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God Is Just Not Fair :)

I was organizing my computer files when I saw a document that we used for a cluster teaching last year. It was actually just a household topic that JM (my service partner) and I developed for the cluster. And because I was led to read it again, I might as well post it here.

God-cidentally, the First Reading (Sirach 35:1-12) today speaks about God as the God of justice. Not only is He just, He's also consistent. :)

I. Introduction
  • We always say that “God is good!” but can we also say that He is fair?
  • Is God fair?
    • When bad things happen to good people
    • Workers In The Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16)

II. Life Is Not Fair
  • We often say “That’s not fair!” when we are wronged by another person.
  • As we grow older, we realize that life indeed is not fair.
  • But fairness has become the battle cry of our society. When something isn’t fair, it is viewed as inherently wrong or even evil.
  • We have gone from a culture and society which was built on the idea of equal opportunity and evolved into a culture that expects an equal outcome.
    • Kids do not fail, everyone gets a trophy, and people bring presents to a birthday party for the other kids in the family because they don’t want them to feel left out.
  • We live in a culture that demands fairness at all times and in all respects.
Photo Credit: Brown's Balanced Life

III. God Is Just Not Fair
  • The problem is - fairness is NOT a biblical concept.
  • The God we serve is a God of justice, but nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that He is “fair.”
  • The idea of fair is a very human concept. The Bible never attributes the idea of fairness to God.
  • Jesus didn’t carry any sword or spear. He didn’t have an army behind him. His only weapon was His mouth, and it was His message that got Him into trouble. He made people so angry that they wanted to kill Him.
  • His message was: 
    • seen not merely as wrong but dangerous
    • subversive
    • a threat to the social world of Judaism
  • Matthew 9:13. “I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.”
    • Jesus had a message of good news for sinners, but people who considered themselves good often thought that Jesus preached bad news.
  • Jesus invited prostitutes and tax collectors into the kingdom of God, and the good people didn’t like that. “That’s not fair!” they may have said. “We have been working hard to be good, and why can they get into the kingdom without working hard? If you don’t keep sinners out, it isn’t fair!”
  • Jesus was preaching that God is not fair.
  •  Most people think that fairness requires equal treatment for everyone, but when it comes to salvation, God simply isn’t fair. Even today, people don’t like to hear that idea. Good Christian people want God to be fair – but He isn’t.
IV. God Is More Than Fair
  • God is JUST NOT fair.
  • When the word “just” is used as it is in the sentence, it simply states that God is “the same as” not being fair. However, when you use the word “just” as an adjective, the definition of the word changes.
    • "just" as an adjective
      • Having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason: reasonable (a just but not a generous decision)
      • Archaic: faithful to an original
      • Conforming to a standard of correctness: proper (just proportions)
      • Acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good: righteous (a just war)
      • Being what is merited: deserved (a just punishment)
      • Legally correct: lawful
    • By definition, it means that God is reasonable, faithful, proper, righteous, deserving, and lawful.
  • So in fact, God is “just” which is more than fair. His grace is far beyond anything we could deserve.
  • God is generous, full of grace, full of mercy, loving us even though we don’t deserve it.
  • That kind of message bothers religious leaders and all who say that the harder you work, the more you will get; if you behave better, you will get a better reward. Religious leaders like to have that kind of message, because it makes it easy to motivate people to work hard, to do right, to live right. But Jesus says it isn’t so.
  • If you have dug a really deep pit for yourself, if you have messed up time and time again, if you have been the worst sort of sinner, you don’t have to work your way out of the pit to be given salvation.
    • God simply forgives you for the sake of Jesus.
    • You don’t have to deserve it – God simply does it.
    • You just need to believe it.
    • You just need to trust God, to take Him at His Word: Your sin debt is removed from the record.
  • Some people are distressed at this kind of news. “Look, I’ve been working hard to get out of the pit,” they might say, “and I am almost out. You mean to tell me that ‘those’ people are pulled out of the pit instantly, without having to do any work at all? That’s not fair!”
  • Grace is no “fair” – it is grace – it is a gift we did not deserve.
  • God can be generous to whomever He wants to be generous to, and the good news is that He offers His generosity to everyone.
  • It is fair in the sense that it extends to everyone, even though this means that He forgives some people a big debt, and some people a smaller debt – the same arrangement for all even though there are different circumstances.
V. Conclusion
  • It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the church or how many sacrifices you have made; those are nothing in comparison to what God is giving us. The Apostle Paul worked harder than any of us; He made more sacrifices for the Gospel than we realize, but He counted it all as a loss for Christ. It was nothing.
  • To be completely honest, we really do not want what is fair. Because fair for us is hell. We do not deserve the gift of grace that God gives us. If God were merely “fair” we would all have to pay for our sin. That payment for our sin would mean eternal separation from God, eternity in hell.
  • Jesus Christ paid the debt of our sin by His death on the cross. By His resurrection we have the hope of an eternity in Heaven with Him.
  • It is a free gift and nothing we can do will make us worthy of God’s grace.
  • God is not fair. He is just. He is gracious.   
Photo Credit: Slide 32 of 88

You may download the PPS file here: 

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