16 “Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. 17 You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.’” (Deuteronomy 1:16–17, NKJV)
We are reminded of the importance of impartial, unbiased judges as we watch this week’s confirmation hearing of the most recent judge nominated to sit on the U. S. Supreme Court. Judges who bring an agenda to interpreting and applying the law to cases are biased, unjust, and undermine the rule of law. “Equal justice under law” (engraved above the entrance to the United States Supreme Court) is a principle we strive for as a nation, but it is not a new concept. Moses commanded it of Israel under the governance of the Sinaitic Law. Gospel salvation under the new covenant of Christ is equally available to all “without respect of persons” (Acts 10:34-35). God is impartial, applying His word of truth without bias to rich and poor, slave and free, male and female, Jew and Gentile (Rom. 2:1-11). God commands all of us to repent because He has appointed a righteous, impartial Judge before whom we will stand and be judged (Acts 17:30-31; 2 Cor. 5:10). Let us discard our agendas for the only one that matters; the word of Christ. He saves and He judges without prejudice and partiality (Jno. 12:48-50).
9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:9–11, NKJV)
The Christian is described as a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Conversion to Christ includes a deliberate decision of faith to put away the sins that defined the old person of sin with its deeds and to put on the new person who is in the image of Christ (Col. 3:9-10). Notably, being a new person in Christ is defined by a new way of life, one that ceases the practice of sin and practices righteousness (Col. 3:1-9, 12-17). Being a new person in Christ is not defined by culture (neither Greek nor Jew), previous religious traditions (circumcised nor uncircumcised), ethnicity and race (barbarian, Scythian), or social strata (slave nor free). All of these are in Christ, and yet Christ is not limited by any such things. The gospel is for all the world because all have sinned (Mk. 16:15; Rom. 1:16; 3:23). It is very wrong to look through the lens of race, ethnicity, social strata, human traditions, or any other humanly devised label to identify those who belong to Christ. Scripture says, “for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Christians ought to act like it and never be driven by prejudices of the heart.
18 You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the Lord your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment. 19 You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. 20 You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 16:18–20)
Our elected representatives are presently considering a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. A righteous nation seeks to appoint judges who will judge among the people with “just judgment” (v. 18). Such justice requires impartiality – a judge who will not be bribed or swayed by the outward circumstances of either the plaintiff (seeking judicial relief) or the defendant. Poverty and wealth hold no preferential sway over the righteous judge. If it does, then injustice will prevail. Israel was told, “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor” (Lev. 19:15). Impartiality is required if justice under the law is to prevail. The judgments of God’s law are “true and righteous altogether” (Psa. 19:9). Therefore, let us use them to “judge with righteous judgment,” without the bias of circumstance or the prejudice by emotion (Jno. 7:24).
26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, (Acts 17:26, NKJV)
The true God does not evaluate human beings on the basis of race or ethnic origin. Nor should we. We are all of “one blood”, descended from Adam and Eve, but created by God (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7). The origin of nations was by the hand of God, as He confused men’s languages to scatter them upon the face of the earth (Gen. 11:9). The governance of the nations is overruled by a Sovereign God, who executes His will upon the earth. While nations rise in power, extend their rule, and then decline into the ash heap of history, it is the Most High God who “rules in the kingdoms of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4:32). There is no legitimate place in this world for bias that grows out of the arrogance of supposing one race or ethnicity has superiority over others. In Christ, every vestige of such bias is eliminated: “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free; but Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:11).
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4–8a, NKJV)
We oppose bias and prejudice, just as God does (Acts 10:34-35; Jas. 2:1-13). But, a recent Ad Council campaign against bias entitled “Love Has No Labels” promotes inclusion and diversity without reservation or Scriptural consideration of sin. Some of the campaign’s applications are morally benign (such as race, age and disability). Others are not. Their video includes LGBT conduct and world religions along with sinless items as requiring love without labels. In truth, this campaign should have been named, “Love Has No Boundaries,” for it does not respect the restrictions love demands. In today’s classic passage on love, please see how often Christ’s apostle uses “not” and “no” to explain love. God’s word labels the traits of love, all of which demand distinction and separation from that which is “not” love. Dear reader, not everything people call love is love according to God’s definition. For instance, love does not “rejoice in iniquity” but “in the truth” (v. 6). Yet, the “Love Has No Labels” campaign violates this as it praises immorality and religious error. Be discerning before labeling everything love, or you may falsely identify sin as love, while failing to see (or even condemning) the genuine article.