Chapter Twelve

Beautiful In the Eyes of God

Define the words "beautiful" and "ugly." What qualities distinguish "beautiful" from "ugly"? Distinguishing between beauty and ugliness is difficult. While anyone can find the two for himself, few can define successfully what is beautiful and ugly to everyone else.

Definitions of beauty and ugliness are highly individualistic. What is beautiful to one person is often ugly to another, and vice versa. If something is regarded as beautiful by a person, it must fulfill his definition and concept of beauty. Regardless of other's opinions, it is ugly if it does not fit his concept of beauty.

The fact that beauty is an individual concept is understood clearly by all. However, many have not understood that God's concept of beauty also is His own. No person defines for God His concept of beauty. If a person is beautiful to God, he fits God's concept of beauty.

God's Definition
God does not define beauty by using the criteria people commonly use. God never uses physical, outward appearance to determine beauty. When the prophet Samuel examined Jesse's sons in search of the next king of Israel, he was much impressed with Eliab's appearance. God declared to Samuel, "Look not at his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for God seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7). Nothing in a person's outward appearance impresses God. God looks upon the inner beauty of the heart.

God never uses the origin or culture of a person as a criteria of beauty. People of one culture seldom see beauty in people of another distinctively different culture. People of Oriental cultures rarely described "round-eyed" Caucasians as beautiful. People of African cultures would not consider the American Indian or Eskimo as beautiful. Cultural preferences and prejudices strongly influence definitions of beauty.

The Jewish people of the New Testament illustrate this fact. Their descent from Abraham was a source of great pride. They had little appreciation for other peoples, and they had no appreciation for the Samaritans. Under no circumstances would a Samaritan be beautiful to a Jew. Samaritans were dogs unfit for Jewish association.

This cultural prejudice blinded the Apostles to Jesus' desire to preach the gospel to all peoples. Only a divine revelation could convince Peter to enter a Gentile's house and preach the gospel to him (Acts 10). It took an angel to get Peter the Jew and Cornelius the Gentile together. Only a divine sign convinced the Jewish witnesses that Gentiles unquestionably had the right to be baptized. When Peter said, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respector of persons..." (Acts 10:34), he was saying, "At last, I understand." Peter realized that God and Christ were unconcerned about a person's origin or culture. God gladly accepted any person who reverenced Him and worked righteousness.

God's concept of beauty is distinctively different because it ignores cultural preferences and prejudices. Reverence and righteous living determine spiritual beauty. A righteous Oriental, Hispanic, Black, Indian, or Caucasian are of equal beauty to God.

God never determines beauty by social rank or life circumstances. Human opinions are strongly influenced by a person's living address, occupation, and social role. When a person speaks of having met some "beautiful people," rarely will those people be persons who are struggling to survive, persons who make their living by menial jobs, or persons who come from "backward" areas.

In contrast, God never notices those things when He considers beauty in people. Paul wrote,

For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28).

All who have faith and are in Christ Jesus are God's children. All who have been baptized into Christ are in Christ. Regardless of social rank or life circumstances, everyone enters Christ precisely in the same manner -- by baptism. The slave and the aristocrat, the rich and the poor, and all of every race enter Jesus in the same manner. Each by the same means becomes a child of God of equal value to God. There are no chosen people -- no privileged Jews and inferior Gentiles; no privileged Americans and inferior foreigners; no slave and free citizen; no primitive third world people and sophisticated Americans; no privileged male and inferior female. God will as readily see beauty in a slave as in an aristocrat, in a woman as in a man.

Beauty To God
What is beautiful in God's eyes? Noting the qualities God has cherished in the lives of other people is one way to determine Gods' concept of beauty. Noah's implicit trust in God led him to construct a mammoth boat miles from water. Abraham trusted God's promise so implicitly that he would have sacrificed his son of promise without hesitation. Moses yielded total control of his life to God and became the man of meekness. David committed his whole being to doing the will of God. No consequence or shameful treatment could keep Daniel from reverencing his God. People like Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy were ruled by God in every consideration and decision. They were totally preoccupied with Jesus' will as they shared the gospel with all. In all these qualities God saw great beauty.

While all these people were beautiful to God, virtually nothing is known about their physical appearance. It was not their physique or stateliness but their faith and service that made them beautiful to God. The same was true of God's beautiful women: Rahab, Hannah, Ruth, Deborah, and Mary Magdalene. Those noted for physical beauty were often great spiritual disappointments. Physically beautiful Sarah did not have the faith of Abraham. Saul was handsome, but he was not the godly king God wanted.

