In God’s Kingdom there will be no discrimination based on race, gender, culture, social status or anything else. We will be judged solely on our obedience to Him in this life.
There are some startling comments made in the Holy Scriptures. Few as startling as one stating that says there will be no genetic or gender criteria separating those who qualify to be in the resurrection, not for male or female and not between Jew or Gentile (Galatians 3:28). That has some powerful meaning for eternity. In this world and in the Millennium to come, God clearly shows His special concern for the Israelites. The Bible is filled with caring comments about how God will rescue them and work with them. Of course, as many as 50% of the Israelites were women, so that whole group is special to God and not only the males. However, Paul clearly foresaw another time in the future when being a descendant of Abraham would no longer be a consideration. What will have changed? What is the importance of that stated change and how does that blend in with the concept that being male or female will also lose its importance? These are strong spiritual values that we need to consider and think about.
Jesus was asked a question by the Sadducees who did not believe in a resurrection from the dead. They posed a question of a woman who had had seven husbands and asked whose wife she would be in the resurrection (Matthew 22:28-32). Jesus states that those in the resurrection are like the angels – and are not given in marriage. In Galatians 3:26-29 Paul also looked forward to the distant future and used the example of equality before God even while we are “in the flesh,” to show that equality would be certain once we are spiritual. Paul understood God’s great sense of justice and love. He wrote that there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11). Paul continued to explain that all who repent and turn to God are considered “Jews” in God’s sight (Romans 2:28-29). Paul also stated in Romans 3:23 that all had sinned and in Romans 3:29 that God was the God of the Jews and the Gentiles.
True and lasting equality
In this life we often hear of anti-Semitism and our history books have much to say about the persecution of those who are “different” to us. Non-Jews strike out against the Jews and Jews try to defend themselves. In a similar vein we see the many times when women are not treated with the same respect and honor that the males demand for themselves. Women have long felt the lack of appreciation and being treated with equality within our societies. We would be wrong to claim that all women are equal to all men in all things – just as we would be wrong in stating that all women are equal to each other. There are tall and there are short. There are lean and less lean. There are more intelligent and gifted and less intelligent and gifted. That is obvious among men as well as women. It is when we consider ourselves as standing before God that we realize that all of us need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ because we have all sinned. In that way we are all equal and we all need the help of God. Having said that, though, it is also apparent that even among ourselves there are the more zealous of God’s way and the less zealous. There are some who are not using the Holy Spirit as they should. That must be true or Paul would never have felt the need to admonish Timothy to “stir up the gift of God” (the Holy Spirit) (2 Timothy 1:6).
In 1 Corinthians 15:41-42 Paul writes about the different “glories” with which people will be resurrected. Some will be greater because they have been more zealous and more perfect in following Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that the Son will always be subject to the Father (I Corinthians 15:28). We too will always be subject to the Son and to the Father. In some instances we will be subject to one another. However, there will be no barriers such as male and female, Jew or Greek, cultural or racial differences, that will play a role in the place we hold as children of God. There will be no jealousy and dissatisfaction. The only factor will be how well we have pleased God and walked in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Thus anyone who is not an Israelite, but who is closer to God than other Israelites, will be accepted into a higher position of responsibility. God is fair and just. There will be cases where the wives of men who are also in the resurrection will be given a more glorious body and greater responsibility. They will no longer be husband and wife. Race, culture, intelligence or eye color will not play a role in where we fit into God’s future. The only factor will be the degree of our obedience and humility before Him.
No room for pride
We ought to know these facts from the history that is indicated in the scriptures. Noah was not an Israelite and in all likelihood Job was not an Israelite. Yet, they are highly favored by God and will obtain a position higher than most in the resurrection. Hebrews 11 gives a list of people who are highly favored by God – but some were not Israelites. Those listed are Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Rahab. The term Israelite did not exist until the descendants of Jacob appeared.
Like the Jews of Jesus’ day and people of certain races or nationalities today, we see ourselves slipping into a “holier-than-thou” attitude (Isaiah 65:5). There has been an ongoing struggle among many people to be the ones who are closest to God and chosen by Him. Prejudice and bias creep in without us noticing - and suddenly a problem appears. God does make it clear that He designed people to be different. He wants different races, cultures and nations. Removing prejudice does not mean “blending.” But to think that we are more favored by God just because of our skin color, DNA makeup or intelligence is a sure recipe for failure. Peter tells us that God resists the proud (I Peter 5:5). Peter also learned that God showed no partiality and all who were righteous were accepted (Acts 10:35-36).
We can see from the interaction between God and some of the women of the Bible that He placed a great value on righteous women. The prayers of Hannah (I Samuel 1:11-12) and the righteousness and goodness of Elisabeth and Mary (Luke 1:6, Luke 1:28-38) reveal the favor women also found with God. God has chosen to use men in the ministry of the church, but part of the qualifications for the married ministry is to have a worthy wife. In the body of Christ that exists today we are commanded to maintain a high sense of value and respect towards any and all converted people. There is no line of distinction between male and female, Jew or Greek in the area of respect and value. That does not mean we have no differences or that all could or should be ministers within the body. It does tell us that God values each person, and evaluates them on their own merit. God assigns certain tasks to us and the way in which we obey is what counts. Christ gives the various talents (Matthew 25:15). It is what we do with the responsibility and position that God gives us that pleases Him.
Now is the time to put the knowledge God has given into practice. Now is the time to develop a fervent love for the brethren (I Peter 4:8). We are to recognize the various offices, but not think less of those who have what seem to be lesser responsibilities. Our physical accomplishments will fade and vanish in time, but our spiritual development will remain forever for men and women, Jew or Gentile. We are all to take on the nature and character of God. We are all children of God for whom Jesus had to die and for whose sake He now lives as the High Priest before God the Father (Hebrews 4:14-15).
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