Series: First Peter, Sermon #15
PILGRIMS CAN BE ASSURED THAT GOD IS NO RESPECTOR OF PERSONS
SCRIPTURE: I Pet. 1:17-21
TEXT: I Pet. 1:17
INTRO: Pilgrims are often deprived in a land where they are not citizens. As was the case with the people who were immediately addressed in this epistle, they may have had to flee to a country in a time of persecution. There might be a tendency to wonder how one is looked on by God, when he is despised by men.
Peter reminds these sojourners, these pilgrims, that they need not be concerned about this. Their status in the world will have no affect on their standing with God. As evidence of this he reminds them that they have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He reminds them that God is a judge who is uninfluenced in his judgment by a manís person. A human judge is often influenced by outward appearances and by a personís wealth and other things. This is not so with God. Our low or high status in this world will have nothing to do with our standing with the Great Judge of the universe.
THE MEANING OF THE EXPRESSION "WITHOUT RESPECT OF PERSONS"
The gross misunderstanding and misapplication of such statements.
Those who are the enemies of the doctrine of election to salvation often try to refute the doctrine with scriptures which clearly show that God is no respector of persons.
I cannot count the number of times I have had people use scripture that teaches this truth that God is no respector of persons to try to disprove the doctrine of election. Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: (KJV)
The fact that God is no respector of persons is proven by the doctrine of election rather than disproved.
In is proven in Deuteronomy 7:7-8 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people: 8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (KJV)
It is proven in Godís choice of Jacob and rejection of Esau. Romans 9:11-13 (For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (KJV)
It is proven in Godís declaration of sovereignty concerning the ones on whom he is merciful. Romans 9:15-16 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (KJV)
It is proven again in Paulís application of Godís declaration to Moses. Romans 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth. (KJV)
It is proven in Godís choice of some as vessels of mercy prepared for glory while leaving others in their just condemnation. Romans 9:21-23 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (KJV)
God determined to use a vessel of wrath who was a mighty ruler for his glory and purpose. Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (KJV)
He determined to use another vessel of wrath who had no reputation and no apparent wealth. His name was Judas Iscariot.
Rather than the fact that God is impartial and no respector of persons establishes some of our major arguments for the doctrine of election rather than destroying those arguments.
The expression "without respect of persons" has several implications.
It means that our standing with God and his favor toward us was and is not determined by our national origin.
It means that God does not bless or withhold blessings on the grounds of the country in which we live.
It means that God does not show favor or withhold favor on the basis of who our parents are.
It means that God does not withhold or mete out his blessings on the grounds of our social standingórich or poor, high or low, bond or free.
Nor does he mete out his blessings on the basis of what religious background we have.
Neither does God bless or withhold his blessings because of our outward appearance.
The fact that he may choose one to salvation and leave another to his just condemnation is based solely upon his sovereign choice made without any regard for good seen or foreseen in the object.
THE FACT THAT GOD IS NO RESPECTOR OF PERSONS IS WELL-ESTABLISHED BY SCRIPTURE
It is established in the words of our text. 1 Peter 1:17 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. (KJV)
It is seen in his love and care for the orphans and poor. Deuteronomy 10:17-18 For the LORD your God [is] God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: 18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. (KJV)
It is seen in Jehoshaphatís instructions to the judges he set up in his day and reminded them of the Great Judge and his example in judgment. 2 Chronicles 19:4-7 And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers. 5 And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, 6 And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who [is] with you in the judgment. 7 Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do [it]: for [there is] no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.
The Lord Jesus Christ manifest this same impartiality during his life as even admitted by his enemies. Matthew 22:15-16 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in [his] talk. 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any [man]: for thou regardest not the person of men.
This impartiality of God was set forth when Peter went to preach to a Gentile. Acts 10:34-35 Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (KJV)
In his epistle to the church in Rome Paul affirmed that God does not respect the person of men regardless of their nationality. Romans 2:6-12 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law. (KJV)
When false teachers tried to bring Paul and his co-workers into the bondage of the law, Paul gave them no corner, for God is no respector of persons. Galatians 2:3-6 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed [to be somewhat] in conference added nothing to me. (KJV)
Paul instructed masters to take Godís impartiality into consideration when dealing with their servants. Ephesians 6:8-9 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether [he be] bond or free. 9 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. (KJV)
When encouraging the congregation at Colosse to be faithful in their service Paul used as one incentive the impartiality of God in his rewarding of his servants. Colossians 3:23-25 And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. (KJV)
WHAT THIS SHOULD MEAN TO CHRISTIANS, TO PILGRIMS
It means that we are saved wholly of grace without any respect of what we are or were.
It means that we ought never to think ourselves superior to others regardless of their race, their national origin, their station in life, or any thing else; we are what we are by the grace of God.
We have nothing that we did not receive from God.
We were born into this nation because of Godís determining grace.
We heard the gospel of Jesus Christ by Divine arrangement.
It means that we should never complain about our pilgrim status for God has abundantly blessed us in saving us.
CONC: If God were a respector of persons and saved me because of their station in life, I for one would have been passed by. How about you?
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