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The Truth about Partiality

Paul  Wong

The word “partiality” (Greek –  prosklisis  πρσκλισις) means an unfair preference for one person or thing over another.  Another word for it is “favoritism”.  The Bible shows that God does not “play favoritism”.  “There is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11).   God cannot be partial because it would conflict with His character and moral attributes.  “The LORD is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.”  (Psm. 145:17)  “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.” (Deut. 32:4)  God also wants His people to be impartial


2 Chronicles 19:7  “Now therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes."  


Job 34:17-19     “Should one who hates justice govern?  Will you condemn Him who is most just?  Is it fitting to say to a king, "You are worthless,' And to nobles, "You are wicked'?  Yet He is not partial to princes, Nor does He regard the rich more than the poor; For they are all the work of His hands.”


Malachi 2:9        "Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base before all the people, because you have not kept My ways but have shown partiality in the law."


Teachings of the Lord

Jesus Christ on Partiality

The Lord Jesus Christ was caught in the middle of a conflict involving both religious and racial discrimination.  There was hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans who were their neighbors of mixed race.  The Jews did not consider these people ‘pure’ although they were of Jewish descent but had intermarried with other races.

In His ministry, Jesus challenged the prejudices of the people of his day.  Samaritans believed in the same One True God as the Jews, but both worshiped in different temples. They would not even talk to one another (Jn. 4:9).  Jesus intentionally stopped at a Samaritan village and talked with a Samaritan woman while His disciples went to the city to buy food.  The woman was rude to Jesus because of his race and his religion, but He treated her with courtesy and respect.  As a result, the whole village came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 4: 1 - 42)

In His famous parable of “The Good Samaritan', Jesus made a Samaritan the hero who stopped to help a Jew who was robbed, stripped of his clothes, injured and left half dead (Luke 10: 30 - 37).  The object of this parable is to love another person as oneself, even though that person may be an enemy,.  Jesus had healed ten lepers, but a Samaritan was the only one who returned to thank Him (Luke 17: 11-19).

The Lord Jesus Christ went still further in his teaching, and said that Christians should not only tolerate people of all races, but that they should also actively show love to all, even their enemies. “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.” (Luke 6: 27) 


Christians cannot be partial


James 2:1

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.”  

Ephesians 6:9            “And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”

Colossians 3:25         “But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.”

1 Tim. 5:21         “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.”

James 3:17        “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

1 Peter 1:17       “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;”


The Sin of Partiality


Do you not know that discrimination against a Church brother is a wicked thought, blasphemy and a sin?  The Holy Bible uses the word partiality.”  Let me show you the Scriptures in James 2:1-9.


“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.  For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?  Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?  Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?”


James 2:4          “have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?”

James 2:7    “Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?”

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


God is fair and impartial

to all People of the World


The Old King James Bible calls partiality “respect of persons” (Acts 10:34).  When referring to relations with people, the word “partiality” means  "to make a difference in the treatment given from one person to another," or “to respect one and disrespect another.”  That was the valuable lesson in Acts chapter 10 which God taught Peter through the vision.


“Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

There is no distinction between people and their need for salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ died for all people, and He paid for each one with the same precious price, His own blood.  Jesus has no preference for one above another.  He loves all, no matter what nationality, race, skin color or how low they may have fallen.  Because of His impartial grace, we may all be encircled by His welcoming and reconciling arms.  God desires everyone on earth to be saved.


“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  (1 Tim. 2:3-4)


This does not mean everyone will be saved.  What it really means is that salvation is available to every person on earth. 


God “shows no partiality” towards people of different nationalities and races.  The Word of God states all people are equal in His sight and are within His reach.


“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27)


In heaven there will be people of different nationalities, races and languages.


“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”  (Rev. 7:9)


God is impartial to the Jews

and the Gentiles in the Church


The original Apostolic Church is composed of only Jews. There was not a single Gentile member.  Every one of Christ’s disciple who had received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was a Jew.  Naturally the first Christians in the Early Church had thought God would give the Holy Spirit only to the Jews and not to anyone else.


After Peter had received the vision he was led by the Holy Spirit to the home of a Gentile named Cornelius.   Peter preached the Lord Jesus Christ to his household. 


“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.  And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.  Then Peter answered, ‘Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.  Then they asked him to stay a few days.” (Acts 10:44-48)    


God is impartial and very fair to everyone on earth.   In fact, it is God’s plan to make His Spirit available to everyone on earth.


“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.  And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out of My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. . . .  And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Acts 2:17-21)


“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:26-29)


God has only one standard

of judgment for everyone


“For there is no partiality with God.  For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”  (Rom. 2. 11-16)

There are some who wrongly interpret that because God is fair and just that those who do not have the opportunity to know Jesus Christ will be judged by their own conscience and still be saved.  This is not what the apostle Paul wrote.  Paul meant that people are condemned not for what they do not know, but for what they do with what they know.  Those who know God’s written Word and His law will be judged by them.  Those who have never seen a Bible still know right from wrong, and they will be judged because they did not keep even those standards that their own consciences dictated.  Our modern-day sense of fair-play and the rights of the individual often question God’s judgment.  But keep in mind that people violate the very standards they create for themselves. 


