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What Luther Says

Equal Sign, Equal Sinners

God is not a respecter of persons.

Acts 10:34-35 (ESV) 34So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him."

When the first Gentile was converted to Christianity, the apostle Peter perceived that “God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35).

Before the church was established and Gentiles began to be converted to Christ, many Jews supposed that God favored them over all other ethnic groups; some had the false notion that merely being Jewish was a sure sign that one was saved (Matthew 3:9; Luke 3:8; 7:30).

Similarly, today, a majority of people (yes, even many Christians) think that simply being "a good person" in this life, or "better than most" even, is enough for them to get into God's good graces, and therefore, enough to earn them a ticket to Heaven one day ("if there is a Heaven" according to most who hold to this view).

When the religious barrier between Jews and Gentiles was broken down, Peter more fully understood one important aspect of God’s character: He does not favor -- and never has favored -- one person or group of people over others. Whether or not the Israelites always understood it, anyone who obeys God’s commands can be justified in His sight.

2 Chronicles 19:7 (ESV) 7Now then, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the LORD our God, or partiality or taking bribes.

Job 34:19 (ESV) 19
who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?

Romans 2:10-11 (ESV) 10but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11For God shows no partiality.

Galatians 5:6 (ESV) 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

1 Peter 1:17 (ESV) 17And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,

Of course, if it's true that anyone who obeys God’s commands can be justified in His sight (and it is), then what do we mean by "obey God's commands" exactly? Good question.

Well, rather than the un-Biblical "Works Based Theology," what we're talking about primarily here can be found in the Book of Acts.

Acts 17:30-31 (ESV) 30The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

"Now he commands all people everywhere to repent..." Plain and simple really.

Exactly what does it mean that God is impartial? God offers salvation to every man, no matter what external circumstances, such as socioeconomic status or nationality, might apply to him.

God does not offer salvation only to the Jew, just because he is a Jew, only to the Gentile because he is a Gentile, or only to the American because he is an American.

Any human judge might show undue favor to a plaintiff or a defendant because of private friendship, bribery, rank, power, or political affiliation, but God, the perfect Judge, cannot be tempted by any of the things that might tempt a human judge to show unfair partiality.

You can be saved, if you are willing to search for the truth, accept the truth as revealed to us in God's Word (in the Holy Bible), recognize your sinful nature, repent for your sins, and place your full faith and trust in Christ Jesus.

In addition, God always has expected impartiality from His followers. We should not treat people differently because of their financial status or outward appearance. The Lord said: “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty” (Leviticus 19:15). Deuteronomy 1:17 reads: “You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great.” After describing a scenario in which a rich man was given a favored seat in the assembly, and a poor man was pushed to the side, James wrote: “But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:9).

So, in stating that Christians should not show partiality because they believe in Christ, James, by inspiration, suggested that favoritism -- treating certain people as if they are of more inherent worth -- is inconsistent with faith in Christ, and causes one to violate God’s law of liberty (James 2:8; James 2:12).

Likewise, we should not show partiality to non-believers either (like giving preferential treatment and social status to homosexuals).

Guess what? We're all sinners -- equal sinners -- in the sense that each and every one of us is depraved from birth and deserving of His judgment for our sins.

Psalm 51:5 (ESV) 5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Ephesians 2:3 (ESV) 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Romans 6:23 (ESV)
23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are all sinners in need of His saving grace. Again, plain and simple really.

If you have a Facebook account, then I'm sure you were treated to a wide display of depravity over the last 24-48 hours in the form of an "Equal Sign" image that has been used to rally support for the "Gay Marriage" debate underway in this country and currently being deliberated by the US Supreme Court.

Here's my take that I posted on my own Facebook page late last night.

Human Beings = Sinners.
Sin = Sin.
Homosexuality = Sin.
Wages of Sin = Death.
Repentance + Faith In Christ = Forgiveness And Salvation.
Jesus Christ = Your Only Hope!
You = ???

(HINT: "You are a sinner who will continue to choose to rebel against God and reject His call to repent and receive His free gift of forgiveness, mercy, and salvation because you prefer instead to call evil good and good evil..." OR "You are a sinner saved by grace through faith and not by works so that you may boast because you know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him...").

Please, I beg you, humble yourselves and repent for His righteous judgment is coming! You can call that statement "doom-and-gloom," "negative," "politically incorrect" and "hate speech" if you want to, but it doesn't change the truth of the matter. All it does is help you feel justified for ignoring it when the reality is that this week should remind us all that we can be justified through Christ.

You can run from the Lord today all you want to, but you will not be able to run from Him when you die and will stand before Him. Surely, that is something we all share in common -- death in this life. We all enter this world the same way so why is it so illogical to think that there's only one way to leave this world and enter the next?

Pride. Not ironically, it's pride (in this case "gay pride") that drives people to celebrate, embrace, and promote sin (any sin!) as though it were a virtue during what should be the most holy, reverent week of the year.

As always, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death" (Proverbs 14:12) as evidenced by an image of two parallel lines that form an equal sign. Tragically, that sign only signals that you are a slave to the world, a slave to your sins, rather than a slave to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who can free you from those sins and make you a new creation with a new life and new desires in Him.

Ironically, the color red was chosen for this sign of rebellion, but rather than reminding the world of the blood He shed to atone for the multitude of our sins (for a sin like homosexuality, which is one of many), it will only serve to kindle His righteous anger and invite His divine wrath.

But "God is love!" right? Precisely. So here's an image for you...Turn the top parallel line until it's vertical. Now you have the sign of the cross. Keep the color red to remind you of the bloodied, bruised, mutilated, and tortured Savior hanging naked and shamefully -- crucified in your place.

His crime? Loving you enough to speak "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) even when it was "politically incorrect" and loving you enough to lay down His life for you even when He knew it would cost Him unimaginable agony, pain, and separation from the Father.

Yes, "God is love!" but He is also the Righteous Judge of the Universe He created. And how do we show our appreciation and say thanks?

We ignore Him! We ignore Him at a time when His sacrifice in our place and on our behalf, His free gift of salvation, should be at the forefront of our minds.

We choose to display all kinds of images and sayings that dishonor His life, ministry, and sacrifice.

Worse, we do it all under the "Christian" banner of so-called "love" and "tolerance" all the while remaining completely oblivious to the fact staring us in the face this week that true love is more than mere words; true love is an action, and true love has never been (and never will) be manifested more perfectly than it is in the King of kings, Lord of lords, Jesus Christ.

By God's design, you can choose for yourself at this very moment whether or not you want to accept God’s saving grace (Joshua 24:15; Isaiah 7:16; Ezekiel 18:20; Matthew 23:37; Revelation 22:17).

Each person is responsible for his or her own actions (Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10). We are not mindless robots put on autopilot, and yet, we all have a propensity to sin and would choose to sin every time if left to ourselves (Psalm 14:3; Psalm 53:3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:12).

Thank the Lord for His abundant grace and mercy made available to us! How can we not be reminded of that this week? How can we choose sin over the opportunity to live free from sin?

Because of God’s marvelous love for all of mankind, He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4).

My dear friends, the time to repent of your sins (to turn away from them) is now! What are you waiting for? I pray that you will respond to Him with an eternal perspective and not just an earthly one.


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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