Personal equality is one thing and the equality of attributes is another.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant being made in human likeness…Philippians 2: 5-7
Thomas Jefferson penned the famous words “…all men are created equal…” included in the Declaration of Independence. This was a “new” idea in history, that men were equal as it related to personhood, and the dignity and sanctity of life. This statement announced that equality, in regard to the rights of individuals, demands an equal distribution of justice, giving each one his due.
However, “personal equality” is one thing and the “equality of attributes” is another. The second tablet of the Ten Commandments describes how we deal with the equalities and inequalities of life for these are governed by natural law. The distribution of gifts, abilities, strength, rank and interests are unequal as our Creator has a purpose and plan for each individual life.
Equality and inequality are conditions of life on earth. We are to value and honor all living human beings; we are to acknowledge and honor all gifts, power, positions, etc. to the glory of God.
Teach the Children:*
- It is our duty to treat “our neighbors” with respect and affection for their good. “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt 22:39 (ESV)
- Honor is an acknowledgement of that dignity or excellence in another person. Those who are set over us in position or rank should be respected. “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10 (ESV)
- Those who excel in gifts should readily use them for the benefit of others. “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.” Romans 1:14 (ESV)
*Ames, William, Marrow of Divinity, 1639, hand-typed, modernized, corrected, and annotated by William H. Gross, 2014, www.onthewing.org