, which I’m going to look at tonight. If you’re like me and you read the newspaper, you’ll notice that what’s been hot in the last week or so is the census figures. I want you to just be aware of what happened in Minnesota in the 1990s, and in the Twin Cities in particular. You can do the same thing I did. I went online to the Star Tribune and typed in “minority population” or “census,” and just gathered these articles together. I’m going to slap some quotes on the overhead here for you so you can see what’s happening ethnically in Minnesota. Very interesting things happened in the 1990s. This is what was at the top. These are direct printouts from the web pages. You can find these articles yourself and read the whole thing, if you want.

The state became more urban and diverse. The state’s minority population doubled in the 1990s, partly because the black population rose at a faster clip than that of any other 47 states whose census figures have been reported. Isn’t that remarkable? It is to me. Minnesota, in terms of rate of growth and increase in African-American population, is the fastest growing state, if I understand that sentence correctly, of all the 47 that is reported. It doesn’t mean it’s a huge percentage both statewide and citywide. Minnesota went from six percent to 12 percent in minority during the 1990s after a jump of similar magnitude during the 1980s. Most of that growth came in the Metro area.

In another article, it says the hispanic population jumped 166 percent to 243,000, the largest percentage jump for a minority group in Minnesota. That’s the ninth fastest growth for Hispanics among the 47 states, for which figures have been released this month. Hispanics can be a member of any race. When you talk about hispanics, evidently, in the technical ways they talk, you can be white or black or asian. But the dislocation between being hispanic and race was an interesting observation to me. And I suppose there are a lot of complexities like that out there that I’m not aware of and I’m learning as I go.

That’s just surprising to me because I think of hispanics as coming from Southern, warm, temperate climates. I just don’t expect them to gravitate here. But I think there are probably reasons, given our social structure and certain attitudes in Minnesota that contribute to that. For example, Noël and I took a walk a few weeks ago down to see the new construction on Franklin Avenue. Maria’s Restaurant is right there in just the corner of Chicago and Franklin. We’ve eaten there several times. We also walked in to see Doug’s store, and across the hall from Doug store is kind of a flower shop. We walked in the flower shop and a hispanic person greeted us with broken English and said, “Hello.”

We got into a conversation and I said, “I’m a pastor.” He said, “Oh, let me show you something.” And the back half of the store is a church. It’s a hispanic church. We walked through a curtain and there were rows of chairs there. It’s a brand new hispanic-speaking church three or four blocks from our church. So they’re springing up around because I suppose, in part, there’s a growing number of hispanics in the area.

Integration of Ethnicities in the Twin Cities

Again in Minnesota, blacks and Asian Pacific Islanders recorded gains of 107 percent and 108 percent respectively, although blacks remained the state’s biggest minority group. But evidently, it’s just barely that way now with regard to hispanics. Minnesota’s black growth is top among the 47 states, which we already saw, while its Asian growth is the fourth fastest.

Regarding general diversity in Minnesota, Minnesota emerges from the new data, less remarkable for its huge numbers as for the diversity of its diversity. The article says:

Only one other state is as finely balanced among all four major communities of color: Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Indians. That could be a positive sign for the future, experts say, as communities with a mixture of minorities sometimes can have an advantage when it comes to successful integration.

So this writer is saying that spread among these four minority communities bodes well for how perhaps integrative efforts in Minnesota might succeed.

Regarding American-Indians, Minneapolis can claim the nation’s seventh largest urban concentration of American Indians, the highest rank based on percentage. It’s not the highest in total number of American-Indians, but as far as percentage of population it’s the highest, in any racial or ethnic category for either of the Twin Cities.

Minnesota emerges from the data as a little-of-everything state. It has some balance among all four major communities of color. Blacks are four percent. This is statewide now. We’ll come to the citywide view in a minute. Asians and Hispanics are three percent each, and Indians are one percent. That sounds small, but if you live in Minneapolis, the numbers are quite different. Most major Minnesota Metro areas became more integrated.

For comparison, the population of Minneapolis proper was 20 percent black or partly black — that is, people who’ve registered. This was the first census in which you can check several races. If I remember reading correctly, you could just check as many as you want. You can check white and black and asian, because that’s who your parents are.

