Since the House of Israel was given the first opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, there were many Israelites in those early days who thought it was only for them or that they were somehow special to God or even privileged because of the family they belonged to. After all, they were the “covenant people”! Nephi sought to squash this notion in 2 Nephi 30, describing who the real covenant people are:
“For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 30:2)
This had to be quite an eye opener, that the only factor that mattered was belief on the Lord Jesus Christ and that those who believed — regardless of heritage — would be part of the family of God and those who did not believe — again, regardless of heritage — would be on the outside.
The original Apostles had to learn the same lesson. Peter eventually did when God sent him to the home of Cornelius, a Gentile, and the Holy Ghost fell on everyone in the house. This was when Peter uttered the famous quote, “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” (Acts 10:34-35).
What does the message “God is no respecter of persons” mean to us today? After all, we all understand that the gospel is for the Gentiles as well as the Jews, right? Well, just as Nephi’s quote above has both a message regarding the Gentiles and a message regarding the Jews, there are two messages for us today as well:
- The Gospel is for everyone: As covered in an earlier article, the gospel is not reserved for just people like me or for just my family members or friends. It’s available to every member of the human race.
- My salvation is based solely on my relationship with Christ: God is not going to save me because of my family name. He’s not going to save me because of my position in the church. He’s not even going to save me because He loves me. He’s going to save me because Jesus Christ gave His life for me, and, on the day of my baptism, I repented of my sins and allowed the blood of Christ to purchase my salvation.
Although it may sound harsh to say that God doesn’t respect us, what the statement really means is that we get no special privileges because of who we are on earth. Respect typically elevates one person over another, and God does not do that. He loves us each the same, and we each have the same opportunity — and must follow the same process — for salvation.
If salvation worked the way the early Jews thought it did, then we who are Gentiles would have no opportunity for salvation. Thankfully for us, God is no respecter of persons.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.