“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
God’s Just Not Fair!, by Randall D. Kittle


One day when my oldest daughter Anna was still quite young she asked me to reconsider a decision I had made. Acting very grown up she looked at me with her big, brown eyes and told me that I should re-evaluate my decision because without a doubt she was certain “It is just not fair.” She stood there as proud as she could be of her logical appeal, until I leaned over and imparted these words of wisdom, “It’s about time you learned the truth that life’s not fair.” The pouting look that sprung upon her face let me know she didn’t like the news.

Much of our difficulty with accepting the things that happen to us in this life is that we want fairness instead of justice. Fairness primarily focuses upon equity, everything being even, equal; while justice primarily involves rightness, everything being done right.

Unfair Parents
To do the right thing, parents cannot and should not treat all of their children the same — doing what the child or the world would see as fair. Children have different temperaments, strengths, needs, weaknesses, levels of maturity, etc. You cannot treat children of different ages the same either. No one in their right mind would allow all the same freedoms and privileges to a child of five that they would a 15-year-old. Also, our society is changing, and what was appropriate at a certain age ten or even three years ago may now be appropriate at a much younger age today, or it may no longer be appropriate at all.

In the holiday classic
“It’s a Wonderful Life,” there is a scene at the dinner table one evening that illustrates this principle. George, the older brother, is about to go off to college and his dad is wishing he would consider staying at home and continue helping at work. George explains to his dad that the sons have everything worked out. Harry, the younger brother, will take George’s job. To this the father replies “Harry’s a little young for that job.” Looking a little surprised, George reminds his dad that Harry is no younger than he was when he started that job. To this the father responds, “You were born older.” While that may sound strange, the father learned over the years that his oldest son was more mature and responsible than his age would indicate, whereas the younger brother wasn’t like that. While it might be fair to treat them the same, it would not be just, for it would not be the right thing to do.

God Is Not Fair
It is the same for our Heavenly Father and His children. God in His infinite wisdom does not treat all believers the same. He knows our spiritual maturity, our strengths, our weaknesses, our wounds, and even what trials are coming our way. What a blessing that our Heavenly Father takes all this into consideration in His dealings with us. God does not do exactly the same thing with any of His children. He knows each of us, and treats us individually. Since God doesn’t deal with all of us equitably, it is true that He is not fair — and that is a blessing! God always does what is right, but he often treats us, His children, differently because God is not fair … He is just.

Anyone saying that God is fair is stating a principle not found in the Bible. (That is, unless someone wanted to quote Psalm 45:2 which says of God
“You are fairer than the sons of men.” But of course this is speaking about handsomeness or beauty, not fairness.) Often we hear people saying, “Now remember, ‘God is no respecter of persons’” (Acts 10:34) trying to show the equity of God. This verse does literally mean that God will not show partiality. While that certainly sounds like a promise that God will always treat us fairly, the context of this verse shows that it is referring to something quite different. It is specifically talking about God not excluding the Gentiles from salvation. The early church was still in awe that the salvation message of the Gospel was not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles. To apply this verse as a reference to prove fairness as a universal character of God in His dealings with mankind goes against both the principles of sound biblical exegesis and the rest of the biblical record of God’s dealing with mankind.

Sometimes the reason we see God as unjust is that we are jealous of His kindness to others, and may see it as unfair. Many times we sound like the grumbling workers in the Parable of the Landowner found in Matthew 20. In this parable the landowner hired different workers at different times throughout the day. When He shows kindness to some workers at pay-time and paid them the same as those hired early in the day the cries come forth, “No fair!”

“He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take it and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money?  Should you be angry because I am kind?’” (Matthew 20:13–15).

The reason we question the “fairness of God” is not because we do not see His justice, but because we feel that we have been slighted. The problem is we are still seeking to defend our rights because we have not fully accepted His Lordship. So often we can be like Peter who immediately after being restored to fellowship with the Lord and hearing the hard details about the end of his life looked over at John and said,
“Lord, what about him?” (John 21:21). To this the sovereign Lord replied, “What is that to you?” (John 21:22). Too many of us are still wanting God to treat us all the same, but we need to have this biblical truth burned into our memory — God is just … not fair!

God Will Give You Justice
In the movie “The Count of Monte Cristo” when the main character is locked away in prison he finds solace in the words etched into the stone wall of his cell, “GOD WILL GIVE ME JUSTICE.” Let me ask you directly, does that sound more like a threat or a promise to you?

Years ago I heard a frightening message calling the saints to pray for God’s mercy, otherwise God might give us what we deserve. I want you to know that mindset is from the enemy, not the Lord. Satan has sought to scare us, saying, “You’d better watch out. God’s going to give you what you deserve!” God will give us what we deserve … but not in the way that Satan threatens us. This taunting “you’ll get what you deserve” from the enemy is a lie, for it infers that God is against us and can’t wait to bring punishment upon us. The truth the Bible clearly displays is that Satan is against us, but God is for us!

The Agony & The Ecstasy
As I read the gospel, Jesus loves us so much He took our punishment so we would not have to. Jesus died to give you grace and mercy. He suffered the agony of the crucifixion so that we might have the ecstasy of the abundant life He promised us in John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

The truth is that God will give us what we deserve; what we deserve in Christ! In Christ you deserve your sins washed away and a not guilty verdict. In Christ you deserve perfect righteousness and unfailing love. In Christ you deserve peace and joy. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus became poor, so that He might give us riches. Because of the finished work of the Cross, God is justified in giving us the full benefits and blessings afforded by Jesus’ sacrificial death and victorious resurrection.

Seeking God’s Justice
As born-again believers, we need to do more than recognize these truths, we need to begin to lay hold of them by asking the Lord to give us this justice. We need to expect more, for God is justified in opening the windows of Heaven and pouring out a blessing. Ephesians 3:20 says that God is “… able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think or even imagine.” We have not because we ask not, and we do not ask because we have not realized that our just Judge is wanting to give us justice according to the finished work of the Cross.

Let me encourage you: the Judge is your elder Brother, the Judge is your passionate Groom, the Judge is your loving Father. It is time to seek justice from He who longs to give it to you!

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