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Fulton County Gospel News

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We Must All Appear

By Barry O'Dell

Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).  John recorded, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).  Paul wrote to Titus, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11).

It seems that mankind today often focuses on different groups of humans.  In the United States of America this mindset is rampant among many.  We have European-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Asian-Americans, etc., etc.  DNA tests are available today that can supposedly trace your ancestry “1,000+ years into history” or, if you buy into the propaganda of evolution, to “discover how much Neanderthal DNA you inherited!”  The student of the Bible knows that this mindset of segregating humans into sub-groups is nothing new.  For example, the Pharisees wanted to cling to their physical relation to Abraham.  God’s prophet told them, “And think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father:’ for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matt. 3:9).  John the Baptizer’s message to those Jews was that their lineage did not matter in God’s eyes, but their repentance did because judgment was coming (Matt. 3:7-12).  The apostles of Jesus themselves even struggled with this issue when they saw Jesus speaking with a Samaritan woman (Jn. 4:27).  There were issues in the early church between Jews and Gentiles (Acts 15; Rom. 9-11) and, sadly, there are still problems that can arise today.

There are several verses in God’s word that can help understand us that, in God’s eyes, all men are equal and accountable to Him.  Moses wrote, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them” (Gen. 1:27).  Peter told Cornelius and his household, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him” (Acts 10:34-35).  Paul said that God, “…hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26).  In rebuking Christians for showing favoritism James wrote, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (Jas. 2:9).  The phrase “ye commit sin” is a present tense, active voice verb.  James told his readers, and tells us today, that if we favor one group of people above another “ye are living in sin!” 

What is the solution to these problems?  How can Christians avoid and denounce favoritism and racism?  Simply put – we must look at this world and everything in it from God’s perspective.  When people fail to keep God in their knowledge, terrible things happen.  Paul wrote, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (fitting)” (Rom. 1:28).  However, when an individual knows the God of the Bible and His will that is revealed therein, there is no room in their heart for such evil, hateful attitudes.  Paul told the Galatians, “…God accepteth no man’s person…” (Gal. 2:6) and the Romans, “For there is no respect of persons with God” (Rom. 2:11). 

All men have an eternal soul that will be somewhere forever.  Jesus spoke of the resurrection of both those who have done good and those who have done evil (Jn. 5:28-29).  As noted in the opening paragraph, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10).  The gospel does not apply to only a few people or ethnicities, it applies to all men.  God has commanded all mankind to repent (Acts 17:30) because He is going to judge all mankind by Jesus Christ (Acts 17:31).  Jesus did not die on the cross to offer salvation to just a segment of the world, but to all the world.  His mission on earth the first time was not, “…to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (Jn. 3:17).  His mission when He appears on the last day will be to judge humanity and the faithful will “meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 The. 4:13-18).
 

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