Does God have favorites?

God is not a God who chooses favorites based on His whims or even based on our good actions. He loves every human being, and we are all created in His image (John 3:16; Lamentations 3:22–23; Genesis 1:26–27). Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ are children of God (John 1:12). If God shows favor to someone it is because His judgment is always perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 7:11; Romans 9:14–16). To be clear, "favoritism" is generally defined as giving preferential or unfair treatment to one group at the expense of another. However, "favor" is approval of something or an act of kindness beyond what is due.

The Bible is clear that God does not exhibit favoritism. Romans 2:6–11 says, "He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality." However, God does demonstrate favor. His favor is most evident through His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. God's grace is completely unmerited, yet He extends it to all who will trust in Him. God also demonstrates favor in other ways.

Jesus walked in God's favor and was referred to by God as "My Chosen One" throughout Scripture (e.g., Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 3:17; Luke 9:35). That same title also refers to Israel in multiple Scriptures (Isaiah 45:4; 65:9; 1 Kings 11:13). Kings and prophets were chosen by God for reasons known to Him alone (Exodus 33:17; Daniel 10:11; 1 Samuel 2:26). While David had multiple sons, God is the one who chose Solomon to become king after David (1 Chronicles 28:5–6). Solomon had favor in God's eyes, and the Lord granted him wisdom which brought him great riches and popularity (1 Kings 5:12). God also granted special favor to certain people for specific callings (Exodus 31:1–6). God clearly grants people with His favor throughout the Bible. But, again, God's favor is not the same as human favoritism.

Human favoritism usually includes better treatment, decreased responsibility, and a higher social standing. This is the world's definition of favoritism. However, having God's favor does not result in an easy life. Often it includes increased work and even difficulties; it requires great responsibility to walk out the callings that come with God's favor. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was greeted by the angel Gabriel in this way: "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" (Luke 1:28). We don't know why Mary was chosen as favored by the Lord, but as a result of it, she endured much hardship as the mother of the Messiah (Luke 2:34–35). Even so, God equipped her for it. While God's favor does not mean an easy life, we know that in Jesus Christ "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence" (2 Peter 1:3).

It could be said that God's favorites are His children. We have favor to approach God through our faith in Jesus Christ whose blood cleanses us of our sins and makes us righteous (Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21). God covers us with His favor. Psalm 5:12 provides a beautiful picture of this: "For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield." As we grow in our Christian faith and live lives pleasing to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8). When we seek Him we find Him (Jeremiah 29:13; Hebrews 11:6; Matthew 7:7–11). He gives us spiritual gifts for the benefit of others and His kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:5–7; 1 Peter 4:10). All of these factors show God's favor toward us. Even when we experience conviction and correction from the Lord, this demonstrates His favor toward us: "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives" (Hebrews 12:5–6).

Everyone who belongs to Christ has God's favor because we have been granted the right to become His children through the sacrifice of Jesus (John 1:12). God's favor will be with us as we continue to honor Jesus. How that favor looks may differ from person to person—we may experience increased blessing, responsibility, or hardship for the cause of Christ (Acts 5:41). We have this promise: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). As God's children, we know that He will give us His shield of favor and walk with us all the way into eternity (Matthew 28:20; Revelation 22:12).

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