There is no partiality with God
Romans 2:1-24 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who will render to each person according to his deeds: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.
12 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; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
17 But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written.
In today’s text it says: There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. What believers need to remember is that these letters, written by Paul, were written to the church. These were not messages with the primary focus of winning new believers, but rather to exhort, encourage, teach and even discipline the church. We then, as believers should check ourselves with Paul’s words, not expecting that the world will accept or receive what is said. In 1 Corinthians 1:18 Paul says: For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. In view of that, that his message is not directed to unbelievers, but to bring more of the power of God into our lives, how should we understand what Paul is saying? The words of Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23 come to mind: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” There is no partiality with God. He did indeed call the nation of Israel apart to be His people, but His promise to and through Abraham is: "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." (Genesis 18:22) There is no partiality with God, His desire, His promise is that all nations will be blessed.
Just as the Jews could not rely on their heritage or their identity as Jews for their salvation, neither can Christians rely only on being identified in name as Christians. Our identity must actually be in Christ. We need to be identified not only by His name, but by His character. Calling Jesus Lord, even doing things in His name, is of no value if we practice lawlessness. Again as in yesterday’s meditation there is a difference between committing sin and practicing sin. Those who practice sin, lawlessness, do it repetitively and purposefully. They choose sin. Jesus says: "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. - Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him." - "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:15,21,23) As believers it is important that we not only be called by the name of Christ, but also that we are obedient to Him. It is not our identity with people that matters. It is our identity with God that matters. He abides with us as we are obedient to Him.
Today’s text ends saying: But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Knowing that the world will perceive as foolishness the words we speak about Jesus and the cross, it becomes more important how we live, what we do rather than what we say. The world often calls Christians hypocrites because, as Paul says, they teach one thing and do another. Paul says: “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” God is dishonored by our actions if we ourselves are not obedient to Him. Again Jesus says: "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. - Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him." - "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him.” John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
As believers our obedience to Christ is what identifies us with Him. Our obedience to Christ is also what will be the light of the world. Just as Paul’s letters to the church were written to encourage, exhort and teach those who believe, so too should we be living letters of God’s goodness to everyone who sees us. They may not receive our words concerning Jesus and the cross. They may say who are you to judge. But if through our lives we reveal the light of Christ, then they themselves can choose. Jesus says: “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:17-21)
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit that through the cross, I am known by You. My identity is in Christ. Forgive me when I dishonor you with my actions. Help me to live as light, that my life as well as my words would reveal the character of Christ. Amen.