Essential Baptist Principles™
As taught in the Holy Scriptures
|Volume 6 Current Article||March 1, 2007||Issue 3|
Respecter of Persons
From the editorial writings of Elder C. H. Cayce, July 4, 1940
Brother Pleasant Brown, of Bloomington, Indiana, requested us in March 1939, to write some in regard to the matter of God being no respecter of persons. Peters language, recorded in Acts 10:34-35, is often quoted by the Arminian world to prove that one must fear God and do righteous works in order that God save him. Peter said: "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him." This was said by the apostle at the house of Cornelius. Cornelius, who was a Gentle, was described "as a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always." Acts 10:2. This was before the apostle went to this house. The world translated devout in this text is translated godly in 2 Peter 2:9, which says, "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations." Cornelius was a godly man before the preacher got there. As he was a godly man, he was a child of God.
Before the apostle went to the house of Cornelius he was shown in a vision that God had a people among the Gentiles. Three days before Peter got to Cornelius he saw this vision. See verses 9-20. In that vision a voice from heaven said to him the third time, "What God hath cleansed - not what God will cleanse after, or when, you go there and preach to them. When Peter got to Cornelius, and heard what Cornelius had to say about what had occurred with him four days before, and how that he had sent for him, as the angel had instructed, then Peter used the language quoted above, as recorded in verses 34 and 35. "Of a truth I perceive." This expresses the thought that he can now see plainly the truthfulness of what was shown him in the vision. It is a clear manifestation of the truth of what he had heard said in the vision - "What God hath cleansed." It was thus taught him that God had a people among the Gentiles, and the teaching confirmed by that he was here brought in contact with. "God is a no respecter of persons: but in every nation", etc. People are accepted with the Lord among the Gentiles, as well as among the Jews. This Gentile, being a godly man, who feared God, and the works, which he did, and his praying to God, all proved that he was accepted with God. Nationality makes no difference in this matter. Peter, as well as other Jews, thought none of God's people were to be found among the Gentiles that God had no people only among the Jews. He is here shown and convinced that what he and other Jews had thought was wrong.
If the Arminian position is right, then God is a respecter of persons. Their view in regard to the matter of being saved is that Cornelius had to hear the preacher preach, and believe and then obey that preaching in order that he become a child of God, or in order that God save him. If that position is true, then God would respect and save Cornelius for that he had done, and he would be a respecter of persons. But as God is no respecter of persons, the Arminian doctrine is wrong. God does not save sinners, or give them eternal life, as a result of that they do, or in consequence of what they do. He does not save them on certain stipulated conditions performed by them.
There is sense in which God does respect persons. Let us notice the first offerings made unto the Lord. See Genesis 5:2-5.
"And Abel was a keeper of sheep. But Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. 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: but Cain and to his offering He had not respect."
Cain made an offering of the fruit of the ground, the labors of his own hands, his own works; but the Lord had not respect unto Cain and his offering. God did not accept such an offering. When a man offers his own works to day as a ground of acceptance with the Lord, the Lord does not accept it. Abel offered the firstlings of his flock. Blood was shed in the offering which Abel made. This was a type of the offering made by the Son of God on Calvarys cross. God accepted Abel's offering He had respect unto Abel and to his offering. Abel did not become righteous by making his offering. He did not become a child of God by making his offering, but he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts." Hebrew 11:4. Abel had the faith before he made the offering. Faith is a fruit of the Spirit. Hence, he was in possession of the Spirit, and was already a child of God before the offering was made. God accepted the offering, and thereby Abel obtained witness that he was a child of God. May the Lord bless these thoughts to the good of our readers. C. H. C.