God’s impartiality and His will to save the Church
Being a just God, He wants all men to be saved (I Tim. 2:3–4). At the same time though, He Himself set certain just conditions that man ought to fulfill in order to attain salvation.
By JENSEN DG. MAÑEBOG
PARTIALITY is “a lack of fairness that you show when you support one person, group, or opinion more than any others” (Macmillan English Dictionary, 2002). It is mostly synonymous or semantically related to favoritism, bias, prejudice, partisanship, discrimination, and unfairness. When defined as “unfair support of one person or one group against another” (Longman Dictionary), partiality is seen as negative regardless of where it happens.
Whether in the home, at the workplace, and elsewhere, partiality brings about jealousy, affects people’s motivation, incites disrespect, and breaks a team or group and even families apart. So, to avoid these things, leaders of organizations and groups, and even parents, are advised to treat everyone fairly and to do their very best not to play favorites.
God as impartial
Being just and righteous, our Lord God is the perfect example of fairness. “For there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11 New American Standard Bible), Apostle Paul stated. Whatever one does, the Father cannot be swayed to be unfair, “For the Lord your God … shows no partiality and accepts no bribes” (Deut. 10:17 New International Version). Unlike some people who favor the wealthy and almost automatically side with those in high social status, God “doesn’t care how great a person may be, and he pays no more attention to the rich than to the poor” (Job 34:19 New Living Translation 2015).
This truth about God was pronounced by Apostle Peter to Cornelius and his relatives and close friends in Caesarea. Summoned to the centurion’s house to deliver God’s will, Apostle Peter “opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him’” (Acts 10:34–35 English Standard Version).
That pronouncement of Apostle Peter is nonetheless interpreted by some to mean that God, being impartial, requires only two things from people to be accepted as His servants and be saved: (1) fearing Him and (2) doing what is right. And so, they conclude that the Church Of Christ’s doctrine about the necessity to enter this Church in order to be saved is contrary to biblical precepts. For them, the belief that it is only the Church Of Christ members whom the Lord will save on Judgment Day runs counter to the good nature of God being impartial.
But is it true that membership in the Church Of Christ is dispensable to salvation? Is the doctrine concerning the salvation for the Church Of Christ members really at odds with God’s impartiality?
Salvation and the Church
No doctrine of the Church Of Christ is ever contrary to biblical teachings as it upholds nothing but the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. The indispensability of joining this Church to gain salvation, for instance, is not its invention but is clearly taught by the Bible itself:
“For a husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over the church; and Christ is himself the Savior of the church, his body.” (Eph. 5:23 Good News Bible)
“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47 King James Version)
In granting salvation to the Church referred to, God is in no way unfair or partial. Being a just God, He indeed wants all men to be saved (I Tim. 2:3–4). At the same time though, He Himself set certain just conditions that man ought to fulfill in order to attain salvation. Primary among these is to obey His will that all be gathered in His Son (Eph. 1:9–10), by becoming a part of Christ’s body (Rom. 12:4–5) or becoming members of His Church (Col. 1:18).
Demonstrating impartiality, our Lord God does give everyone equal chance to attain salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ, the One appointed by God to be our Savior (Acts 5:31), has this invitation for anyone who wishes to be saved:
“I am the door; anyone who comes into the fold through me will be safe. …” (John 10:9 Revised English Bible)
Take note that “anyone”—regardless of race, nationality, citizenship, ethnicity, language, socio-economic status, gender, and professional and personal background—is invited by the Savior to enter into the fold, because doing such ultimately means being “safe.” The fold or flock referred to is none other than the Church Of Christ:
“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.” (Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation)
The Bible teaches that all people, except the Lord Jesus Christ, have sinned (Rom. 5:12; I Pet. 2:21–22) and are thus condemned to die
(Rom. 6:23) ultimately in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). To be saved from that punishment, one needs to be redeemed with Christ’s blood
(Heb. 9:14, 22). The Savior thus invites everyone to enter the Church Of Christ because it is that which He redeemed with His precious blood.
In view of this biblical doctrine concerning salvation, it is, therefore, only fair and impartial on God’s part not to count among His true servants and heirs of His kingdom those who refuse to heed Christ’s benevolent invitation.
Doing right and fearing God
Apostle Peter’s statement that goes “anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:35 ESV) is not in any way contrary, but instead even complementary, to the teaching that membership in the true Church is so needed in rightfully serving God. In fact, one of the “right” things which everyone must do to be acceptable to God, as explained, is to enter—not to reject—the Church Of Christ.
The “fear” of the Lord mentioned by Apostle Peter is likewise manifested through obedience to the commandments or will of God (Ps. 111:10), one of which, as earlier pointed out, is to be a part of Christ’s body or Church. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures testify that the reverent fear of God is lived by the members of the Church Of Christ:
“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.” (Acts 9:31 NIV)
Like Cornelius and his household, may more people today be also willing to listen to the true gospel, believe, and be baptized (Acts 10:1–48) into that same Church to which the apostles belonged—the Church Of Christ (I Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:18; Acts 20:28 Lamsa).
Turning down this Bible-based means to salvation is outright wrong, and “For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality” (Col. 3:25 New American Standard Bible 1995).
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