The population of Minneapolis Proper was 20 percent black or partly black, St. Paul was 13 percent, Duluth was two percent, and Rochester was three percent. So you can see the reality for us here in this city, where I live and where we live, is not four percent like the state, but the 20 percent.

Then they spoke of the segregation index in the Twin Cities. Now, I don’t know what this index is. It’s some technical way of figuring things out, but I thought it was interesting what the outcome was. Logan’s team considers a segregation index of 80 on the scale of zero to 100 to be very high segregation, a ranking of 60 to 79 was high, and a ranking of 40 to 59 is moderate. For blacks and whites in the Twin Cities, the 1990 figure was 63.52. So that puts them in the 60 to 79 high levels of segregation. It’s now 57.83, which puts it here as moderate, which is a larger shift than most cities saw. The index is derived by determining how separately the races live from one another.

Comments and Questions

I’d like to stop here and get comments just to see what your perception of this is. I don’t have any insight to answer questions here, but I’ll bet others do. Does anybody want to make any comments about these statistics? Do they seem to skew anything, or do they mislead, or how would you supplement these to make them help our awareness to be what it ought to be living in Minnesota? Does anybody want to comment at this point?

I would say that hispanic is a linguistic category, rather than Latino and Chicano. And would Latino and Chicano be racial?

Those are two separate racial categories. That’s very helpful. Did you hear that? The term hispanic is a linguistic category, whereas Latino and Chicano are ethnic/racial categories. Are there any other clarifications?

Are there any references to Somalis in the reports?

There was a reference several times to Somalis. You can do a search on Somalis on those pages and find those quotes. But I didn’t. I think I remember one saying that the statistics are inaccurate, that we probably didn’t get a good read on the size of that community. So my guess is that’s true for a lot of this. So we’re talking ballpark figures. Are there any other comments or observations from anybody?

Does the fact that children are included in these numbers skew the statistics?

She’s observing that children are included in these numbers. When you fill out your census form, it includes how many kids are in your house, and so on. Will that skew the percentage? Maybe it skews the sense of numbers of adults that you’re dealing with in any group as you function in society. I see what you’re saying. Is there anything else before we move on?

On the way over here I turned on the radio and they said that this area has the largest concentration of Somalis outside Africa.

That’s a reality that impacts us. And I’m just thrilled with how responsive our people have been to ministry in the last several years in regard to that. They’re aggressively pursuing various kinds of ministries with Somali people. If you don’t know about that and you want to find out about it, there’s a man in our church back there who is right in the thick of it, and others of you are, so just ask us who to talk to. I’m very, very encouraged that we didn’t get caught flat-footed on that one because of the way people’s hearts responded.

The Roots of Racial Harmony

Now, had you asked me a year ago, “Where are you going to start when you start dealing with racial harmony?” I would have probably said Ephesians 2. That’s the standard place to start when you talk about race relations or ethnic walls coming down because that’s right in this text. It was interesting that we sang that song because that’s in this text. But I didn’t start with it precisely because it is so familiar and I wanted to save it, but I’m going to talk about it for a little bit tonight because in building a seminar, you just can’t build it without this text. It is so basic to the issue of racial harmony.

And now, I think I have a little clue providentially regarding why God might’ve restrained my thinking about using it because it so fundamentally relates to what’s happening on Sunday morning concerning the law. If you were to ask, “are there any racial implications for those sermons on Sunday mornings about law?” There probably are because everything relates to everything, but sometimes you can’t think of it right off the bat. Well, this text makes plain why this whole issue of death to the law or the law being, in some sense, abrogated or nullified, is relevant for how ethnic groups relate to each other. So let’s read this and you’ll see that right at the center.

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh . . . (Ephesians 2:11).

That’s a religious, racial, culturally different group than Jews. I don’t know how Jewishness is thought of racially. It probably isn’t. I don’t know. But they thought it was. They would think in terms of religious differences and cultural differences. They would say, “We have Abraham as our father. We have Jacob, not Esau. Esau produces Edomites, and Jacob produces Jews.” So it’s lineal and it is physical, as well as cultural and religious. That’s why this text is so relevant even though of course, blacks and Latinos and Asians and others are not here in name, but they are two very different bodies of human beings, much at odds with each other in various ways. That’s why it’s relevant.

