Today’s devotional comes from the Rev. John Zahl:

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile… the same Lord is Lord of all… (Romans 10:12, NIV)

In this passage, the Apostle Paul denies the legitimacy of a particular strain of categorization. He suggests that “there is no difference between Jew and Gentile.” He wants to get rid of something that runs rampant in each and every society, and in so doing, achieves something incredibly rare. What does he want to get rid of, and what does he hope to accomplish?

“Jew and Gentile” are racial and religious distinctions. Paul assumes that his audience is used to being grouped into one of these two categories. Either they are born Jewish, or they are not, making them “Gentile.” Today, the majority of the world’s Christians are “Gentile,” so it may not seem like a radical suggestion. But it was, and it still is. Paul is completely unconvinced by racial distinctions. They are, to him, unpersuasive and tertiary. They deal with things that are only skin deep. To his way of thinking, outside differences hold no merit. The human nature beneath the surface of every racial category is the same. All people, no matter where they are from, need God’s love.

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He elaborates upon this same idea in Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul is not content only to dismiss racial distinctions. He is also unconvinced about distinctions that have to do with prestige and occupation: “There is neither…slave nor free.” Are you an investment banker? Are you unemployed? In God’s eyes they are the same; both need God’s love.

There is a saying on the East Coast of the United States: “The difference between the North and the South is that in the North, the first question a person asks you is, ‘What do you do for a living?,” while in the South, the first question asked is, ‘Where are you from?’” You see, even after 2000 years, people are still very much hung up on this type of differentiation. What do you do? Where are you from? Who do you know? What do you have? How do you look? What is your gender?

In God’s eyes, these characteristics do not hold merit. They do not interest God. This comes as good news to those who feel, in some sense, that they do not “make the grade.” But this also comes as bad news to those of us who relish certain achievements and qualifications about ourselves. In each instance, and no matter where we fall on the spectrum of pedigree and accomplishment, we separate ourselves from our fellows. People are either “in” or they are “out.” It is so unhelpful.

And so, in getting rid of these concerns, we begin to see a picture of life that unifies. There are no distinctions. But there is equality. We all stand before God in weakness and need. And if you don’t mind the stigma that comes with being adopted, you will see that His love for you has given you foolproof standing, total justification, and an end to the games and putting stock in them. Thank God for this alternative, unifying perspective.