Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
As a pastor, (both in studying God’s Word, and in trying to council or comfort people who are truly, legitimately hurting), I find myself in the awkward position of not liking what I read in God’s Word. Some of you may gasp, but I am sure I am not alone. We as people have varying ideas on what is right and wrong. We were long ago sold a “bill of goods” that says there are no absolutes. No absolute authority, no absolute right and wrong.
I regularly talk to people, who when confronted with the Scriptures, which go contrary to what they want to or have done, they say something like this: “Well, that’s not the god I serve”. “My god wouldn’t say that”. “My God would overlook me in this situation or circumstance”.
The most common theme is this one. “That’s not fair”. “Why would a ‘good’ God allow my aunt to be hit by a drunk driver”? “Why would my dad have cancer when there are so many bad people going unpunished”? “THAT’S NOT FAIR!”
Well, fasten your pew belts. The problem is Not with God, but in our very DESIRE to understand Him. Here is what God says about it, and to the extent that we can understand the mind of the Creator, let’s take a look.
Nugget: There is nowhere in Scripture that says God is Fair. What?
That’s right. What does He say of Himself? “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he”-Deut. 32:4. “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.”– Psalm 89:14. Let’s recap; He is perfect, truth, void of iniquity, just merciful and right in all that He does, but nothing about “fairness” as we count fairness by worldly standards.
Just then, means that God is Just in All that He does but He doesn’t treat everyone the same. What? “I’ll have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”. – Romans 9:15 (whatever you do, don’t read 9:11)
Psalm 50:21 records a penetrating indictment when God says to you and me, in incredulous sarcasm, “You thought that I was altogether like you”. Paul understood this when he wrote in Rom. 11:33: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”. (Note the exclamation points are from the text).
The real problem with saying God is or isn't fair, is that it presumes someone gets to make that call. Did you catch that? Who among us gets to set ourselves above God to tell Him what is or isn't fair? There is no higher authority. That is by definition, a Sovereign.
Next time we’ll examine how we should act/think in light of these revelations. I don’t want to follow a god I can lead around.