Strangers to the Promises

Paul continues:

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision . . . (Ephesians 2:11).

Now, what you see there is animosity just oozing out from the phrase “called uncircumcision by the so-called circumcision.” Paul gets in his own comment here with this statement about them being “so-called”. Jews here are calling the rest “uncircumcised” because that was a ceremonial symbol of how unclean and foreign they are from Jewishness and the people of God, which is performed in the flesh by human hands. That’s how much Paul thought of circumcision when it didn’t represent what it ought to — namely, submission to the covenant promises of God. Paul continues:

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12).

Now, that is serious and it’s not just a perception on the part of Jews. That’s the way it really was when Christ came into the world because God had by and large passed over the nations (Acts 14:16), as he was preparing Israel to be the birthplace of a Messiah who would then go to all the nations and all the ethnic groups. So there’s a real division between God and Gentiles, and between Gentiles and Jews. Vertically there’s a problem, and horizontally there’s a problem. And both of those are going to be dealt with there in this paragraph that I set off in the middle.

Brought Near Through the Blood of Christ

Paul continues:

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

Right at this point he starts explaining how it is that those who are far are brought near. What's the result of the blood of Christ and how it works right here? Later on, Paul says:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God . . . (Ephesians 2:19).

Let’s stop right there. So Ephesians 2:19 repeats Ephesians 2:13, which say they are “brought near.” You who once were formerly far off have been brought near. You are no longer strangers and aliens. You are fellow citizens with the saints. Here’s the giant question: What happened between Ephesians 2:13 and Ephesians 2:19 to reverse this massive alienation between God and Gentiles, and Jews and Gentiles? That’s where we’re going to run into the law.

Breaking Down the Dividing Wall

Let’s read what happened. What did God do to break down the wall that existed vertically to separate God from Gentiles, and the wall horizontally to separate Gentiles and Jews? What did he do? Well, it says here, he brought them near. He brought these Gentiles who were way off this way near. And we ask, he brought them near to what or whom? I think the answer is that he brought them near to God and believing Jews. And he brought them near how? By the blood of Christ. We’re going to see that at least two other times that the death of Jesus was the key thing.

I’ve preached on this twice now in a row. I’ve used different texts in different language, but what I’ve said the last two Martin Luther King Sundays in January is that racial harmony is a blood thing. It’s not a peripheral social thing as if we do theology around the cross and then some people get involved in social things. This is an atonement thing. It’s a death of Christ thing. It’s at the center, evidently. So by the blood of Christ, they were brought near, “For he himself is our peace” (Ephsians 2:14). Christ is our peace.

Now, there again, you have to ask, is that peace horizontally with group and group or piece vertically between God and the group? I think this whole text is predicated on both. I’ll try to show that as we go. In fact, I’m going to argue that it’s the removal of the vertical enmity that enables the horizontal enmity to be overcome. If you get it reversed, it’ll never work — not in the church anyway, I don’t think. He continues:

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility . . . (Ephesians 2:14).

That’s what we were singing about. That wasn’t just a cute, clever, bouncy song. That was radically biblical theology. The wall came down. It’s already been destroyed in the cross, so realize its destruction in the community. He broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, now, what is it? It says he “broke down the dividing wall of hostility. Is it enmity between God and man or enmity between Jews and Gentile, between groups? And the answer is both.

Make sure you see this next part:

[He] has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances . . . (Ephesians 2:14–15).

The thing that preserved, kindled, and sustained the enmity between God and man is law, and the thing that sustained enmity between man and man is law. And God, in Christ, by his blood, abolishes the enmity, which is the law of commandments contained in ordinances.

Is the Law Abolished?

You have this radical statement that makes the phone ring off the hook. As I said on Sunday, when you say things like that, people say, “He abolished the law?” Romans 3:31 says:

Do we then overthrow (abolish) the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

It’s the same word. So in some sense, the law is established through the cross in justification by faith alone apart from works of the law, and in some sense, the law is abolished. This is why we’ll be working on this for a while because it’s not, at first glance, easy to grasp how Paul conceives of the law. But here we’re onto abolishing. Christ is abolishing the enmity, which is the law of commandments contained in ordinances “so that in himself, he might make the two (Jew and Gentile) one new man” (Ephesians 2:15).

