Thursday, September 1, 2005

The Gospel Isn't Fair!

My kids like to inform me when things aren’t “fair.” Jared gets a quarter inch less juice in his cup than his sister, and it’s not fair. Noelle’s time out is 2 minutes longer than her brother’s – she thinks it’s not fair. Jared’s handful of Skittles contains only 4 red ones, but Noelle has 5. It’s not fair! We put them to bed at their actual, predetermined, scheduled bedtime - how can we be so unfair!

I hope they get used to all this unfairness. C’est la vie, right? But the thing is, I myself still have a hard time with the inequities of life! I still have the propensity to be vexed and perplexed when the “fair” column in life seems to have fewer check marks than all the rest.

Now I suppose I could use this as an opportunity to encourage all of us believers to be overcomers and conquerors whenever it seems we get the short end of the stick. You know, how we should “turn the other cheek” and “learn to be content whatever the circumstances.” Indeed, let’s not stop growing in these areas as we continue to daily trust in Christ to be victorious through us.

But taking another direction, how about something unfair which actually ends up good for us. Can something unfair actually be a good thing? How about a Real Good Thing?
“When we don’t get what we deserve, it’s a real good thing.”“When we get what we don’t deserve, it’s a real good thing.”

These Newsboys lyrics are, of course, a description of God’s mercy and grace, lavished upon us not because we deserve it, but rather despite the fact that we’ve done absolute diddley to earn anything good from Him. You could call it a summary of the gospel itself (the good news), in which sinners don’t receive the punishment they deserve and are even given the gift of God’s righteousness and eternal life, which they don’t deserve. Which leads me to this very heretical conclusion – The gospel isn’t fair!

I’m sure you get where I’m coming from, but in case you’ve just now come up with some nice names for me such as “heathen!” or “infidel!,” I’d like to offer some scriptures which will hopefully give credence to my blasphemy:

2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Eph 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.

Rom 5:8 God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (All verses NIV).

Is it fair that Jesus, who knew no sin, would actually become sin for us? Is it fair that we, who were completely dead in our sins, would actually become the righteousness of God? Really now - is this exchange fair at all??? But does the gospel, and for that matter, do any of God’s ways have to be “logical” or “fair” or make sense to us according to worldly wisdom?

“Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” “It pleased God through the foolishness of the message to save those who believe.” (1 Cor. 1:20,21).

Thank God for His foolishness and unfairness! The only thing we really need to overcome or conquer here is our lack of belief that God could be so good to us!

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