I find it hard to believe that such a wall exists. But it’s true. The city of Madurai is tense because police broke a portion of this wall yesterday. It is a 100-meter wall that was built 20 years ago to keep “low caste” people from entering the “upper caste” area of a village.
Caste is a very complex matter in India, a monster that clings so closely to us even 60 years after Independence. I worry for the children who are caught in the crossfire, those growing with the wrong notion that they are in some way superior, and those growing up believing that they are inferior.
My great grandfather’s father converted to Christianity from one of these very same castes that built this wall. So I am a pure-blooded one-of-these-castes person. I am in no way inherently superior to any one else—not superior to a Dalit or any other Indian or Asian or European or anyone else.
What does the Bible say about such divisions among human beings?
The Bible says that we are all sinners. Every one of us, without exception, have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (How often have we in India seen people doing all kinds of penance to somehow atone for their sins! They do whatever they think will work and hope for the best.) The Bible says that after this life, will be a terrible judgment and at that time, we will see God’s holy wrath. Nothing sinful can stand in His presence. Because of this, in our sinful state, death is a fearful prospect.
Why can’t God just overlook our sin? God, because of His nature, is just. In God’s economy, sin cannot go unpunished. Like the child of an aerodynamics engineer cannot hope to completely understand all the physics behind how a heavy aeroplane can remain airborne, without falling to the ground, so too, we do not fully understand why God allowed us to sin and why He chose to go about this rather elaborate process of rescue. As little children, we learn more and more from the Bible as we study it with His help.
Coming back to the main discussion, the Bible says that this holy God is also a God of love. So He sent His Son Jesus to come as a man, live a sinless life and die on the cross. The Bible says that Jesus took, upon Himself, the punishment of the sins of all those who will come to Him to be saved. He became the propitiation for our sins. The Indian word for propitiation is Praayashchith. We Indians are familiar with this concept of appeasing divine wrath. Jesus atoned for sin in a way that satisfied divine requirements. So this Jesus became the Way of hope for you and me.
If you come to Him in faith, He will cleanse you of your sin and cover you with His righteousness. You can then approach God because it is as if you will have a clean white robe covering you. Not only does He cover you on the outside, He also changes you into a better and better person with every passing day. When you die, He will complete the process and make you perfect and glorified and ready for heaven.
Heaven will be a place with such glorified people from every tongue and tribe and nation. Heaven will have Brahmins, Pillais, Nadars, Thevars, Dalits, Syrian Christian Malayalees, Nairs, and people from all castes and communities in India and from every nation under the sun–all those who have had their sins washed by Jesus’ blood. What a glorious place that will be.
For You (Jesus) were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation Rev 5:9
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28