Staff Corner – Greg Spires - Teaching Pastor
Two warehouse employees worked together at a supply company located in a big city. Both worked hard to be ready to move into an inside sales job as soon as one opened. Finally, another sales job opened, and they both applied. However, no one was surprised when the job was given to the employee engaged to the owner’s daughter.
The investment manager of a prominent New York financial firm made such poor investment decisions that the company was ruined and closed. All the employees lost their jobs and were left with nothing as they tried to find their next employer. The investment manager was soon heading up a new firm. Again, this surprised no one as he ran in the same social circles as several members of the Board of Directors of the new firm.
It isn’t always true, but sometimes it feels like it: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters. In the world of work and business, it can seem like hard work and skill don’t always lead to success. When this system of connections works in our favor, we think it was our cunning and skill that provided the right connections. However, when we get overlooked for a promotion or another company wins a bid because they had the right connections, it feels unfair.
The Bible makes one thing very clear about God. He does not play the favorites game. Romans 2:11 says, “For God shows no partiality.”
Some people think that since the world often runs based on who knows the right people, God must be the same. Favor with God is gained by being from the right religion. Or favor is earned by following the correct ritual, wearing the right clothes, or even being from the right ethnic background.
Others see favor with God curried through behavior. Good religious people don’t lose their temper, are educated, read the correct version of the Bible, and vote for the appropriate political party.
The problem with a relationship with God based on earning His favor is that it is always a means to allow for hidden rebellion. The man who attends church each week and prays before dinner sees no problem in having a romantic relationship with a co-worker. He assumes because he has a favored relationship with God, it will be okay.
The business owner that fudges his accounting for tax purposes, or the contractor that cheats his customers to increase profit thinks it isn’t a big deal because he gives lots of money to charities, schools, and the church. God won’t mind the financial cheating because he has favored status through giving, he thinks.
But God shows no partiality. The only way to a relationship with God is by attaining perfect righteousness and holiness like Him. To be favored by God requires that an individual never do anything wrong. Also, it means the person always does the right thing precisely when the right thing should be done.
None of us can earn God’s favor. So, we need someone to earn His favor for us, and that is what Jesus did for us. He obeyed God perfectly and never sinned. Then, He died on the cross to pay for our rebellion and gave us life through His resurrection.
The only way to have a favored status with God is to come to the place where we recognize we don’t have favored status. Then we put all our hope and trust in Jesus that we might be favored because of Him alone.
Religious people aren’t favored. Rich people aren’t favored. Poor people aren’t favored. Neither are successful, nice, old, young, pretty, handsome, sober, or well-spoken people. God favors only one kind of people: People in Jesus by faith.
There needs to be room made in our hearts for repentance. If we think we can earn our way to God, then we need to humble ourselves and seek His grace and forgiveness through Jesus.
But there also needs to be repentance in those who already know God through Jesus. It is time for us to get off our religious “high horse” and realize God doesn’t favor us because of our religion. It doesn’t matter how long you have followed God: The only reason you are favored is because of Jesus. Whether you have known the Lord four decades or four minutes, the only reason God looks with favor on you is because Jesus died and rose again. There is no place for religious pride and arrogance in Christ’s church.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Romans 2:1-16.
Praying with you,