The qualities God wants in His people further reveal His concept of beauty. The beatitudes reveal some of God's standards of beauty. An awareness of one's spiritual poverty, sorrow for wickedness, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, being merciful, having purity of heart, and being a peacemaker are all qualities of beauty. The epistles also stress attributes valued by God: keeping a living faith while enduring physical hardships, controlling the tongue, enduring personal harm to protect the church's influence, making sacrifices for the good of others, and living by Christian convictions in the face of ridicule. All these are beautiful to God.

What is ugly to God? There is an ugly in God's sight. Do Judas, Ananias, and Sapphira produce a feeling of beauty or ugliness? Many in every age have been ugly in God's sight. Arrogance, deceit, sacrificing the innocent, scheming for wicked purposes, running to trouble, perjury, and creating division are ugly to God (Proverbs 6:16-19). Other ugly people include those who live for pleasure, the selfish, the faithless, those who indulge their passions, those who love money, and those who discourage the righteous. Those who are controlled by sin are ugly in God's sight.

Spiritual Beauty Acquired
Every person has the power in Christ to change his spiritual appearance. No person has to be ugly in God's sight. Jesus can change any ugly "me" into a beautiful "me" by forgiveness and by teaching one how to live. The most beautiful Christians alive at one time were ugly sinners. No one inherits spiritual beauty; everyone develops such beauty by living in Christ.

Every beautiful spiritual quality can be produced in a person who belongs to Christ and lets Christ rule his life. Through His Word, Jesus can teach anyone how to live. Through faith Jesus can give anyone the power to live a new life.

Every ugly spiritual quality can be destroyed by Christ. Every past sin can be forgiven and erased from God's memory (Hebrews 8:12). One can learn how to endure temptations (I Corinthians 10:13). Provision has been made for the inevitable mistakes a Christian will make (I John 1:9-2:2).

A warning is in order. A beautiful appearance through neglect can become horribly ugly. A beautiful life of righteousness can become horribly ugly through neglect. Spiritual beauty must never be taken for granted nor be neglected. It must be remembered it is possible to be one of society's most impressive people and be one of the ugliest persons God knows. It is also possible to be an unknown in society and to be radiantly beautiful in the eyes of God. What God sees when He looks at a person is determined by the person alone.


  1. What are the distinguishing qualities that separate "beautiful" from "ugly"?
  2. How do outward, physical appearances impress God? Where does God see beauty?
  3. Why is it difficult for people of one culture to see beauty in people of another culture? Use the Jewish attitude toward Samaritans to illustrate the difficulty.
  4. What does Acts 10:34 teach concerning God's attitude toward people of differing cultures?
  5. How does a person's social rank and life circumstances influence others' thinking about him? Illustrate your answer.
  6. Discuss Galatians 3:26-28 in regard to God's feelings and attitudes toward people.
  7. Using qualities God has admired in people, make a list of qualities which are beautiful to God.
  8. State and describe some beautiful qualities the New Testament declares God wants in people.
  9. List some qualities which are "ugly" to God.
  10. Explain this statement: every person has the power in Christ to change totally his spiritual appearance. How can this be done?

Thought Questions

  1. Why should Christians be concerned about being beautiful in God's eyes?
  2. Why is it easy to believe that outward appearances are more important than inward being? What will this belief do to a Christian?
  3. How can a person increase his beauty in God's eyes? Be practical and be specific.
  4. Do people who are "ugly" to God know it? Explain your answer.
  5. What is the most important lesson in this chapter?
transcribed by Debbie Hendrix
Copyright © 1983, David Chadwell
Chapter Eleven Chapter Thirteen
table of contents

 Link to a summary of other books by David Chadwell

 Link to   David Chadwell Home Page

From Prodigal To Priest is copyrighted material. Everyone is granted permission to download any or all of the text. Permission is granted to duplicate the material for class studies or small group studies. Permission is granted to duplicate the material to share with others. Permission is not granted to use this material for profit. The specific purpose of placing the book's full text on this Web site is to make the material available to as many people as possible at no cost.
If you read this book, would you e-mail me at stating that you read it? If you share it or use it in a class situation, would you e-mail me and inform me about the use you made of the material? If enough people read the book or make use of the book through Internet access, we will place the full text of other books that I have written on our Web site.
David Chadwell