If you stop to think about it, there are thousands of things for which we should be thankful every single day! I rejoice in God’s salvation, redemption, forgiveness and daily guidance. I am grateful to have eternal life that does not end—no matter what. I appreciate my pastor, our worship leader, church staff and the scores of volunteers who serve the Lord in our congregation every Sunday. I love my Pacer senior adult group, Cornerstone Sunday School class and the good brothers and sisters in Christ at my church. I am so happy with my wife, Pat, our 50 years of marriage, and the way she has supported and strengthened me through the years. She has helped me become a better Christian. I am overjoyed at God’s blessings on our five children, their spouses and our twelve grandchildren. I love living in Arkansas, am thankful for my hometown of Malvern, and my adopted hometown of Monticello. I just cannot express all the joy I feel.
However, today I am most thankful that God is not prejudice. You see, I am pretty old, a little overweight, have gray hair, must wear glasses to see correctly, and sometimes I am really dull spiritually, and dumb intellectually. I drive a Japanese car, read a Bible printed in England, wear a watch made in Taiwan and shoes made in China. I have three sons who have served as missionaries on the Navajo reservation, in the Philippines, and in China. And besides all that, I’m not sure of my own lineage, genetically speaking. One of my father’s grandmothers was a full-blooded native American Indian, but most of my forefathers were a hodge-podge mix of nationalities. So, I am very thankful God is not prejudice against old, overweight, bespectacled, dull, racially mixed people, along with those who drive foreign cars. Aren’t you?
Acts chapter 10 records how Peter learned what God thought of prejudice through a vision, while at the home of Simon the Tanner, in Joppa. The purpose of the vision was so difficult for Peter to accept, that God had to give it to him three times. Until then Christianity was considered an off-shoot of Judaism. And in the prevailing view of that day, you had to be a Jew to be a Christian. But God chose Peter to open the door of the gospel to the Gentiles.
But before Peter would go to people he considered unclean and untouchable, he had to be convinced. Following the third showing of the vision, Peter came to see unsaved people the way God saw them—lost in sin, without God and without hope. He also learned that the only chance of salvation for the Gentiles, was the same as for the Jews—Jesus Christ. When it dawned on Peter what God wanted, the Scripture says: “Opening his mouth, Peter said: I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him” (Acts 10:34-35). Nowadays we would probably say, “Duh! You think?” Peter got the clear message that God was not prejudice, either nationally, racially or ethnically.
What God thinks of prejudice is clearly revealed in His Word. Prejudice in Scripture is referred to as having “respect of persons,” or showing “partiality.” So, what does God say about it?
First, in the context of the fact of sin and need of salvation, Romans 2:11 reads, “… there is no partiality with God.” Paul writes, “For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law” (verse 12). Without exception—all are sinners; and all need the Savior.
Second, regarding human social order, slaves and masters, Ephesians 6:9 reminds us that “there is no partiality with him” (God). During the first century up to 40% of the population were slaves under Roman control. So, Paul commanded slaves to be obedient, remembering that they actually served the Lord, no matter who their master was (verse 5). He also commanded masters to be gentle and not threatening, knowing that they also had a Master “in heaven” (verse 9). Because God was not partial, He expected both the slave and the master to do His will from the heart.
Third, God is not prejudice regarding punishment for wrongdoing, “For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality” (Colossians 3:25). God is impartial regarding punishment for crime.
Fourth, in 1 Peter 1:17-19, we are reminded that answered prayer, judgment, and redemption, are all at the hands of God. He is the One who “impartially judges according to each one’s work,” so you should “conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth” (verse 17). Regardless of race, nationality or culture, believers are redeemed, “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (verse 19). He only has one way of salvation for all people (John 14:6).
Fifth, not only is God not prejudice, He expects His children and His churches to be impartial in their treatment of all people. In James 2:1-9, he urges believers to love everyone without distinction. He wrote, “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism” (verse 1). He commands Christians to fulfill the “royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (verse 8). James then sums up the subject of prejudice among God’s people by writing: “But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (verse 9). To treat people prejudicially because of their social standing, wealth, position, nationality, culture or race is to sin against them and God!
Aren’t you thankful God is not prejudice? Lets try every day to be more like Him!