“Is God Fair?” Pt. 1
April 10, 2016
We love children and we love the things children say and do. Let’s face it — they’re cute and the things they do are cute. Like the little girl, who when she was told by her parents, “I love you,” regularly responded, “I love me, too.”
But children also say annoying things. A few years ago, a British market research firm conducted a poll to determine the most annoying things children said. “Spokeswoman Emma Elsworthy said: ‘Despite being adorable 99 per cent of the time, our children do have the ability to be really annoying sometimes, especially when they question absolutely everything.’” Here then is the list of the top 20 annoying things children say:
- I’m bored
- Are we nearly there yet?
- It’s not fair!
- Do I have to?
- It wasn’t me
- Can I have…?
- In a minute
- I hate you
- He / she hit me
- I don’t want to go to bed
- He / she started it
- I’m hungry
- You never let me do anything
- I don’t like it
- I want this
- Can you do it?
- I can’t do it
- But you said…
Of that list, the one that I relate to the most is “it’s not fair…” How many times did I hear that complaint coming from the back seat of the car? I suppose it’s because I trained my children so well. I don’t remember saying it particularly often myself, but I must have, since I remember so often my father saying to me — “that’s right. It’s not a fair. It’s a picnic…”
He was being just a little facetious, but our complaint against perceived unfairness runs deep. No parent ever trains a child to say that (at least not intentionally), and yet all children do say “it’s not fair.” We want what is our due, or at least what we think we are due.
I remember the (probably proverbial) account of the woman who went to get some portraits done and when she went back to look at the proofs was indignant that the portraits didn’t appropriately reflect her true beauty, so she exclaimed to the photographer, “I demand justice…” To which he quickly responded, “Lady, you don’t need justice; you need mercy!”
Yes, we all want what we think is justice and we want what is fair. And perhaps the place where that is most evident is in the discussion about God’s judgment. People don’t have a problem with God being God as long as that means He gives us what we want.
But a God who is just and is wrathful? No way. “That’s not fair.” “That’s not the kind of God I want.”
This is the very issue addressed by Paul in Romans 2:12-16.
In verse 11, Paul makes the statement, “For there is no partiality with God.” And anticipating possible objections to that statement, Paul offers two primary defenses of that statement in vv. 12-16. We can summarize his teaching this way:
God is fair in all His judgments of all people.
In verses 6-11, Paul talked about two kinds of judgment — the judgment of the righteous for rewards and the judgment of the unrighteous to Hell. Of those two judgments, man’s only objection is going to be against the wrath of God against sinners. So that’s the issue Paul addresses in vv. 12-16, and he does so by considering the two kinds of people God judges — those who have knowledge of Him and those who do not have knowledge of Him.
- God is Fair in Judging All Men (vv. 12-13)
- The “untaught” have sin
- The self-righteous have sin (v. 12b)
- The self-righteous have “heard” (v. 13)
- God is Fair in Judging the “Ignorant” (vv. 14-16)
Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 2:12-16.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.