Now, the reason this is so relevant for us is because if that’s true, the assumption is that church should not settle for the homogeneous unit principle. Bethesda Baptist Church, five doors down, and Bethlehem Baptist Church ought not settle for them being all black and us being all white. There may be cultural reasons for why they might be mainly black and we might be mainly white. But if it’s just race issues that separate us, then you have a wall here. I don’t think that reflects this reality. Now, there’s an assumption there. And we can talk about this. A lot of people think that’s okay. They’re reconciled to God and we’re friends with them; we’re reconciled to God and they’re friends with us. It’s fine. Having black churches and white churches, there’s no problem.

Well, if that’s your view, then you don’t have much of a problem as I do because I want our church not to take over that church and make it white, but to be more reflective of our city so that when the angels look down and the world looks in and little children look up, there’s something being communicated here about this text visually and personally. I feel a burden about that, and we can talk about whether I should feel a burden about that or not, but I do. And I think a lot of others do too.

One Body Through the Cross

So the one new man is created and needs to be reflected somehow in real life in the church because that’s what Christian reality is. Paul continues:

[He did this so that he] might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross . . . (Ephesians 2:16).

Now, that’s my answer to why I took “enmity” and “strangers” to be both from God and from each other, because what’s happening here in the cross is a reconciliation, not just between groups, but between God and men. There’s a reconciliation with God through the cross. The cross does both. And the destruction of the law, however that’s destroyed, does both. The cross does it by putting to death the enmity, which is defined as the law.

And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:18–19).

So the cross and the death of Christ in some way that we need to articulate, abolishes the law of commandments contained in ordinances, which reconciles us to God when we trust him and are in the Spirit, and reconciles man to man.

Separated from God

Here’s my closing question: How does the law separate from God? And how does the law separate man from man? Let me see if I can answer those in a kind of summary form and you can think about it some more and we’ll talk about it. But I’ll close by trying to answer those couple of questions.

From God, it stirs up rebellion in fallen human nature, not faith. That was a sermon on Romans 7:5. When the law meets unregenerate man, un-born again man, it doesn’t quicken faith, it quickens insubordination. We get mad and think, “Don’t tell me what to do. I hate the law.” Romans 8:7 says, “Those who are in the flesh do not submit to God’s law. Indeed, they cannot.” The unregenerate heart doesn’t get turned on by the law. The Spirit stirs up faith, not the law.

So the law, functioning purely by itself without the Spirit, doing something in my heart apart from the law, doesn’t produce faith; it produces rebellion. So it keeps me away from God. Another way to put it would be Galatians 3:21, which says:

If a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.

But a law wasn’t given, which is able to impart life. So that’s my answer to the question as to why the law would be viewed as enmity between God and man because it stirs up sin and rebellion and preserves enmity.

And another thing has to happen called the Holy spirit moving in, awakening and causing the heart to be reborn, so that it feels conviction by the law, turns to Christ, and finds forgiveness and reconciliation to God.

Separated from Man in the Ceremonial Law

Now, how does the law separate man from man if that’s the way it separates us from God? And here I divided the law into ceremonial laws and moral laws. Regarding ceremonial laws, you can see it right there in Ephsians 2:11 that circumcision is separating them. They’re pointing their fingers, saying, “Uncircumcised!” That separates. So the ceremonial laws were functioning to separate groups as they pointed their fingers.

Other examples would be the food laws, like Daniel 1:8. As soon as Daniel undertook not to eat, he separated from them. Not going to eat those things, not going to drink those things. So Daniel separated off. Or in Galatians 2:12, Paul gets in Peter’s face and says, “Before those Judaizers came up here, you were eating with the Gentiles. And here they come, and you separate. Why? Ham. That’s why. It’s about eating unkosher foods.” Peter was thinking, “I’m not going to eat those because I get in trouble with those strict Jews.” So it separates them. The ceremonial law pushes apart.

Another example is when Peter gets this vision in Acts 10 where all these unclean animals come down out of the sky and a voice from heaven says, “Rise, kill, and eat” (Acts 10:13). Now what that really means is, “Get ready to go meet Cornelius in his unclean house.” That’s what it means. And Peter says, “No way, I’ve never eaten anything unclean.” And the voice says, “Don’t you call unclean what I have cleansed” (Acts 10:15). God is saying, “If I cleanse a pig, eat the pig. If I cleanse a Gentile, love a Gentile.” That’s the point of that parable.

