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Indifferent Differences

October 24, 2016

For some reason that I have not yet fathomed our society has deemed recognition of certain obvious differences between people is prejudiced, belittling or hateful. In one sense this has some Biblical merit. God overlooks the differences between people. He is not a respecter of persons. The church must not respect race, riches, ethnicity, or gender.

Not being a respector of persons does not mean acting like differences do not exist. Callous cruelty that refuses to recognize the poverty of one in desperate need is not justified by a claim of treating everyone equally. Folly masquerades as wisdom when it ignores differences between cultures and genders because of some misguided attempt to treat all exactly the same.

Verses such as Galatians 3:28 do not teach an absolute lack of difference between various groups of people. The apostle Paul recognized differences and actively treated groups differently. When he went into a new community he went first to the Jews and preached, then he went to the Gentiles. This is what Paul means in Romans 1 when he says, “To the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Later in Romans Paul points out that God recognizes a difference between Jew and Greek. God gave favor to the Jews, then grafted the Gentiles into those blessings and will one day return rich blessing upon the Jews. God does not deal with all men at all times in the same way.

Different people are different. Despite the difficulty of many to comprehend the obvious this fact is nonetheless true. The differences between people have absolutely no affect upon salvation. Galatians 3:28 declares that God receives all who believe Him without prejudice to their differences. Differences do not go away so that all Christians become identical. The differences remain but they have no effect on the means by which any one is saved nor upon the possibility of being saved. No one is saved because of gender, nationality, economic status or any other personal advantage. Salvation is always only by faith. All who believe are saved. None who do not believe are saved.

This means there is no place in the church or the Christian’s life for scorn of others. One’s standing before God has no connection with physical differences. Christian’s have no business belittling another because their background is not ours. Indians are not inferior to the salvation of God. Blacks and Hispanics are not second class in the kingdom of God. Those who grew up in Christian homes are not superior in God’s plan to those saved out of a life of deep sin. The rich are not greater in the church than the poor. The young are not more important than the old.

Christians ought not ignore the differences between peoples nor should those differences be barriers to fellowship. Selfless love that is committed to the spiritual benefit of the other must be the center of every relationship.

The church needs to recognize the differences God has built into each person. Every Christian should treat one another with Christlike love and grace. Turning a blind eye to differences will profit no one. God has not made the church homogeneous. The church is a heterogeneous mixture of personalities, backgrounds, abilities, resources and gifts that God has placed together in one body to provoke all to greater Christlikeness. He has shown the grace to all and made us all different members together for the edifiction of all.

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