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Partiality
8/23/2010

Partiality

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. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ - He is Lord of all... Acts 10:34-36 (NKJV)

Hey, if someone asked you if you were biased or unfair, what would you reply?  Chances are most people would openly answer, "Absolutely not."  And yet, when we show partiality to one person over another, we can be doing exactly that.   Partiality is actually defined as being "Favorably prejudice."  So instead of making an adverse judgment against one person for a specific reason, you are actually making a favorable judgment towards another for a specific reason - that's being favorably prejudice.

We are clearly told throughout Scripture, to not be partial.  In the Book of Leviticus we are told, "You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty (Lev. 19:15).  And in the Book of Proverbs we are told,  

  • It is not good to show partiality to the wicked (Prov. 18:5)
  • It is not good to show partiality in judgment. (Prov. 24:23)

We are told are told in Romans 2:11, "there is no partiality with God."  Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of God.  And if these verses were not enough to convince us of partiality being wrong, then the Scripture in James cleans this up as well.

But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. James 2:9 (NKJV)

Now, as easy as it is to come in agreement with this truth, it isn't as easy to follow it and to apply it. We must guard ourselves against showing partiality to one person over another. We see this being addressed in the Book of James where we are told,

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. James 2:1 (NKJV)

This appears so easy, but in fact, it is obviously difficult for us to do, even as Christian believers.  We look to the outside of people and we make judgment as to whom we will help and how much.  Simply put, we judge by outward appearances.  We see God speaking to Samuel about this when Samuel was trying to figure out which of Jesse's son's was to be anointed.

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)

And so we, like Samuel, tend to look to the outward appearance of Man to determine what we think about him.  It can be just about anything from, the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, the home they live in, or their occupation.  It can be when someone comes up and introduces himself, "Hello, I am Dr. John Smith... Professor Jones, or Lieutenant Wilkins," We can instantly respect that person in a higher capacity based on his/her title.

Thankfully, God shows no partiality when making His judgments.  He doesn't care if we are doctors, successful athletes, or if we hold a Masters degree.  His offers and judgments are the same for everyone - it is up to us to respond by accepting, or rejecting.

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. Deuteronomy 10:17 (NKJV)

Q:    What can we learn and share from these Biblical truths?

  • We can know with total assurance, God shows no partiality when offering forgiveness and Salvation - all men can come to Him and receive forgiveness (Acts 10:34-35; 2Pet. 3:9; John 3:16).
  • Jesus doesn't discriminate against the poor, nor does He favor the rich - neither should we (Rom. 10:12; John 7:24).
  • We don't look to the outside of people to determine whether we are going to love them in the way God loves us.

One more thing should be mentioned about this subject of partiality.  It is important to understand the difference between showing partiality, and esteeming another person.  While it is forbidden to show partiality to one person over another, we are to esteem, or show high respect for certain individuals.  Examples would include those in leadership, either in government, or church (Rom. 13:1-7), Parents (Ex. 20:12), the elderly (Lev. 19:32), Pastors, Elders,  (1Thess. 5:12-13).  

Hey Christian, I want to encourage you today to look at every person without partiality.   Be willing to be what God has called you to be to them.  It is easy to favor and to love those who are lovable; even the heathen do this.  Let's be different, Holy, and set apart in our walk.  Lets treat all people the way Jesus would treat them.  

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn about showing partiality according to the verses covered within this devotional?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you find yourself treating some people better than others?

APPLICATION: Seek the Lord when you find it hard to show the same type of selfless Agape love towards someone you don't favor as those you do.  He will give you everything you need to do what is right, and He will change your heart if you ask Him.

Father, thank You for not being partial, or discriminatory.  Thank You for being a fair and righteous God.  Help me to see others in the same way You see them.  Help me to love them all equally and to reflect You in my actions.  In Jesus precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000