Does God have favoritism?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Favoritism is giving unfair preferential treatment to one person at the expense of another. The question of whether God shows favoritism is a significant theological issue that has been addressed in the Bible. It touches on fundamental aspects of God’s character, including his justice, love, and impartiality. In this exploration, we will delve into the concept of God’s favoritism as portrayed in His Word, considering the broader principles of divine justice and love.

God’s Sovereignty and Justice

Favoritism is giving unfair preferential treatment to one person at the expense of another. The Scriptures teach that “God does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:11 also Ephesians 6:9) “but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34).

The Bible affirms God’s sovereignty as the ruler and judge of all creation. His judgments are based on righteousness and impartiality, without showing favoritism or partiality towards any individual or group.

  • NKJV Reference: Deuteronomy 10:17 declares, “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.” This verse emphasizes God’s impartiality in his judgments, regardless of human distinctions or status.
  • NKJV Reference: Romans 2:11 echoes this sentiment in the New Testament, stating, “For there is no partiality with God.” Here, the apostle Paul affirms the universal application of God’s justice, irrespective of ethnicity, social status, or personal merit.
  • NKJV Reference: Leviticus 19:15 says, “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly” (Leviticus 19:15). This verse affirms the need for being just to all classes.

Divine Covenantal Promises

While the Bible emphasizes God’s impartiality, it also depicts instances of divine covenantal promises extended to specific individuals or nations. These instances are not indicative of favoritism but rather reflect God’s sovereign purposes and redemptive plan for humanity.

  • NKJV Reference: Genesis 12:1-3 records God’s call to Abraham and the establishment of the Abrahamic covenant: “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'” This covenant sets the stage for God’s redemptive plan, culminating in the birth of Jesus Christ, who brings salvation to all humanity.
  • NKJV Reference: Exodus 19:5-6 records God’s declaration to Israel at Mount Sinai: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” This passage highlights Israel’s unique role as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, called to represent God’s righteousness and proclaim his glory to all the nations.
  • NKJV Reference: Romans 11:28-29 addresses God’s enduring covenant with spiritual Israel (the Christian Church), affirming that they are beloved for the sake of the patriarchs: “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Paul emphasizes that God’s promises to spiritual Israel (the church) are irrevocable, reflecting his faithfulness and steadfast love.

God’s Love for All Humanity

While God enters into special relationships with individuals and nations, his love extends to all humanity. He desires the salvation and reconciliation of every person, regardless of ethnicity, background, or social status.

  • NKJV Reference: John 3:16 is perhaps the most famous verse highlighting God’s universal love and desire for the salvation of all people: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” This verse underscores the inclusivity of God’s redemptive plan, inviting all people to receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
  • NKJV Reference: 2 Peter 3:9 reinforces this truth, stating, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Here, Peter emphasizes God’s patience and desire for the salvation of every individual, extending his grace to all humanity.

Responsibility and Accountability

While God extends grace and favor to individuals and nations, they are also held accountable for their actions and obedience to his commands. God’s justice demands accountability and righteousness from all people, regardless of their status or position.

  • NKJV Reference: Luke 12:48 highlights the principle of accountability: “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” This verse underscores the responsibility that accompanies God’s blessings and favor, requiring faithful stewardship and obedience.
  • NKJV Reference: Galatians 6:7-8 emphasizes the principle of sowing and reaping: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Here, Paul emphasizes the importance of righteous living and obedience to God’s commands, which leads to blessings and eternal life.
  • NKJV Reference: James 2:1 admonishes Christians “not to show favoritism.” The apostle Paul taught the believers that “anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong” and that they should show “no favoritism” (Colossians 3:25). Christians are called to love one another as God loved them (John 13:34-35).
  • NKJV Reference: 1 Timothy 5:21 says, “I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.” In keeping themselves “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27), church members should not allow riches and worldly position to be qualifications for church office, instead of the spiritual graces. The Lord calls favoritism a sin: “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers” (James 2:8-9). This unjust treatment shows double standard in dealing with the rich and the poor. By showing partiality, the believers show they are unstable (James 1:8), halting between God and the world.

God’s Impartial Judgment

Ultimately, God’s judgment is based on righteousness and truth, without showing favoritism or partiality. He judges each person according to their deeds and the condition of their heart, taking into account their response to his grace and revelation.

  • NKJV Reference: Romans 2:6-11 describes God’s impartial judgment: “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.” Paul emphasizes that God’s judgment doesn’t show favoritism. It is based on the deeds and character of each individual.
  • NKJV Reference: Revelation 20:12-13 describes the final judgment, where each person is judged according to their deeds: “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.” This passage underscores the accountability of every individual before God’s righteous judgment.

God’s Invitation to Salvation

In light of God’s impartiality and justice, he extends an invitation to all people to receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Regardless of one’s background or status, salvation is available to all who repent and believe in the gospel.

  • NKJV Reference: Acts 10:34-35 records Peter’s realization of God’s impartiality: “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.'” This passage emphasizes that God accepts those who fear him and live righteously, irrespective of ethnic or cultural distinctions.
  • NKJV Reference: Romans 10:12-13 affirms the universal offer of salvation: “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.'” This verse emphasizes that salvation is available to all who call upon the name of the Lord, regardless of their background or status. There is no favoritism.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while the Bible contains instances where God gives promises to individuals or nations, these do not indicate unjust favoritism or partiality on God’s part. God’s character is characterized by justice, love, and impartiality, and He judges each person according to their deeds and the condition of their heart. While God extends grace and favor to all humanity, He also holds each person accountable for their actions and response to his revelation. Salvation is available to all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, irrespective of their background or status. God invites all people to enter into a relationship with Him and receive the gift of eternal life through faith in his Son.

    In His service,
    BibleAsk Team

    Categories God

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