Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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God Is Fair!

I recently read the comments of a referee who said that if at the end of the game both sides were angry with him it was probably an indication that he had done a good job. As my kids are athletes, I can attest to the fact that we parents often have a difficult time being unbiased in our assessment of such efforts.

Perception often colors reality. What we believe to be true may not be. The only way to be sure of a matter is by removing the “filters” or biases that may color our perception. This is especially true and important in spiritual matters. For example, some see the inequity and unfairness that exists in the world, and claim that it is as a result of God. “God is unfair!” is the claim, and, (repeated time and again), becomes the common perception of our day.

Regardless of the continual claims to the contrary, the scriptures reveal that God is fair in his treatment of man. While some perceive the Almighty to be capricious, uncaring or unfair in his dealings with mankind, this view is biased and invalid.

2 Chronicles 19 records the actions of Jehoshaphat as he set judges in the land of Judah in his attempt to bring the people back to the Lord. In verses 6 and 7 we have recorded the instructions of the king to the judges, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. 7 Now therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.”

There is no iniquity with the Lord our God. Whatever it is that He does is defensible and valid. If a man feels otherwise, it is in indication of his own bias or ignorance.

James wrote, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (James 1:13). Further, James indicates that if the evil is present, it is man that is at fault, not God: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (vs. 14-15).

When someone dies in an untimely way, the question is often asked, “Why did God take them?” It is not understood that death, pain and suffering are the result of sin. Sin is the result of the devil’s enticement, coupled with the lust of man. Sin is not God’s fault, and the suffering which accompanies sin is not God’s fault either.

Now, that is not to say that our suffering is not sometimes a response of God. It most certainly is, as God does chastise mankind. “You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you” (Deuteronomy 8:5). Such correction, however, can’t be construed as unfair. Just as a father chastens his child when his child is deserving of punishment, God utilizes such to correct His children, and to judge the world. “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6).

Further, the final destruction of the wicked will be the result of the just and righteous judgment of God. No one will be able to rightly say that that are undeserving of condemnation. If they are condemned, it will be because they are worthy of destruction. Note Paul’s assessment of the matter: “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8).

One final point. Our limited knowledge and understanding of the ways and motives of God precludes any justifiable criticism of Him. Israel criticized God, claiming him to be unfair in his treatment of them. In response, God said, “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?” (Ezekiel 18:25).

God and His way are fair, despite man’s protestations. Heed His words, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20).