By Tim Sullivan


The great passion in the life of the apostle Paul was to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to make known the truth regarding salvation.

Romans 1:15-16:
So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Before a man can ever be convinced that Jesus Christ IS the Savior, he must first be convicted in his heart of his NEED for salvation. Paul understood this, and so, according to the revelation given him by God, he set forth not only Christ the Savior, but also the desperate condition of the unsaved man. In order to expose man for what he truly is, Paul stripped away all of man’s costumes, all his garments of self-righteousness, and made him stand naked before the mirror in the light of God.

Romans 2:11:
For there is no respect of persons with God.

God is not a respecter of persons. This truth he made known to his prophet Samuel when he was considering which of Jesse’s sons would inherit the throne of king Saul.

1 Samuel 16:7:
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

God is never fooled by man’s outward appearance, by his performances.

Matthew 6:5:
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

God sees what is going on inside man’s heart.

Ezekiel 33:31:
And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

Mark 7:6:
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Before you and I can get anywhere in our walk with God, we must realize that God is not interested in our performances. God is not impressed by you or me. He wants our hearts to be right with him.

The story of Abel and Cain teaches us what God does respect.

Genesis 4:1-5:
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.
2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Abel’s sacrifice showed his faith in the promised Savior, and his recognition that he was in need of salvation. Cain’s offering showed his complete disregard for such things. God had respect unto Abel and his offering because Abel showed respect unto God. Abel demonstrated his desire to walk in the statutes and commandments of God.

Leviticus 26:3-12:
If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.

Some people try to persuade God to answer their prayers by offering him deals and promises. But God is not moved by gifts or bribes.

2 Chronicles 19:7:
Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.

Neither is God moved by our religious acts.

Isaiah 17:8:
And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.

God has respect toward the lowly in heart.

Psalm 138:6:
Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

This is what he demands of us as well.

Deuteronomy 16:19:
Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

James 2:1-9:
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

Man-made philosophies and religions have for their premise the “innate goodness” of mankind. They suppose that the way of holiness is to “fan the flame” of human kindness, love and understanding. This is the way of Cain, to deny man’s sinful state and to reject the salvation offered by Christ. If we are ever going to further the Gospel, we must see people as God sees them. ALL men are sinners. There is NO respect of persons with God. ALL men need Christ. There is NO OTHER WAY to eternal life. And YOU are the one who has the privilege of telling them about him!



From the March 2000 issue of The Vine & Branches