Does Your Community Have Restrictive Covenants?

Ephesians 2:11-22

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Restrictive covenants are clauses in real estate transactions that once prohibited the sale of homes to certain ethnic groups. Some estimate that as many as 10,000 American communities once had such covenants. The purpose was to prevent African Americans, Jews, and other ethnic groups from living in that town. Since 1968, such restrictions are unlawful. Such covenants not only deprived people from owning homes; by doing so, they also deprived them of better education and access to local jobs. It is puzzling how anyone would want to restrict people, but it is doubly puzzling how followers of Christ could defend such a practice, since the Scriptures declare that God accepts all people equally. God showed this to Peter when, in Acts 10, he let down the sheet of unclean animals. Paul also got the message, for he wrote in Ephesians 3, “Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when in his own body on the cross he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.” Since Jesus Christ does not recognize restrictive covenants among his people, why would His followers ever do so?

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