It is indeed wrong to show partiality or favoritism, which means you “give preference to one person or class of persons over another person or class of persons.” We often call this being “prejudiced” or “biased” and this is often based on things like race, one’s social or financial position, or political ideology. The Bible is crystal-clear that God condemns this, for Romans 2:11 states emphatically that, “There is no partiality with God” (NKJV).

We have a classic example of partiality in James 2:1-4, “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with PARTIALITY. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts.” To prefer a “rich man” over a “poor man” is a clear case of favoritism and yet sadly it is done all the time.

When a Christian shows partiality it is especially grievous, for every believer is on “equal footing” in the body of Christ. Galatians 3:28 declares, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free, there is neither male nor female; for you are ALL ONE in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 3:11 echoes this truth, “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” In God’s eyes ALL DISTINCTIONS have been removed, for in these verses we see that all national, religious, cultural, social and economic distinctions are gone for those who are “in Christ Jesus.” When believers come together, as we saw in James 2, they should look upon one another simply as “brethren in Christ.” If we are able to look at each other in that way, we will NOT show favoritism. Let’s remember that the moment we trusted Christ as our Savior we were made a new creation, as we see in 2nd Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” By virtue of this “new creation” we are all CREATED EQUAL! If we truly believe this and apply it in our lives, we will NOT show favoritism.

Before we close, it should be said that although we should never favor one person over another, we do need to show respect to one who is in a POSITION OF AUTHORITY OVER US. A good example of this is found in Ephesians 6:5, “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ.” The practical application of this verse today would be an EMPLOYEE showing respect to his EMPLOYER. When we do this, we are really showing respect to God Who gave him this authority over us. That’s why the apostle Paul ended this admonition with the words, “as to Christ.”

Paul has a word of instruction for those in authority too, for he goes on to say in verse 9, “And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is NO PARTIALITY with Him.” Using our example above, EMPLOYERS are to also treat their EMPLOYEES in fairness, for he too is a “servant to his Master.” And it is significant that they are reminded that “there is no partiality with Him.” Regardless of one’s rank in life, the Lord Jesus shows no favoritism and as Christians we are to please the Lord in this same way. (276.9) (DO)