Posted On April 23, 2021

God’s Impartiality

by | Apr 23, 2021 | Featured, Romans

Romans 2:11, “For God shows no partiality.”

Among other things, the Protestant Reformation was sparked by the desire to get the order of salvation correct. Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin were reacting against the confusion of justification and sanctification that was being promoted by the medieval Western church. As crystallized at the Council of Trent, the Roman church was teaching—and still teaches today—that God will not finally justify us until we have some good works of our own to merit the kingdom. Our grace-enabled obedience is part of the ground of our justification. This is a deadly error, for before the bar of the Lord’s perfect justice, nothing we can do is good enough. The best of our works are always tainted by sin, and if we depend in any way on what we do for our heavenly citizenship, we will find ourselves severed from Christ, who is the only way to the Father (Gal. 5:4; see John 14:6).

To commingle the good we do in our sanctification with the righteousness of Christ in our justification is to deny the gospel. Yet we must never separate sanctification from justification. We can—and must—distinguish them. But as sanctification is part of the order of salvation, there cannot be a justified person who is not also being sanctified. Thus, Paul can speak of our obedience as a step in the sequence that leads to our final and complete glorification, but he never says our good works are the reason for God’s choosing, justifying, and perfecting His elect. All must travel the road of sanctification on their way to heaven, but grace alone puts us on that road and keeps us from veering off of it. John Calvin comments in book 3 of his Institutes: “There will be no impropriety in considering holiness of life as the way, not indeed the way which gives access to the glory of the heavenly kingdom; but a way by which God conducts his elect to the manifestation of that kingdom, since his good pleasure is to glorify those whom he has sanctified.”

Romans 2:9–11 reinforces this point by telling us that all people are equal before the judgment of the Lord. Jews have no particular advantage because they are Jewish. If they are right before God through trusting His promises and demonstrating that trust by seeking to honor the Lord, they will enjoy everlasting glory, honor, and peace. If their life shows no evidence at all that they trust in God, the Lord will not give them a pass because Abraham is their father according to the flesh. When it comes to citizenship in heaven, our Creator is impartial. Everyone must meet the same standard.

Coram Deo

Only those who patiently do good in hope of immortality will enter into eternal life (Rom. 2:6–7). Yet no one even wants to do this apart from divine grace, as Paul explains in the next few chapters of Romans. Only those who have been declared just before God can in any sense do the good Paul mentions in Romans 2:1–11, but even then we obey imperfectly and never fully meet His just demands. He graciously forgives us, however, as we repent and keeps us on the narrow way to heaven.

God’s Impartiality, Copyright (2021), Ligonier Ministries.

Related Posts

The Local Church and the Preaching of the Word of God

The Local Church and the Preaching of the Word of God

On today’s Warriors of Grace show, Dave considers Jesus’ use of Scripture in preaching, why church members need good expository preaching, the nature of biblical preaching, and the biblical foundations of the Holy Spirit in preaching. What You'll Hear On This Episode...

Blessed Are Those Not Offended by Christ

Blessed Are Those Not Offended by Christ

Matthew’s story of John the Baptist asking who Jesus was (Matt. 11:1-6) deserves our undivided attention. This is a familiar passage we should run to in time of need. John the Baptist was imprisoned at the outset of Jesus’ public ministry (Matthew 4:12), so he had...

Biblical Authority In a Postmodern World

Biblical Authority In a Postmodern World

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Sarah and Dave Jenkins talk about the doctrine of Scripture and the Christian life, how biblical morality and sexuality is under attack today, along with Dave’s new book, The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against...

Wise Versus Foolish Responses

Wise Versus Foolish Responses

Proverbs 29:11, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Things have been a bit rough recently at work. The opportunity to spill out with angry words in response to the actions or even perceived actions of others seems to know no...

Weekly Roundup 8/1/2022-8/6/2022

Weekly Roundup 8/1/2022-8/6/2022

This is our weekly roundup of posts for 8/1/2022-8/6/2022. If you have any feedback on how we can serve you our readers better, I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading and allowing us to minister to you throughout this past week through these posts. Monday...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share2
Tweet3
Email
Reddit
Share