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Redeemer Church

Redeemer Church
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Is God Fair?

"But that's not fair!" I've heard this protest often in my life, and been the one protesting on more than one occasion. Recently, however, I've heard this charge in response to how the Bible presents God's dealings with us sinners. No matter your views on predestination, election, and God's sovereignty in regards to salvation, the Bible is unequivocally clear that some will go to heaven and others to hell. However, all three of those themes (predestination, election, and sovereignty) are present by name in the Bible, and every fair biblical scholar must have room for them in his or her theology.

So let me give you a definitive answer right now, God is not fair. Erase that category for God in your mind. Fairness is never an attribute that the Bible gives to God. This may surprise a lot of people, but it isn't in there.

However, before you jump to any conclusions, let me clarify something. When I say that God is not fair, I am simply saying that God does not act equally and identically towards all people. It is not the same as saying God is not just or not right in His actions. I am simply saying that God acts differently towards different people.

This is not to say that God acts wrongly. All of us, as fallen and rebellious human beings, deserve God's justice and condemnation to hell. God would be perfectly just in saving no one. This would be the end of every single person if not for the grace and mercy of God. But due to this grace and mercy, God exercised His justice and condemnation upon Jesus on behalf of all those called as saints. In this way, God's justice is not ignored or denied, but rather fully satisfied.

Thus we see that God acts out His justice and judgement on some, and He acts out His grace and mercy on others. However, in both these actions, God does not act unjustly on anyone. Of course, this is where the protest comes into play, "That's not fair!" And I must ask "Who told you God must be fair?" To say that God must be merciful and gracious to everyone equally it to nullify mercy. Mercy is never something that is obligatory, mercy is something that God does freely and voluntarily. Mercy by definition is something that God doesn't have to do. As soon as you say God "owes" us mercy, you aren't talking about mercy anymore.

So we have two categories of humanity, those who receive mercy and those who receive justice. But (and here is my point) nobody receives injustice. No one has ever received injustice at the hands of God. So while God is not fair, it really works in our favor as we receive grace and mercy rather than the justice we have earned. Thus, God is not fair and I thank God for it.

1 comment:

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