God Does Not Show Favoritism - The Warrior's Journey®

God Does Not Show Favoritism

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.’” (Acts 10:34-35) 

This chapter of Acts records one of the most significant events in the history of the church. Here God orchestrates a pivotal meeting between the foremost of the apostles, Peter, and a God-fearing Roman soldier, Cornelius. An angel appears to Cornelius and instructs him to send for Peter that he might hear a message from God. On Peter’s end, God gives him a vision in which he is told to never consider anyone created by God as unholy or unclean – and to accompany Cornelius’ messengers.   

But there’s a problem. According to Pharisaical Judaism, entering the house of a Gentile (a non-Jew) will make him ceremonially unclean – something he has carefully avoided all his life. Anticipating objections from his fellow Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, Peter takes some Jewish believers along with him. He did this so that they could bear witness to the outcome of his visit with the Roman soldier. It was a wise precaution. For there at Cornelius’ house, as Peter was preaching, the Spirit of God came upon the Gentiles when they put their faith in Jesus. It was like the Day of Pentecost all over again (Acts 2:1-4). 

Why was this event so significant? Here’s why. Before Peter or any other Jewish believer could first make these Gentiles converts to Judaism, baptize them in Jesus’ name, or even lay their hands upon them – God responded to their faith by saving them and given them His Holy Spirit. Many years later Peter would look back on this moment as God’s proof that only faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation (Acts 15:7-11).   

Up to this time the Jewish believers looked upon Israel as God’s favorite – as the only people in whom God had any interest. But through this miraculous event, Peter came to realize that God has no favorites (Acts 10:34-35). God is interested in saving all of humanity. It’s true that Israel was God’s elect – a kingdom of priests and His special possession (Exodus 19:5-6). But Israel had forgotten that their role as God’s elect was also to be a witness to the nations around them (Deuteronomy 4:6-8). Even from the beginning, God had told Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that through them every family of the earth (not just Israel) would be blessed (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14). The entire story of Jonah (Jonah 1-4) bears the message of God’s interest in saving humanity – even if they are enemies of Israel (as Nineveh was Israel’s enemy).  


  • Aren’t Christians also referred to as God’s elect (Romans 11:7; 2 Timothy 2:10)? 
  • Does this mean we are God’s favorites, or that we are His witnesses to others? 
  • Let’s not repeat Israel’s mistake. As God’s elect, let’s be a witness to the lost and channel of God’s blessings – rather than a sponge that only soaks them up. 

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