Friday, 12 March 2010

God has no favourites...?

"God has no favourites". So it is said. In the strict sense, this is nonsense...
  • God has in eternity chosen some of mankind to be his children, yet not others - but not for any reason in them; only for reasons in his own sovereign counsel. If this does not mean that some are "favourites", what would?
  • Amongst the disciples, Jesus had a favoured three - Peter, James, John (e.g. Mark 9:2, the Transfiguration). To them he disclosed what he did not to others. If anyone thinks that this is because Peter was especially spiritual and accomplished at this point - well, read just a few verses before where Jesus rebukes him for holding to the thoughts of Satan!
  • Some of God's servants in the world today are given a far larger dose of opportunities, graces and gifts than others. What does the word "favoured" mean if these things are not included? (They received a correspondingly larger responsibility before him too!).
  • It is explicitly taught in the parable of the talents that some receive more both in this life and the one to come - is not God free to dispense his own gifts as he likes? (I wrote more on the Biblical teaching on future rewards here).
The Biblical truths which can pass under the statement "God has no favourites" are that:
  • God favours no man's person. i.e. You can attain to no status or achievement, or receive any special favours from God, which allow you a license or leniency for particular conduct which someone else is not granted. (Actually the more you receive from him, the more accountability you then have: not less).
  • The gospel is offered freely to all without exception or distinction.
  • All of God's children have the same spiritual privileges granted: in justification, the gift of the Holy Spirit to indwell us, access to God in prayer and communion, the mediation of Christ on our behalf, the promises of Scripture for us, the future inheritance of glorification. Nothing belonging to the world of the first birth - Jew/Gentile, male/female, slave/free etc. (Galatians 3:28) - makes any difference at all here.
  • All of us have access to more blessing, if we are faithful with what we have already been apportioned. There is a free and open invitation for all of God's children to know more of his blessing - we can never say that he put a road-block in our way to blessing that he did not for others.
"God has no favourites" could be said in the above senses. But as a catch-all slogan, it does not fit with reality.

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