“God Is Not Partial”
“JEHOVAH your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the God great, mighty and fear-inspiring, who treats none with partiality.” (Deut. 10:17) These reassuring words, spoken by the prophet Moses, have been repeatedly confirmed by the record of God’s dealings with mankind.
Due to God’s impartiality the opportunity of becoming his approved servants, with everlasting life in view, has not been restricted to just a few. God’s “will is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.” (1 Tim. 2:4-6) Since all humans, by reason of the ransom sacrifice, are the property of God and Christ, none are debarred from taking advantage of the opportunity to gain salvation. Race, social standing, abilities, outward appearance and the like simply have no bearing on the matter.
Consider the case of the nation of Israel. True, Jehovah God dealt exclusively with the Israelites as his name people for a time. But note that God’s choosing them as his recognized people did not depend upon their greatness or numbers. Moses told them: “It was not because of your being the most populous of all the peoples that Jehovah showed affection for you so that he chose you, for you were the least of all the peoples.” (Deut. 7:7) “You continue to live, because [God] loved your forefathers so that he chose their seed after them and brought you out of Egypt.”—Deut. 4:37.
Why can we say that this choosing of the Israelites did not result in partial treatment? Because, to the contrary, they had a more serious account to render before Jehovah God than peoples who did not know him. Their failure to obey his law, therefore, brought them under a special curse. This is evident from Deuteronomy 27:26: “Cursed is the one who will not put the words of this law in force by doing them.”
The other nations were allowed to go ahead in their own ways and, despite this, they were permitted to benefit from God’s bountiful provisions. Though possessing the power to withhold sunshine and rain, Jehovah only rarely used that power against humans and in these cases it was for the accomplishment of a particular purpose. (Ex. 10:23; Amos 4:7) The experience of the nations generally has been just as the apostle Paul described to the people of Lystra: “In the past generations [God] permitted all the nations to go on in their ways, although, indeed, he did not leave himself without witness in that he did good, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts to the full with food and good cheer.” (Acts 14:16, 17) Along with this, Jehovah God has been working out matters in a way that would result in His blessing all mankind through the Messiah and his associates, that is, through ‘Abraham’s seed.’—Gen. 22:18.
During the time that Jehovah God was using the Israelites, individuals in other nations still could receive his favorable attention. King Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple on Mount Moriah bears this out. He petitioned Jehovah: “To the foreigner, who is no part of your people Israel and who actually comes from a distant land by reason of your name (for they shall hear of your great name and of your strong hand and of your stretched-out arm), and he actually comes and prays toward this house, may you yourself listen from the heavens, your established place of dwelling, and you must do according to all that for which the foreigner calls to you; in order that all the peoples of the earth may get to know your name so as to fear you the same as your people Israel.”—1 Ki. 8:41-43.
The Bible records a number of cases where non-Israelites who exercised faith even received special blessings from Jehovah God.
There was a widow in Zarephath who showed consideration to Jehovah’s prophet Elijah. As a consequence, her small supply of flour and oil was miraculously prevented from running out during a time of famine. An even grander miracle was the resurrection of her only son.—1 Ki. 17:8-24; Luke 4:25, 26.
The prostitute Rahab of Jericho abandoned her degrading occupation, exercised faith in Jehovah and took action in harmony with his use of Israel. She and her relatives, therefore, did not perish with the other inhabitants of Jericho. Additionally, unknown to herself, she was privileged to be brought into the family line leading to the Messiah when she entered into an honorable marriage with Salmon.—Ruth 4:20-22; Matt. 1:5, 6; Heb. 11:30, 31; Jas. 2:25.
Similarly, the Moabitess Ruth gained God’s approval. She chose Jehovah as her God and willingly left her homeland to live among the Israelites, a people who recognized him as the true God. The Most High, in turn, permitted her to become a link in the most important line of descent, the one leading to the Messiah.—Matt. 1:5.
With the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, the Israelites, on the basis of God’s covenant with their forefather Abraham, were given the initial opportunity to become loyal disciples of that one. Then, in 36 C.E., the first group of uncircumcised non-Jews had the same privilege extended to them. Addressing this group, the apostle Peter said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
IMITATE GOD’S IMPARTIALITY
Since God is impartial, all who desire his approval should want to be like him. This means avoiding any display of favoritism on the basis of a person’s superior educational background, financial standing, prominence or the like. We judge no man by fleshly or imperfect human standards. What really counts is, not outward appearance, but what an individual is at heart.
God’s impartiality places upon his servants the responsibility of helping their fellow humans to come to an accurate knowledge of the truth. No one should view someone as being unworthy to be aided in this way. People can be assisted to change their ways if that is really what they want to do. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean.” (1 Cor. 6:9-11) Accordingly, if individuals bring their lives into conformity with God’s will, they can become his clean, approved servants.
Our appreciating God’s impartiality will also enable us to put in the right perspective what others may think of us. Our main concern will be to please, not men, who might be impressed by outward show, but Jehovah God, who sees what the heart is. We will follow the Scriptural admonition: “Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled as to Jehovah, and not to men, for you know that it is from Jehovah you will receive the due reward of the inheritance. Slave for the Master, Christ. Certainly the one that is doing wrong will receive back what he wrongly did, and there is no partiality.”—Col. 3:23-25.
Truly God’s impartiality has resulted in marvelous benefits for humankind. The basis has been laid for all, not just a few, to choose to come into an approved standing before him, with the prospect of living forever. Appreciation of that fact should stir us to help as many as possible to gain an accurate knowledge of the truth. It should move us to shun favoritism and to avoid undue concern about what men may think of us. By doing everything as unto Jehovah, imitating his impartiality, we can be sure of receiving a rich reward.