The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

No Partiality with God

There are many professing Christians who believe that the earthly nation of modern Israel is in some way elevated over all other nations in the world today. Some of the reasons why this falsehood has been embraced include: the teachings of dispensationalism and zionism which twist Scripture, a biased American media, a complicit American government, a deceived yet very influential “American Right,” a whitewashed and edited history of how the modern state came into being, laziness on the part of the church to seek out the truth (or in some cases, believers have been focusing on other truths and simply have not searched out this issue yet), and an embracing of patriotism and nationalism in the church–which is idolatry.

The New Testament repeats over and over that there is no favoritism, no partiality, and no “respect of persons” with God. In fact, this was a major theme of the apostle Paul’s. But–

Let’s begin with John the Baptist, speaking to the Jews:

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matt. 3:8-10)

Notice from above:

1. God is not looking for lineage, but for repentance.

2. The children of Abraham are not dependent upon lineage.

3. Judgment on those who will not repent is imminent, without any favoritism.

Now, let’s listen to Jesus:

Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 8:10-12)

Notice from above:

1. The kingdom of heaven will contain faithful Israelites (like Abraham, Isaac & Jacob) and many from the east & west (Gentiles.)

2. The “sons of the kingdom” (Jews who refuse to repent and believe) will be cast out.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent unto you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, You shall not see me henceforth, till you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord. (Matt. 23:37-39)

Notice from above:

1. Jesus wanted to gather the apostate Jews to Himself (salvation), but they would not.

2. Their house was now left desolate (they were under the curse–Gal. 3:10)

3. Their only possibility of reconciliation was to embrace the Messiah (by entering the New Covenant).

A shortened conversation from John 8 in my own words, which gives insight into how God views lineage in relation to salvation:

Jewish leaders: We are Abraham’s seed and we are free (33).

Jesus: You’re not free, because you are servants of sin (34). You are Abraham’s physical seed, but my Word has no place in you (37), and it is knowing the Truth that makes us truly free (32).

Jewish leaders: Abraham is our father (39).

Jesus: Abraham is NOT your father, as evidenced by your works. Your works show that satan is your father (39). You are children of the devil (44).

Now let’s move onto the Apostle Paul:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Rom. 1:16)

The gospel is effectual in everyone who believes.

The righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. (Rom. 2:5b-11)

Both wrath and blessing come upon the Jew first, and then the Greek (Gentile.) There is no partiality!

For circumcision (the sign of Judaism) is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? And will not the physically uncircumcised (the Gentile), if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. (Rom. 2:25-29)

Notice from above:

1. Judaism is of no profit to a sinful Jew.

2. A Gentile who is obedient is more acceptable to God than a Jew who is disobedient.

3. “Jew” is redefined in spiritual terms: having an inner circumcision of the heart to do God’s will.

What then? Are we (Jews) better than they (Gentiles)? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. (Rom. 3:9)

Self-explanatory! There is no room for elitism in God’s family.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded…by the law of faith…is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. (Rom. 3:27-30)

God’s decision that faith would be the deciding factor in salvation excludes all grounds of boasting between Jews and Gentiles.

For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law (through being born into the nation & following its codes), but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law (Jews who believe), but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” (Rom. 4:13-17)

Notice from above:

1. Abraham was promised to be “the heir of the world” not just one country.

2. If everyone who followed Judaism was an heir, God’s requirement of faith would be made void. If all Jews were saved, obviously ethnicity or religious practice would save them, rather than faith.

3. God made faith the deciding factor so that the promise would be sure to ALL the Seed (All who are in Christ.)

4. Abraham is the faith of “many nations,” not of one nation only.

But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. (Rom. 9:6-8)

Notice from above:

1. The Word of God HAS taken effect, or come to pass. (Even though most Israelites have rejected salvation, the promises have still come true.)

2. “They are not all Israel who are of Israel.” Paul understands that there are two Israels. One after the flesh and one after the Spirit.

