On July 4, 1776, the 13 American colonies declared independence from Great Britain. Their formal declaration included this familiar affirmation: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Did Thomas Jefferson and the other authors of this document think that everyone was born with the same intellect, health, strength, natural gifts, and economic circumstances? No.
But all individuals have the same innate value before God. One child is born with a silver spoon in his mouth; another comes into the world sucking on a plastic spoon. The government must not discriminate between these two children as they grow and become adults. Every citizen deserves to be treated justly, to have the rights of life, freedom, and the opportunity to pursue his dreams without cumbersome government interference or oppression.
This is a biblical principle of government, as the Founding Fathers well knew. Speaking of justice in court, for instance, Moses says, “You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit” (Exod. 23:2-3). It’s wrong to favor a popular person in his legal case just because he has money and influence. And it’s wrong to favor a poor person in his legal complaint just because his circumstances evoke pity. The courtroom is no place for partiality and prejudice. God created all men equal.
No surprise, God practices what he preaches. There is perfect equality in his own judgment. Is the dishonesty of a successful businessman less offensive to the Lord than the lies of a man on welfare? Is the selfishness of an attractive woman more pleasing to God than the self-centeredness of a plain woman? No. Sin is sin.
All people are created equal. We all sin. We all fall short of God’s glory. And we all need his grace.