There is only one standard by which God will judge the people of the world on Judgment Day.  The apostle Paul wrote: “God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”   Here is what our Lord Jesus Christ said: And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.  He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”  (Jn. 12:47-48)  


There must be no partiality in

keeping the Ten Commandments


Some falsely teach that since Christians are saved by grace and are no longer under the law they do not have to keep it. Here is what the Word of God states:  “What then?  Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?  Certainly not!  (Rom. 6:15)  One of the definitions of sin is lawlessness (1 Jn. 3:4).  Our Lord Jesus Christ states: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”  (Mt. 5:17)  What Law did Jesus come to fulfill?  Here is the answer. 

“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.  For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.  For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’  Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.  So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.”  (Jas. 2:8-12)


From these scriptural verses it is plain to see that Christians cannot have preference for keeping some and not keeping some of the Ten Commandments.  Every one of the Ten Commandments must be kept, and that includes the Fourth Commandment pertaining to the Seventh Day Sabbath which is not abolished after the death of Jesus Christ as some falsely teach.  Here is the evidence the disciples still kept the Sabbath Commandment after the Lord’s death.


“Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils.  And they rested on the Sabbath according to the Commandment.”  (Lk. 23:56) 


On Judgment Day God will judge all the people in the world by the Ten Commandments.


“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter.  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil.”  Ecc. 12:13-14)


The Lord Jesus Christ taught keeping the Ten Commandments enables one to have eternal life (Mt.19:16-19).


“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”  (Rev. 22:14 NKJV)


God has no partiality with

Christian Denominational Churches


The Word of God states very clearly “there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11) and “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34-35)  If we fully understand the biblical truth of partiality and truly accept the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles, it is impossible to see how God can be partial and have a favorite Christian denominational Church.  This would be in direct conflict with His character.


The Children of Israel were the chosen people of God in the Old Testament time because they obeyed His voice and kept His covenant (Ex. 19:5-6).  However, if Israel were to break God’s covenant and served other gods they would perish (Josh. 23:16).  This is God’s impartiality with the Children of Israel.


The same impartiality is applied to the New Testament Christian Church. This is what our Lord Jesus Christ said to His Disciples.


"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (Jn. 15:1-6)


The First Apostolic Church is composed of Jews only but the Lord Jesus Christ made this promise, “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (Jn. 10:16)  This promise was fulfilled by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ which brought the Gentiles, who were originally not of “this fold”, to be reconciled into “one body” which is the Church (Eph. 2:11-22) 


Originally there was only one Church but today there are thousands of denominational churches, and many congregations claim to be the only “True Church” and is God’s favorite denominational church.  We should look at this situation just like how God looks at the 7 churches described in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.  The number 7 symbolizes completeness like the 7 days of the week and the 7 colors of the  rainbow.  The 7 churches in Revelation represent all the Christian denominational churches in the world. 


Just like there is not a single church in Revelation 2 and 3 that is 100% perfect and free from faults, so it is the same with the Christian denominational churches of today.  If there is one congregation that considers itself perfect please write to me, because I would like to proclaim it to many Christians who would like to know about it.  How can God have a favorite Christian denominational church when there is not a single one that is perfect and has no faults?  Besides, the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles have not said nor written one single verse in the Holy Bible about having a favorite church or a Christian group, but the Lord did make this statement.


“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn. 4:23-24)


The “true worshipers” do not refer to any particular Christian denominational church or group, but to individual believers that “worship the Father in spirit and truth.”  Who are the “true worshipers” and where can we find them?  They are the hidden remnants (Rom. 11:5).  There is “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”  (Rev. 7:9).


1.    They are believers in the One True God who manifested Himself in the flesh as the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:1-3, 14).  The Father and Jesus are One (Jn. 10:30). 

2.    “These are the ones who come out of the Great Tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:14; 1:5-6)   They have repented and received baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 8: 22:16).

3.    They have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4; 10:44-46). They bear fruit of the Spirit and live a holy life (Gal. 5:22-23; Heb. 12:14).

4.    They unite with the Lord Jesus Christ and fellow Christians by participating in the Holy Communion (Jn. 6:48-58; Mt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:23-29)

5.    They follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ to wash one another’s feet to have a part with Him (Jn. 13:3-17).     

6.    These are saints “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17; 14:12)  They keep the Seventh Day Sabbath according to the Fourth Commandment and honor Jesus Christ as the Lord of the Sabbath (Lk. 23:56; Mk. 2:27-28). 

7.    “These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins.  These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.  And in their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Rev. 14:4-5)


May God bless you



A sermon based on this article was preached by Paul Wong

to a Congregation in Houston, Texas on September 16, 2005

This article was published on this Website on August 24, 2009

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