3. Only children born of the Spirit or “children of Promise” are counted as God’s Israel.

4. Because God’s Israel is growing today, the Word of God (the prophecies of how God would rebuild Jerusalem, live among His people, etc.) have come, and are still coming to pass.

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:12-13)

NO DISTINCTION! It is time for us believers to put on the mind of Christ and admit no distinction also.

Circumcision (being a Jew) is nothing and uncircumcision (being a Gentile) is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. (I Cor. 7:19)

God shows personal favoritism to no man. (Gal. 2:6)

Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. (Gal. 3:7-9)

Notice from above:

1. Abraham’s children ONLY include people of faith. Paul says we are to “know” this.

2. The gospel was preached and effectual in the Old Testament. (The true Israel of God was being built then.)

3. The blessing (promises) are given to people of faith.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 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. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:26-29)

Who are heirs of the promise?–Those who are in Christ.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. (Gal. 5:6)

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity…to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross…For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Eph. 2:11-22)

Notice from above:

1. Gentiles who are in Christ are no longer “aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel” or “strangers from the covenants of promise.” This means in God’s eyes, they are citizens of Israel–”Israelites indeed” and “true Jews.”

2. The separation between Jews and Gentiles has been abolished in Christ’s flesh, and One New Man has been created. Anyone who tries to separate what God has put together is fighting God.

By revelation He made known to me the mystery…which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men…that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel. (Eph. 3:3-6)

Gentiles are “fellow heirs” and “partakers of His promise” in Christ. We are not simply heirs of New Testament promises. We are heirs of the promises to Abraham. The OT promises are fulfilled in Christ.

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Col. 3:11)

Also, see my last paper on Romans 11 (here), in which Paul describes the building of God’s olive tree out of both Jews and Gentiles, their being excluded or included only on the basis of faith.

Now, Peter is yet another witness:

So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith…But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we (Jews) shall be saved in the same manner as they (Gentiles). (Acts 15:8-11)

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts. 10:34-35)

More Scriptures about “respect of persons” or “partiality” in general:

Judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts. (2 Chron. 19:6-7)

The judges of God’s people were not to judge “for man,” or to please man. They were only to consider what would please God. (Making judgments partial to Israel out of fear of being called “anti-semite” is sin. Any theology that leads one to make impartial judgments is automatically suspect. None of God’s true people–the OT prophets, Jesus, the NT apostles, etc., were afraid to call the wickedness of their own people wicked.)

…neither does God respect any person… (2 Sam. 14:14)

There is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts. (2 Chron. 19:7)

These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment. (Prov. 24:23)

…neither is there respect of persons with him (God). (Eph. 6:9)

Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ. But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons. (Col. 3:24-25)

Notice that the inheritance goes to those who serve Jesus, and Paul was writing this to Gentiles!

…the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work…(I Pet. 1:17)

The Father judges every man individually; He does not save whole nations and never has.

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that you observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. (I Tim. 5:21)

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (Jam. 3:17)

Dear reader, I have written previously (here) about the hypocrisy in the church in its judgments of the MidEast conflict. It is not my desire to swing us in the opposite direction of either excusing all actions of Palestinians, or giving blanket condemnation of all Israelis (unfortunately this “blowback” of Palestinian hatred of all Jews is very likely.) In fact, some brave Israelis are speaking out against the injustices of their own nation. (See hereherehere, and here for a few examples.) But the church isn’t listening. It is too busy listening to propagandists.

Now I know there is so much lying in this world, it seems impossible at times to discern the truth. But I think if the Scriptures in this paper are laid and embraced as the foundation of truth and Christian practice, they will enable us to make better judgments as we view our world. They will keep us from joining with the wicked and adopting their carnal attitudes.

They will also, unfortunately, divide us from the many who continue to embrace favoritism, elitism, racism, dispensationalism, and zionism. Let God be true and every man a liar. Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.

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