"No Respecter of Persons"
The Bible teaches that there is no respecter of persons with God, "For there is no respect of persons with God," Paul declared (Rom. 2: 11). However, such is hard for man to realize, especially since man is often given to respect of persons. Nonetheless, the scriptures are emphatic and replete with teaching that presents God as not judging or treating man, any man, with respect of persons. In other words, God is just and equitable in his dealings with man (Calvinism and other false systems of theology that present God acting with respect of persons to the contrary, notwithstanding). (To read more about Calvinism, click on "What is Calvinism?")
"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him;" "And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him;" "But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons;" "And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear" (Acts 10: 34, 35; Eph. 6: 9; Col. 3: 25; I Pet. 1: 17).
If God is truly no respecter of persons and treats all men equally (in the sense being addressed), then we would expect to find certain cardinal truths in the Bible to be conducive to and harmonious with the fact of God not being a respecter of persons. Let us see if this is really the case.
All men are under the same law. Men today, regardless of race, education, or location, are under the "perfect law of liberty" (Jas. 1: 25). Let us appreciate the fact that while the Law of Moses (designed for the Jew) has been abrogated, we are under the law of Christ (Gal. 6: 2; I Cor. 9: 21). This law is unique in that it is law and grace combined; hence, the perfect law of liberty (see Jn. 1: 17). The gospel, Jesus' law, was to be preached to the whole world (Matt. 28: 19; Mk. 16: 15, 16). In fact, in about twenty-five years all had heard the gospel (Rom. 10: 18). (To read more about law, click on "A Study of Law").
Beloved, both the Christian and non-Christian are answerable and amenable to God's law. John had Christians primarily in mind when he penned, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (I Jn. 3: 4, see the context). Romans 8: 7 ("the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be") is not saying that the non-Christian is not answerable to God's law. Rather, the thought is the worldly mind is not interested in God's law and will not be in its present state of carnality. Of the Corinthians Paul wrote, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified " (I Cor. 6: 11). They had been (before they became Christians) thieves, drunkards, and adulterers (vs. 9, 10). The fact that they had been while non-Christians thieves, drunkards, and adulterers proves they were judged by and answerable to God's law before they became Christians (Eph. 4: 29; Eph. 5: 18; Matt. 19: 9, notice that God considers non-Christians in unscriptural marriages as being in adultery).
Salvation for all men. The Bible says that all men sin (Rom. 3: 23). Therefore, all men (accountable men and women) need salvation. The grace of God that brings salvation "has appeared to all men" (Tit. 2: 11). Jesus is the means of salvation for all men. Jesus, we are told, tasted death for "every man" (Heb. 2: 9). Jesus' blood was shed for the remission of man's sins (Matt. 26: 28). Paul wrote thus of Jesus, "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (I Tim. 2: 6). Hence, Jude referred to the "common salvation," available to all men (Jude 3).
Salvation is offered to all men on the same conditions. Yes, there are conditions. If there were no conditions, then all men would unconditionally and universally be saved. However, such will not be the case (Matt. 7: 13, 14). Remember Peter said,
"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10: 34, 35).
To "work righteouness" means to do what God has required of man to do in order to be saved. The scriptures plainly teach: belief; repentance; confession of Jesus' deity; and water baptism for the remission of sins (Jn. 8: 24; Lk. 13: 3, 5; Rom. 10: 9, 10; Acts 2: 38, 22: 16). All men must accept God's grace in the precise same way. God does not require some to believe, repent, confess, and be baptized and not require the same of others. God only has one plan of salvation for all men (Click on "What Must I do to be Saved?" to see more).
A common church for all men. Jesus promised to build his church (Matt. 16: 18, 19). Jesus said that he would build his church despite death and hades (Ibid.). The establishment of Jesus' church was very important because "in Christ" we have redemption and all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1: 3-7). Jesus' church is for Jew and Gentile alike (Eph. 2: 16). All who are scripturally baptized are placed into Jesus' church or body (Gal. 3: 26, 27, I Cor. 12: 13, see Eph. 1: 22, 23). Hence, there is but one body or church (Eph. 4: 4, Col. 1: 18, if you want to learn more about the church, click on "The Church Jesus Built").
All men will be judged by the same standard. It is appointed unto all once to die and then the judgment (Heb. 9: 27). The Bible says, " for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" (Rom. 14: 10, cp. 2 Cor. 5: 10). Consider the great judgment scene to come:
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20: 11-15).
Beloved, all men will be judged by the standard of God's word compared to how they lived and accepted or rejected God's grace in this life (Jn. 12: 48).
In conclusion, when we examine in detail the various features and teachings of the gospel, they are all consistent and conducive to the fact that God is no respecter of persons. Let us now revisit the text of Romans 2: 11. Verse eleven that we quoted in the beginning of this article is actually the climax to a passage that begins with verse six. Please consider the passage and the conclusion again: "Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God."