Pastor’s Class Notes
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 2:11 “For there is no respect of persons with God.”
In other words, God is absolutely impartial in His judgments. There are many apparent inequities in the world today, but all these things will be harmonized and rectified by God.
H. G. Wells once looked out over the miseries of Europe at war and said, “Either God has the power and does not care, or God cares and does not have the power.” Not so! He does have the power and He does care. In all things God is good. He is absolutely fair and just. He always does right.
We do not have an adequate perspective from which we can glean sufficient understanding. It should be expected that the government of an infinite Being should present mysteries to finite minds. Therefore, we do not have the right to criticize.
I confess this world contains:
• Physical inequities: Some men can run the 100 yard dash in less than 10 seconds. Most of us cannot.
•Mental inequities: Some men have photographic memories and retain almost all they read. Most of us cannot.
• Moral inequities: My mother has never spoken a curse word. Most of us have.
• Environmental inequities: Bill Murray was raised by an atheistic mother. I am a sixth generation preacher.
•Geographical inequities: The child born in Bangladesh would love to share the plenty of America.
• Material inequities: There are Rockefellers and Kennedys, but there are also Marshalls.
Many inequities we do not understand, but in the midst of this seeming unfairness, there is one great equalizer: there are no spiritual inequities. When it comes to judgment, there is absolutely no partiality. God allows every man equal opportunity. This message examines three statements which are the epitome of equality:
I. ALL MEN ARE SINNERS INCAPABLE
OF SAVING THEMSELVES
(or of keeping themselves saved).
This, in a nutshell, is what we mean by the depravity of man. All men are sinners. From the first fatal act of disobedience, all men alike have been involved in the common transgression of men. We are sinners by nature, by choice, and by habit.
All are incapable of saving themselves, or of keeping themselves saved. Nothing in our nature can be approved by God. We have enough “good” in our hearts to satisfy our neighbors and to make us socially acceptable. Common grace allows us to be sociable. However, nothing in us has any ability to earn or maintain salvation.
God sees all men as equally incapable of saving themselves. For any man to get saved and stay saved, he must have outside help.
II. ALL MEN ARE EQUALLY OFFERED
THE FREE GIFT OF SALVATION.
Since it is impossible for men to earn salvation, God must either passively let them go to Hell or provide a salvation for them. Fortunately, He chose the latter option. Through a common revelation, given to all in a book which may be read and understood by all, we learn a common Savior has been provided for all.
Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the sin debt for all men. A man is saved once He appropriates this substitution. The universal condition of salvation is faith in Christ Jesus.
God’s impartiality is shown in the fact anyone can become a participator in His salvation. God knows only two categories of men: saved and lost. And everyone has equal opportunity to pass from the latter to the former.
Man’s role in salvation is to repent and receive. And everyone who wills to do so is permitted to do so. It is strictly a matter of choice, and each man has to decide.
God must offer salvation to all. He must offer it as a free gift without respect to persons. It is the only way God could be fair. Pure justice required a way be made equally accessible to all.
It would be unjust for God to base salvation on intellectual ability, material accumulation, or moral attainment. Under such a system some would be terribly disadvantaged.
God offers salvation equally to the thief on the cross and to the Pharisee, to the rich young ruler and to the woman taken in adultery. Heaven is offered to the high and low. That makes everyone equal:
the highbrow and the lowbrow,
the proper and the prostitute,
the powerful and the powerless,
the noble and the nobody,
the glamorous and the gawky.
III. ALL MEN DETERMINE IN THIS
LIFETIME THEIR EVERLASTING DESTINY.
There will be no second chance, no purgatory, no reincarnation. Once a man leaves this life, his everlasting destiny is frozen and cannot be changed.
All the saved will receive Heaven forever and ever. All the lost will receive Hell forever and ever. You will spend eternity in Hell or Heaven, determined by what you did in this lifetime with Jesus.
God’s determinations will take no thought of those things highly valued by men, such as kindred, nationality, nobility, wealth, race, morality. If you reject Jesus, there is no chance of getting around God’s justice. You will have no way to bring pressure to bear on the Lord. Letters of recommendation and words of sorrow and remembrances of morality will not suffice. Your only hope is to settle with Jesus before you die.
The Greek goddess, Justice, was blindfolded so that she could not see the person on trial. She carried a set of scales so that justice could be rendered with absolute balance and equity. She also carried a sword which had no scabbard and which struck all the guilty alike.
Even so God will judge fairly, and the guilty will be struck alike. The test will be simple: Did you receive or reject Jesus?
William Penn attended the Quaker meeting house at Horsham, near Philadelphia. The building is still standing, and across the road from this old edifice is a large and well-kept cemetery containing hundreds of graves. Buried there are masters and servants, parents and children, rich and poor, yet all the grave markers are exactly alike. Each grave is covered by a simple rounded headstone which rises about a foot above the ground. The old Quakers had captured a great truth: whatever the inequities of life, all are equal in death.
We carry no “pomp and circumstance” with us. Accomplishments and nobility are left behind. In death we are sinners. The very fact we die proves this point. We die because of sin. Our only hope is Jesus.