Divine Impartiality

Have you ever felt you were not treated impartially, perhaps in a church conflict, a family dispute, an employment issue, or a legal matter? You perceive that your race, gender, socio-economic status, nationality, or some other factor influenced decisions made either for or against you. How did you feel? Perhaps, there was no recourse for justice. Did you long for vindication, for God to come and set things right? The Lord knows that we are prone to judge others based on unfair criteria. Sometimes, too, ulterior motives and selfish desires influence our decision-making. If, however, we are ever tempted to pervert justice, we should remember our Lord’s warning against the sin of partiality in James 2:1-49. The apostle condemns this unjust and partial treatment of others as a violation of God’s law. “There is no partiality with God,” however, Paul asserts in Romans 2:11 (cf. Deuteronomy 10:17II Chronicles 19:7).

This divine impartiality is best demonstrated in God’s rescue of sinful humanity from the “domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), a theme Paul stresses in Romans 1:16-17.  Here, the apostle emphasizes salvation to all who believe – Jew or Gentile. To demonstrate that there is no partial adjudication by God, both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin (Romans 3:9). All are condemned by the law in order that every mouth be shut before God’s judgment bench (3:19).  All who believe are justified before God (3:21-31). Sin holds dominion over all in the sphere of death whereas grace holds dominion over all in the sphere of life (5:12-21). God has shut up all in disobedience that he might demonstrate His saving justice to all (11:32).  In Romans 12-16, Paul wishes to provoke, by this humbling demonstration of God’s impartial judicial administration, an acceptance of all (that is, Jewish and Gentile believers) within the Church (12:2-3; 15:5-7).

We praise God who has demonstrated His covenant faithfulness to Israel by granting life at court to the entire believing remnant (Romans 9-11) and, likewise, has manifested covenant fidelity to Gentiles who placed their trust in Him. And as Paul urged us, may we learn to “accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God” (15:7).