Romans 2:11 (ESV) -- For God shows no partiality.
There are very few situations and environments in the world where partiality is missing. People network with others for the opportunity to get in good schools, find jobs, gain business opportunities, and many other things. This is the principle of partiality. We want to connect with others so that they will favor us for opportunities and endeavors. This isn’t a negative thing. This is just how the world works. Partiality is shown in the workplace toward the best employees. Sports teams show partiality to the best players on the team. This principle is everywhere.
However, our passage today shows us that God doesn’t operate the way we do. Paul writes in Romans 2:11, “For God shows no partiality.” What does he mean by that? What Paul is teaching is that God is no respecter of persons. God doesn’t show partiality to people with white skin or black skin. He doesn’t show partiality to tall people or short people. God doesn’t prefer the company of Americans over Italians, or Mexicans over Russians. In other words, God doesn’t function like us.
God sees and knows all peoples of the world. He made them. He chooses for each person their birthplace, time in history, family of origin, and the details of our lives. He doesn’t find Himself leaning toward preference to one kind of personality, style of clothing, or language over another. God looks at something very different—the heart.
God doesn’t show the kind of partiality that we are prone to, but He does respond to the hearts of men. He knows our hearts. He sees our ways. God moves toward those who have a heart to seek Him and obey Him. But that doesn’t have anything to do with what family we belong to, how much money we have, or what university we attended. God looks past what many others make first priorities. In light of God’s position on this, it is good for Christians to strive to do the same. Being partial is a natural human thing to do, but we should seek to put away trivial and stereotypical partialities and love what God loves. This is a great lesson for us to apply to our lives today as we interact with all sorts of different people.
Photo Credit: IMB
Reflection & Journal:
- What is partiality?
- Why is it so hard to be impartial? Why is this natural in many ways?
- How does this passage teach us about the character and nature of God? What should we take-away from this text?
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