Separated from Man in the Moral Law

These ceremonial laws were separating people. What about the moral law? Have you ever thought about Psalm 1 in that way?

Blessed is the man
     who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
​​     nor sits in the seat of scoffers . . . (Psalm 1:1).

He’s separate because he takes on the law of the Lord. He’s righteous and not ungodly, and he separates out. That’s okay. The moral law of God pushes people apart like that. Or think of Psalm 26:4, which says, “I do not sit with men of falsehood . . .”

So I think both moral and ceremonial laws pushed people apart — some in appropriate ways and some in very inappropriate ways. Now, the question is this: In what sense do these laws get abolished? Or to use the Romans 7 language, in what sense do you “die to the law”? You who are here tonight get some advanced summary statements that I’m moving toward in the sermons on Sunday mornings. Let me try to just close with summary statements that I’ll be working to support and show from Romans and Galatians, especially.

Our Death to the Law

First, we die to the law as a means of justification. When the law presents itself as that which you perform in order to get right with God, you have to die to that. It has to die to you. You have to abolish that law — law as a means of law-keeping to get right with God. You can’t get right with God that way. All you can do is go deeper into debt with God that way because you’re a sinner and you can never show yourself righteous enough by law-keeping to be accepted by God.

Second — this is a little more complicated, so listen carefully — we die to it as a first and primary approach to shape our will and the actions of our bodies. I’m not too quick to bring the law in as the primary instrument of sanctification. I don’t think it’s the primary instrument of sanctification, even after you get justified. I think it’s a secondary instrument of sanctification after the primary one, namely the Spirit.

We don’t serve in the oldness of the letter, but the newness of the Spirit. It’s the Spirit that is the first and primary approach. As a justified sinner, when I enjoy my right standing with God and now I want to conform my life to Jesus, what do I do? I don’t run to the list and make my primary method of becoming good, law keeping, my primary method is first go to God, the reality, the living Savior, the Holy Spirit and say, “Oh, change me, fill me, transform me.” I do that in and by the word. But I stressed to the staff when we were away on a retreat that when you open your Bible, whether Old or New Testament, your eyes ought to go right through the word to the events of the cross, and through the events of the cross to the person of Jesus Christ coming to you by the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit transforms and enables you to use word without it becoming letter or legalism. The Spirit is the key.

So death to the law is death to it as a means of justification, and death to it as a primary means of sanctification, though it is a secondary one. Why do you have to die to the law? Because Christ comes to you as your righteousness. Law-keeping isn’t your righteousness that gives you a right standing with God. And secondly, Christ comes to you as your internal shaper of your heart and mind, as the Holy Spirit, as a person, not as do’s and don’ts first, but as reality and relationship first.

Sanctification and the Spirit

Then I sum it up like this: If justification is through the law, Christ died in vain, and if sanctification is first and primary through the law, he rose in vain and sent the Spirit in your life in vain, because if you’re going to say that your first and primary means of living a godly life is conforming to what’s written on a page, you have nullified the Holy Spirit’s work in your life.

The first and primary means of sanctification is trust in the living Christ, which is why that amazing statement in Romans 7:4 exists: “We must die to the law so that we might belong to another, to him who rose from the dead.” In the context of the analogy of marriage with Romans 7:1–3, it’s marriage. You can’t marry the living Christ if you constantly are orienting on lists, any more than I can really marry Noël, if at the wedding ceremony, I don’t look into her face and want her, but I look into a book on marriage and want to keep those rules.

I’ve just given you a flavor for how Sunday mornings issues in Romans are relating to the very center of what reconciles us to God and what reconciles us to each other. If you can get right with God and that enmity is overcome, then the enmity here is going to fall down as well. And I think Paul would say, you can’t have one without the other, which is probably why people like John Perkins and others say it’s a gospel issue.

Reconciliation and harmony among races is a gospel issue. My biblical interpretation of that is if you remain hostile, suspicious, prejudiced, and racist horizontally, you’ve got a questionable relation to God vertically because the enmity that separates us horizontally and the enmity that separates vertically is one in this text. There aren’t two enmities. It’s just one word.