Food for Friday

What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. Romans 3:9

Did you ever think about how ridiculous prejudice is? I was recently reading of a mother’s concern for her little son, who was being bullied by some other boys because of his red hair. They called him a ginger, in a nasty way. If there is anyone with a problem here, it is the bullies, to assume that somehow they were better than the little ginger. As the husband of a redhead, and as the father of two redheads, and the grandfather of two more redheads, I can verify that there is nothing inferior about anyone with red hair. How do people come up with those ridiculous prejudiced ideas? It is true that there are some people who are much smarter than others. There are some people who have much more physical strength and ability than others. It is true that there are some people with more pleasing personalities, more business acumen, more you name it. But these don’t make those people better than anyone else; they just make them different from some others. And differences are something to celebrate, not fear or punish. I can guarantee that if everybody was just like you, this world could not exist. Regardless of who he was speaking for, Paul was right when he said ‘Are we better than they? In no wise!’

Was Paul speaking as a Jew? He had just made the point that the Jews had a great advantage because unto them were given the oracles of God. But the Jews had failed to take advantage of what God had given them, and had actually rejected and despised their Messiah when He came. Was Paul speaking as a Gentile, those brought into the opportunity to receive the Gospel because of the rejection of the Jews? If so, he found them just as rebellious against the Gospel message as we find today. As Paul notes, all – Jew and Gentile – are under sin. All commence their existence on the same broad road to destruction and will land in the same hell for the same reason. It is true that some are worse sinners and have committed different sins from others. But that does not make those with lesser records of wrongdoing any better. There is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – Romans 6:23.

So if there is no difference among sinners, is there a difference among saints? Hardly! Unfortunately, there can be a tendancy among some Christians to whom God has revealed certain truths to regard as inferior other Christians who have not had the same opportunity as them. But that is wrong. It is highly likely that other Christians who don’t know the things that you do are living far more for the Lord within the light that God has given them. I think of a dear man I encountered in a store in Florida. We chatted for only a few minutes, and in those few minutes, we shared a bit of appreciation of our brotherhood in Christ. And we shared some precious things about our Lord. We had no idea where each of us hung our hats on Sundays, what versions of the Bible we read, what our positions are on any of the great doctrines of Scripture; our skin colour was different, and I don’t even remember his name. But before God, and in each of our hearts, we were equals. And that’s how it should be.

Are we better than anybody? No. We are just sinners, saved by grace. -Jim MacIntosh

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